Courtesy of Robyn Van Swank
After a 21-month run that saw him perform for more than 700,000 fans, the promise of Tom Segura’s “I’m Coming Everywhere” world tour has finally been fulfilled.
If you’re wondering if this long haul was a test of endurance for the globally popular stand-up comic, who has been working the circuit for nearly 20 years, the answer is an unqualified yes. “I mean, I’ve said it, but…I signed up for too much, so it felt really good to get to the end,” Segura says with a laugh. “I very vividly remember the last few shows counting down and being like, ‘I can’t believe this is finally coming to an end.’ But, you know, it’s 21 months and like 303 shows. It was just outrageous.”
The fruits of his labor are on display in Tom Segura: Sledgehammer, the first of two specials emerging from a 2022 deal with Netflix, which debuts on July 4. It’s his fifth overall for the streamer, which substantially (and unexpectedly) elevated his profile with the launch of 2014’s Completely Normal. And in it, he discusses everything from a new friendship struck up with Brad Pitt, to the raising of his two sons, a memorable encounter with weed dummies on the part of his mother, matched in turbulence only by his wife’s with a set of stairs, and memories of his late father, the beloved Thomas ‘Top Dog’ Segura.
A comic of enormous reach, who delights in the provocative, Segura has with his wife, fellow comedian Christina Pazsitzky, built an empire, which also encompasses the prolific podcast network YMH Studios (recently expanded with the romance-themed First Date with Lauren Compton), a forthcoming, self-financed TV series and more. Here, he discusses the highlights of his latest tour experience, figuring out his on-stage tribute to Top Dog, dream podcast guests, the prospect of a rebound to success in theaters for comedic features, criminal charges brought in Romania against his one-time podcast guest Andrew Tate, and more.
DEADLINE: You went on quite a journey with your latest tour. I know you brought a personal trainer with you for at least part of it. But how did you keep yourself both physically and mentally healthy while traveling so much?
SEGURA: I took the trainer the whole tour. That was a big help because we would land in cities and most of the time, we would go right to the gym. It definitely was a big difference from how I used to tour, which was a lot lazier, I guess. But also, I wasn’t touring as aggressively. I think if you are going to tour super aggressively, the physical stuff, you have to do it because your body won’t even hold up. I still got sick multiple times on this tour. I mean, I probably got sick four or five times, where I was on meds, getting IVs. It just comes with it if you’re going to travel that much — and I’m taking vitamins, eating well and working out. But the way I got through it, too, was that when I would see the whole tour in front of me, it was overwhelming. I was like, “There’s no way I’m going to be able to do this.” So you end up just going, “I can’t even think about what’s going to happen. I’m just going to think about this month or this week.”
RELATED: Tom Segura Says He’s Sold Pilot In Which He Stars To A Streamer, ‘Fat Astronauts’ Film In Active Development; New Podcast ‘Not Today Pal’ With Jamie-Lynn Sigler & Rob Iler To Launch Next Month
DEADLINE: How do you look to keep material fresh for yourself when you’re on the road for so long?
SEGURA: You kind of go through this cycle. It happens on every tour, where you first have your hour that you’re like, “This is what I’m touring with.” And you start to do it and feel solid in it, and then you get to this point where you’re naturally bored of it. And what happens is, you just organically drop things that you’re least excited about. There’s bits where you’re just like, “I can’t manufacture the enthusiasm to say this,” so you drop it. And then at the same time, you’re starting something new. So, it’s like a natural drop-replace thing. And what happens is, over the course of a tour like this, I probably dropped 40 minutes of material and replaced it.
But what happens, too, is sometimes you’re not replacing it, and you start to get in this real funk. I do, where you’re like, “Why am I so frustrated?” And it’s because you’re not doing something new. You basically have to constantly come up with something. I would say every month on tour, you have to do a new bit; otherwise, I lose my mind. So I’m always like, “Should I try that?” And I try it and even if it doesn’t do great, you’re just happy that you did something different. Because when you’re doing that many shows — you know, on some months we were doing like 25 shows a month, which is almost a show every day — you can’t stomach saying all the same sh*t over and over. It kills your soul.
DEADLINE: Did you discover any new favorite destinations while out on this tour?
