Tom Segura already had a healthy and very loyal following before his first Netflix special Completely Normal was released in 2014. He’d amassed these ardent fans thanks to his first two albums, Thrilled and White Girls With Cornrows, his much loved appearances on The Joe Rogan Experience and The Crabfeast, and his wildly popular podcast Your Mom’s House with fellow comedian and wife . But Completely Normal brought Tom’s Q score to a whole new level, and his new special Mostly Stories, which premieres on January 8, is poised to build on that success.
We talked with Tom from his home in Los Angeles as he prepared to perform for the first time since the birth of their son, while simultaneously not trying to give the poor kid the cold he’d caught.
The IBang: I always felt like you had such a strong fan base before, that everyone knew Tom Segura, but then when your last special came out, I felt like people came out of the woodwork to be like, “Oh my god, have you heard of this Tom Segura guy?” Did you feel a difference after it came out?
Tom Segura: Oh my God, without a doubt. It really brought to my attention the reach of Netflix. It totally changed my draw at clubs. It’s overwhelming. Before there was a fan base, but it was a modest fanbase. I could work but it is a completely new level after that special was out for about six months. Now I’m spoiled rotten with that. It’s funny, I did this big amphitheater show with Chappelle and I go NO applause when I walked out. They were all just drooling to see Dave. But it was actually a nice reminder that you can never get that comfortable in stand-up. I was able to get some laughs and when I got offstage it was like “Are they clapping like ‘Thank you’ or ‘Thank you that you’re done’?”
The IBang: So is that why you went with Netflix again or were you always planning to do a second one here?
Tom Segura: It’s what I wanted to do, there’s no guarantee. When it came time to get someone on board for the new one, they were the first choice and thankfully they took it. I really could not be happier to be on Netflix, I think it’s the place to be right now. When you think about a lot of TV specials, it airs and then that’s it. People forget about it even though a lot of those channels have the on demand thing going, it’s just not as popular at Netflix.
The IBang: What would you say is different about this special, what’s changed?
Tom Segura: I think I’ve progressed as a comic and in my opinion it’s the best thing that I’ve put out yet. I’ve always liked storytelling, and it’s basically in all my stuff in some form or another. I’ve always liked it in stand-up when a comic tells you something that happened that day. If you look at this special, it’s basically a snapshot of my year filled with things that happened “that” day. Like there’s a bit that takes place in a movie theater and I can remember, “Oh that was in San Jose” and I tried it out that night at the club and it was strong enough it became part of my act. So basically, that’s the whole special, is just stories that happened ‘one day’ all through the year.
The IBang: Is that something you find is easier to do the further along you get?
Tom Segura: That’s something you always want to do early on but you realize you just don’t have the skills. It takes a comfort and a confidence, and when you try it early on and it doesn’t go well you just go “Oh my God!” and go right back into your material. For the first five, seven, eight years you’re really just married to your material, then you just get better at it and realize “Oh, I can just talk about today and probably get some jokes out of it,” and it’s really the most fun thing to do.
The IBang: And I think that’s fun for the audience, since there’s that weird thing where they want you to do a good job but they always want to feel like you just made up everything on the spot just for them.
Tom Segura: It’s funny how many people think that. I had a friend who even said something about seeing me do the same bits twice and I was like, “yeah, that’s how it works, you repeat them and improve them and tighten them, that’s how you build an act.” and he was like, “Oh really?” And I was like, “You mean, when you watch HBO and you see a Chris Rock special, do you think he just walked out that night and just did that?” and he goes “Yeah.” Some people really think you’re always going off the top of your head.
The IBang: Maybe that’s why heckler videos are always so popular, because people know for sure that never happened before or since.
Tom Segura: Yeah, but it’s also crazy, so many times when you have a show and you burn a heckler real bad, people will come up to me afterward and ask “Do you know that guy? Did you plant that guy? Was that arranged?” All the time! Are you insane? Of course not!
The IBang: Congratulations on the baby! How has that impacted things for you?
Tom Segura: Well, tonight will be my first night performing, so it’ll be the first time I talk about it. As far as touring, I’m going to pare it back a little, especially these first few months. Luckily we have a nanny to help us out. It sounds so cliche but it’s amazing to have a baby, like “Holy shit! I made you!” I can’t believe how many times I’ve walked to the kitchen, then walked back to the livingroom and went, “Oh, shit, I forgot I had a baby! Oh my god, I forgot you’re here and you’re my baby!”
The IBang: Must be a very well behaved baby if you can forget it for even a second.
Tom Segura: Well, it’s when he’s sleeping. He let’s us know when he’s awake, believe me. That motherfucker can scream.
The IBang: I assume that means you’ll be performing a lot more in LA. What’s the difference for you from doing that versus being out on the road?
Tom Segura: Well, there’s just always something nice about being at home, and there’s something about doing fifteen minute sets that I miss. When you’re on the road, you’re doing an hour, even though it’s nice and you get to settle into that, it’s a different muscle. And when you’re trying to build new stuff, that’s what you need, a lot of shorter sets. I really like LA crowds, this is where I started stand-up so this is where I feel most familiar.
Watch Tom Segura: Mostly Stories on Netflix this Friday!