Photo Courtesy Ron Lynch

The Lynchpin

Come for the comedy, stay for the magic tricks with Ron Lynch in Eugene

There’s something from another time about the comedy of Ron Lynch. You may know the Los Angeles-based comedian and voice actor for voicing the ever-dutiful health inspector, Ron, from the animated TV show Bob’s Burgers. On stage, Lynch, who performs June 28 at Olsen Run Comedy Club in Eugene, cuts a similarly unassuming figure with an average-dad mustache, a broadcaster’s voice and salt and pepper hair, messy enough to signal mischief. Lynch comes to Eugene as part of a short Pacific Northwest tour. 

Whereas Lynch sometimes makes a living as a voice actor, on stage he often relies on physical comedy, better suited for vaudeville or silent film than modern standup. A classic Lynch routine involves nothing but the mic stand, his coat and Lynch’s wordless commitment to the bit, as he makes the mic seem to disappear among other charming illusions. All the while, a simple, sideshow piano soundtrack plays in the background.

These days, standup is characterized by confessionalism, or processing grief or trauma on stage, which, though not impersonal, Lynch lacks, giving his work a nostalgic sensibility, harkening back to the Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton. His deadpan delivery, meanwhile, conceals clever wordplay that often involves audience participation.

Seth Milstein, a Eugene comedian opening for Lynch at Olsen Run, says he met Lynch about 13 years ago at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival in Portland, and has gotten to know him in the West Coast comedy scene since then. Lynch, Milstein says, “is kind of like if Andy Kaufman’s whole thing was making fun of weird, fringe entertainment styles.”

“He pretends to be a bad magician,” Milstein adds. “He does a mentalist thing where he pretends to be a bad mentalist. He does this whole bit where he’s an animatronic robot in the future telling you what comedy was because now it is extinct. He plays with the form.”

Lynch started performing in Boston after college in the late 1970s. Since then, he’s gained “your favorite standup’s favorite standup” status — successful, not a household name but still beloved by many purists of the artform. In addition to other work, he now hosts a weekly midnight variety show at the Elysian Theater in Los Angeles called Tomorrow! with Ron Lynch

After so many years, Lynch says he’s always trying new things and is developing a one-person show. Opposed to the free-associative nature of standup, Lynch says one-person shows often have a stronger narrative arc, which suits his style. 

“I started doing more jokey-joke type stuff as a standup,” Lynch, a Queens, New York, native, tells Eugene Weekly, remembering his early days. “I would get bored with that because I have a theater background. I wanted to do more interesting stuff. I put together an act with recordings and some impressions and character stuff. It’s a mishmash of things,” he says. For this reason, Lynch calls himself a comedic actor more than a conventional standup comedian.

This time in Eugene, Lynch will perform two shows at Olsen Run, the first, a standup comedy set and the second, a Lynch routine called “Game Show Crap Shoot” with audience participation. Milstein and Eugene comedian Bert Walpack support Lynch at Olsen Run, and local comedian Angie Bloomfield hosts both shows.

Ron Lynch performs at 7 pm and 9:30 pm Friday, June 28, at Olsen Run Comedy Club, 44 East 7th Avenue; $15, 21-plus.

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