Tom Segura is back in the spotlight.
The hilarious and prolific podcaster is gearing up for his fifth Netflix stand-up special. This one with the title Tom Segura: Sledgehammerlaunches globally on July 4th.
Directed by Ryan Polito, the hour, which he filmed to a sold-out crowd at Phoenix’s Celebrity Theater, focuses primarily on Segura’s comedian wife, their two young sons, his now-widowed mother, who has shared his gummy bears to hilarious results, and… Brad pitt . It’s the first part of a two-special deal Segura signed with the streaming service in 2022.
Fresh off his recent world tour, Segura hopped on the phone to chat about the new hour, his four- and seven-year-old sons’ take on their father’s fame, his own Hollywood aspirations, and how his Ted Cruz play is getting around the world landed .
You have just completed your last tour, which took you around the world. This can’t be easy when there are two small children at home…
I just got home two nights ago. I did my last show in Iceland and then flew back and yeah at that age you’re missing a month and you’re like, ‘Hey dude, you’re a different person.’ It’s been a long time. To long.
Presumably that was a by-product of the pandemic – not being able to get out and wondering, at least at first, if you’d ever do it again?
Oh yeah. It’s hard to go back to that state because, honestly, everyone who talks about pandemic issues thinks, ‘Is that you? quiet talk about it?!” But in the beginning you talked to your agent and he said, “Yeah dude, I don’t know. I don’t know what will come back when. You can go to this club in Oklahoma City, you can do a show there.” And you would (agree with that). It was just a whole different world.
Now here you are, about to release your fifth Netflix special. What was important to you?
Even if it’s not the whole set, dealing with my father’s death was a big deal for me. Obviously it didn’t sound like, “Hey, this is a really serious thing I’m going to talk about,” but it was definitely something that came to mind. I have to say I’m really happy with the Special. I’ve made some really adult decisions.
I really wanted it to be a little tighter special. Looking back at my old specialties I always regret not cutting out more, so as an adult I made the decision to cut out big chunks that were really deadly. There was a film about living abroad that killed lives, but it didn’t have to be in the special. There was one that seemed dated, and then there was one that we really thought about because one of the Netflix execs actually went, “I love that part.” But it was four minutes, and we’re down to 61 minutes now , and in the end we will probably publish the parts (that were cut out) online. So people will still see them. But even when you’re on tour, you realize that if you can cut 60 minutes and it’s full of laughs, it’s so much more powerful than 80 minutes that’s kind of loose.
Your comedy isn’t overtly political, but this special is a little about how Ted Cruz is particularly gross…
So that means you saw an older (version) because it was cut.
Wait, why did you shorten that?
We were at 65 minutes and it was four minutes. That’s what the Netflix exec liked.
It is very funny…
Well, shit, maybe I should put it back in. But I would also look back on specials and feel like something like that where you say someone’s name or refer to a song or a TV show quickly feels dated. So I tried to put myself in the mentality of someone who’s going to be putting together the special in a couple of years and, you know, yeah, he’s very well known now, but when you start thinking, people will say : “Who is Ted Cruz?” ?”
Nevertheless, you were on tour with this part. Do you have any thoughts or concerns about how such a joke could end up in certain parts of the country?
That was really interesting, because that’s how I found out that this man is universally loathed. I mean, I’ve done that part, like you said, in red and blue markets, I’ve done it in Canada, I’ve done it in Australia, and sometimes when you travel you’re like, ‘Ah, shit, eh going tonight?” But it basically broke in everywhere. Even in Canada. I know he was born there, but I remember the first time I visited Canada and I was like, “What’s going to happen here?” And, man, I think the response there is even crazier.
Your whole family is a prominent part of this hour and I’m curious to what extent she got involved and what those conversations were like before you went on stage, especially with your mother?
I mean, I don’t ask them at all. (laughs.) And actually I had a much harder side with (my mom) that I didn’t do on the special. I thought, “Oh, I should do that when she’s dead.” That’s too mean. I remember doing that for a while (on tour) and then she came to a show and I skipped it on that show and my sister was there and I told my sister about it and she was like, “Oh my god, my mom would have died in the room.” But my mom saw me do the ending (the special is about her getting very high on edibles) and she came up afterwards me and said, “You’re a piece of shit.” That’s what she said to me. But you know, she still hung out. (laughs)
Do your guys even feel like they’re part of your show? And if not, at what age do you start consulting them?
Well yesterday I was picking up my youngest who is 4 years old and as we were driving someone stopped me and I said, “Idiot!” And my son started laughing and said, “You really are a comedian.” Me ask: “What?” He is 4 years old and says: “That was funny. You said the guy was an idiot. He loved it. And the seven-year-old saw me talking about him on “(Stephen) Colbert” and he was really intrigued and just stared. And then he corrected something. He said: “I didn’t say that. That is what I said.”
So he checks your facts.
Exactly. And I said to him, “I just said it to be funny.” He’s like, “Yeah, but that’s not how it went.” I’m like, “OK, OK.” (laughs.) So yeah, they’re starting to get it. And then I took the elder to school and someone at school had asked me to sign books (Segura published). I would like to play alone please in 2022) and so did I. And then when we walked away,[my son]said, ‘She’s a fan.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ ‘She’s a fan. She asked for your books.’ And he’s like, ‘Will you for each one Paid for the book?” And I’m like, “Eh, not really. Books kinda suck, dude.” (laughs.)
How would you describe your fan base? Can you spot your fans when they approach you?
Usually you say, “Oh, this guy looks kind of like me.” For example, if I’m at this airport and he has a beard and he needs to lose 20 pounds, I’m like, “Oh, this guy is about to tell me something.” He’ll be a fan.” And they usually drag their ladies over to me. I wouldn’t say women come up to me left and right (on their own) and say, “Oh, I’m a huge fan.” I mean, I have a few and I’m very lucky… but I don’t know, it is always so much easier to talk about someone else’s act and someone else’s fandom because you just see it so much more clearly.
You’ve had roles in quite a few films, and I remember you did a pilot for CBS a few years ago. What appeal does Hollywood have for you? are you watching Your buddy Bert Kreischerwho’s released a big movie and thinks, “I’d love that”?
Actually, I have something I can’t tell you about yet. I’ll let you know when the strike ends. It is a wish that will soon become a reality.
That’s great. I wanted to ask, because I have many comediansDo you feel like Hollywood leaders know what to do with you and your talent?
No, I don’t think they do. And the reason this is happening is because I did it myself.
How has the feedback been in the past?
I feel like in the past I’ve been told, “Oh, you know, this is the process,” and I’d call that real bullshit. But honestly, a big part of that is also because I was so aggressive on tour that I just wasn’t available. Offers would come in for cool stuff, and I’d have to be like, “Hey, I’m in fucking Toronto doing shows.” And they’re like, “Well, then shoot this show.” But the ending of that tour was kind of nice, because I knew there was (a pause) on the horizon for these other things to happen.
Before I let you go, I need to know: does Brad Pitt have any idea how prominent he will be on the special?
No. No, he doesn’t. (laughs.)