Ron Funches is everywhere. The comedian and actor can be seen doing stand-up, voice work, and on-camera acting. One of his latest projects, Golden Arm, centers on the world of female armwrestling. It's a sports comedy, without leaning into picking on the sport, or the fact that it's women, for its comedy. Fronted by Mary Holland, Betsy Sodaro, and Dot-Marie Jones, the movie sees Funches play a super-fan and announcer who takes everything about the eccentric world created in the movie very seriously. It's a role that he approached earnestly, as the character would, and one that he knows will stick around in the extremely limited canon of armwrestling films.
The appeal of the movie was simple: even before he saw the script, he heard from director Maureen Bharoocha. Having worked with her in the past (going all the way back to the short film Movie Mind Machine), Funches was in.
"It didn't really even matter if she paid me or not, to be honest with you," Funches told ComicBook. "I love Maureen. I think she's a great director and a talented person. She was one of the first people to see something in me, and she put me in a short with Matt Braunger, gave me my first taste of acting, which got me interested and thinking that I could do it for real as a profession. As long as she wants me involved with something, I'm usually right there for her, because I trust her. When she told me it was going to be Mary and Betsy and Eugene Cordero, who I'm just in love with as a performer, it was like 'yeah, I'll be there.'"
While the best-known armwrestling movie of all time is Sylvester Stallone's campy Over the Top, that one played fast and loose with how the sport actually operates. According to Funches, they wanted to treat it less like an action movie and more like a sports movie, which involved a bit of research.
"There's a lot of making sure that you're authentic," Funches said. "A lot of that was bringing in real, professional armwrestlers or armwrestling coaches to make sure everything was fine. For my character, I just wanted to make sure that whether there's 2 people or 20 people or thousands of people, this thing is a big deal to him. That's part of what this character was about, was celebrating how strong these women are. When I'm announcing, I'm belting it out like I'm in MSG, because to me that's where these women belong. Even when it's a comedy, it's about playing it authentic and real, and not for a joke."
When her best friend, Danny, ropes her into taking her spot at the Women's Arm Wrestling Championship, Melanie, who is a baker, must trade whisks for barbells to compete against the reigning champ for a chance at the grand prize.
Golden Arm on is now available on digital.