by Ryan Meehan
Tom Segura is a comedian originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, though he was raised in too many places to list. His television credits include Conan, Comedy Central Presents (half-hour special), Showtime’s Russell Peters Presents, and Live at Gotham! When he’s not on tour Tom continues to perform at the top comedy festivals in the world, including Montreal’s Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, The Comedy Festival – Las Vegas, The South Beach Comedy Festival, and The Global Comedy Festival in Vancouver. Tom also regularly appears on syndicated radio shows The Bob and Tom Show and The Jim Rome show. Additionally, his noted podcast, Your Mom’s House can be heard weekly at YourMomsHousePodcast.com. Tom’s debut album “Thrilled” is available on iTunes and Amazon.com and he’s our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: You do a lot of comedy festivals, which have increased in popularity in recent years…What do you think is the reason for the overall success of these events? Is it more than just the “more bang for your buck” when it comes to the entertainment value?
TS: Festivals have grown in their success because of a number or reasons I believe. First of all comedians are doing great work. The success of comedians across the board makes the art form more popular and makes seeing comedy live more desirable. Louie, Tosh, and many more have TV shows that not only elevate their respective careers, but it also has an effect on the comedy business. Whenever a comedian succeeds it really is good for the whole pool. Secondly, the festivals are doing a great job of putting on great shows. A lot of them are bringing in a wide range of acts to give the host city audiences a chance to see a lot of what’s out there. Those are the festivals I prefer. Montreal does it well. Melbourne is phenomenal with that. Incredible just in the scope of theirs.
RM: What made you decide to fill the “testimonials” section of your website with such quotes as “He was an asshole and if my son was here he’d kick his ass!” and “If you think the “F” word is funny, then he’s funny”? Do you do a lot of corporate gigs; or for the most part are you just concerned with your presence in the comedy clubs and on podcasts?
TS: I just thought it was funny. I’ve seen testimonials on other comics pages that said things like “He was so funny!” and “I was laughing so hard!” It just seemed so ridiculous to me that you would post that. Not because you’re bragging, but I just can’t imagine someone ending up on that, reading it and then saying, “Well it says here on his site that someone said he was really funny. He must be!” Endorsements of how funny you are in written form on your website are just absurd. I’m going to take that down, but only because it’s boring to me now and my page is being redesigned.
RM: Speaking of podcasts, you’ve done “The Joe Rogan Experience” several times now…What is it about that the flow of that program that makes it a top ten podcast? Is there anything that you’ve learned from doing that show that you’ve been able to apply to your own?
TS: I think all podcasts move and flow according to the host. For that one obviously Joe is the captain of that ship. He’s just good at having a conversation. It may sound silly when you read that, but it really is a skill. The more radio and podcasts you do you realize that some people have that skill and some don’t. Some people don’t know how to have a conversation. What’s amazing is when they are the host of huge radio show or a podcast. They just don’t have it. Joe is good at keeping things going. He’s a curious guy and he wants to know more. He wants to know what you think about any number of topics so it drives the conversation. I think the show is successful because he puts a lot into it. Like a lot of things in life you can’t expect something to work for you if you aren’t willing to put in the work. He’s an extremely hard worker. The guy does a lot and he wants to do it all at a high level. With the podcast he’s giving you a lot of content, multiple times a week. And he’s also sharing a lot of his own philosophies that have made him very successful with an audience that wants that guidance. What I’ve learned from him on podcasts is to be consistent. Give the content on a regular schedule and try to deliver a good product. We have very different shows, but ultimately we’re trying to give an audience content that they’ll enjoy.
RM: What are some of the benefits of doing a podcast (“Your Mom’s House”) with your wife Cristina Pazsitzky? Are there any downsides to having a professional relationship with someone you’re that close to? What are some of your favorite topics to discuss on YMH?
RM: How do you view Twitter when it comes to being a pallet by which to test out new material? Do you ever consider using tweets that get a lot of Retweets or Favorites in your live act? Conversely, do you ever wonder that you can’t use certain tweets for that purpose because people who are coming to see you live might be following you on Twitter and have already read the joke?
TS: Twitter as a joke platform is great. It’s obviously opened a lot of doors for a lot of people which I think is great. It’s also a specific skill. Being funny on twitter doesn’t mean you’re funny anywhere else. That’s not necessarily a good or bad thing. It’s just what it is – it means you are funny in 140 characters or less. Some people can write hilarious things there, but their stand up is garbage. But you can also extend that – some comics are funny actors, but can’t write a script, etc. I have tweeted things and said them on stage. it’s a lot like writing something on a napkin and then saying it on stage. For me, it’s more of a jump off point. I don’t do a lot of short jokes, so a twitter joke is like the first joke of some topic for me. For the record, I don’t think I’m very good at tweeting. I don’t write jokes there very often and I sometimes don’t tweet for days. My favorite type of tweet, by far, is getting an unsuspecting person to open an image that upsets them.
RM: What’s the most overrated aspect of doing stand-up comedy for a living? The most underrated? And why do you think that those two things share such inaccurate expectations?
TS: The most overrated aspect has to be travel. People think traveling, sometimes to cool cities must be great. After a while it all blends together. Being in New York can be like being in Des Moines. You just don’t care. You’re tired and you just want to sleep. People always say, “Oh you’re in (whatever city). Are you going to go see (whatever) market or museum?” No. I don’t want to. It’s not travel for pleasure. People don’t realize that most comics want and need to rest to do what they do. What’s underrated? I don’t know. I like being alone so maybe that. Food can be. If you do your research you can find great places. You can get work done too, if you want to. If you tell yourself to do nothing but work you can. You can also just masturbate. A lot.
RM: What’s next for you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
TS: My 1 hour special “Completely Normal” hit Netflix March 15 and is available now. I’m very excited about it. The accompanying album is also on iTunes and wherever else music is sold. I’m doing a lot of live dates and also live podcasts with Christina.
Official Website: http://tomsegura.com/
Tom on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Comedian-Tom-Segura/88598910215
Tom on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tomsegura
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