We provide a functional view of distributional robustness motivated by robust statistics and functional analysis. This results in two practical computational approaches for approximate distributionally robust nonlinear optimization based on gradient norms and reproducing kernel Hilbert spaces. Our method can be applied to the settings of statistical learning with small sample size and test distribution shift. As a case study, we robustify scenario-based stochastic model predictive control with general nonlinear constraints. In particular, we demonstrate constraint satisfaction with only a small number of scenarios under distribution shift.