SEGURA: One of the big ones [was], I’d never been to Nova Scotia, and I didn’t know what to expect. It was just kind of like, “Yeah, let’s go do the show.” And my whole tour crew fell in love with the place. It was like this hidden gem. It’s in the Mid-Atlantic time zone, like its own time zone, and you’re in this marine kind of society. It also helps [that] it was a great show there. But we all agreed it was the coolest hotel we’d stayed in on the whole tour, I think called The Muir. And we were just gung-ho about how cool it was there. So that was a nice surprise, and you get surprised by how great certain shows are when you have no expectations. Like Christchurch, New Zealand, we were just expecting a regular show. It was a completely bananas, fireworks show, so that was very cool, too.
DEADLINE: Why did you choose the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona as your venue for the taping?
SEGURA: I wanted to do one in the round. There’s only like three U.S. theaters, I think, still in the round. One’s in Long Island, there’s the Celebrity in Phoenix, and there’s one other. I had done the Long Island one, and I just wanted a different feel. And I’d done the Celebrity, not even as a headliner. I did it when I won a standup contest in 2007, and I did three minutes on that stage. So I was like, “You know what? Let’s do it there.” And I’m so glad we did. It was so much fun.
DEADLINE: Your father, Top Dog, passed away not all that long ago. How did you figure out how you would pay tribute to him here?
SEGURA: Well, you always talk about whatever’s going on in your life. So for me, I was talking about him over the years just because he’s my dad, and I would always have these observations or stories about him. And it was just kind of natural to me to be like, “Well, I’m going to talk about him.” And then it was strange to me to go visit him on his deathbed. So I was literally working from just telling the story of what happened. And then obviously, I add jokes and make it a bit ridiculous.
Before he died, I was doing kind of a version of that bit, but where I was talking to him on the phone about the conversation that we were having. And it just kind of morphed into when I visited him in the hospital.
He loved when a story about him got a big laugh. When I would tell stories in other specials or on other tours about him and something he said, and it got a huge laugh, he really loved that. So that, to me, was the goal really of talking about him, getting him a huge laugh. And then I have some callbacks to him later throughout the hour that just naturally came. Then, it felt like the theme was kind of like a shoutout to him, which to me just felt good, I guess.
DEADLINE: You’ve been expanding your podcast empire quite a bit of late, most recently announcing the launch of a new show called First Date. What has the thinking been in assessing what kinds of new pods to bring into the fold?
SEGURA: We just want to diversify the types of shows we do, the length of shows. I’m really a big believer now in at least experimenting with shorter-form podcasts. A lot of people just consume a little bit of a podcast, and so the thinking for us is, I would rather have people go “This should be way longer” than “This should be way shorter.” We know that people watch clips or they go, “I listened to 30 minutes, but then I had to go do some sh*t.” And it’s like, well, why don’t we make a 30-minute podcast? That was really the idea.
I love relationship and dating stories from people, so I had this big desire to have a podcast [on those]. Because whenever I talk to a single person or a friend, I’m always like, “Tell me, what’s your dating life like?” So, that was the idea behind getting that First Date show started.
DEADLINE: Part of the expansion in your podcast network has been with shows like Tom Talks that have afforded you the opportunity to interview public figures of interest to you. Most notable among these was an edition of 2 Bears 1 Cave that had you chatting with Quentin Tarantino and ended up going viral. Who are the bucket list interviews for you, as you look ahead?
SEGURA: [Tarantino] was so fun, man. I mean, he gave me sh*t, you know? He teased me about not reading the book [Cinema Speculation], and then he didn’t even realize that his agent had sent me the book the day before. It was the day before, in the afternoon. I was like, “Get the f**k outta here. I’m supposed to read this thing in like an hour?” So, whatever. I was f**king over the moon to be podcasting with him.
There’s different people that I would love to [talk to] from the sports world. I got Deion [Sanders] one time, but it was over Zoom. I mean, Zoom podcasts are different, you know? I’ve done a number of them, but I feel like you’ve got to be in the room with people. I would love to do one with Eddie Murphy. You know, that would be a dream. I think it’d be a dream to do Denzel, it would be a dream to do Scorsese. John C. Reilly would be a huge dream to do. There’s a number of people on that list. I’ll tell you, I think if you get him in the right environment and mindset and everything, I would probably lose my mind the most over Michael Jordan because I’m a kid that grew up [at the height of his stardom].
DEADLINE: You had kickboxer and media personality Andrew Tate on your podcast Your Mom’s House last year, knowing that he’s an incredibly polarizing figure but not how much of the persona he projects is actually reflective of the real person. Flash forward a few months and he’s been charged in Romania with some serious crimes. What’s that been like for you to see?
SEGURA: It’s been a wild ride. It’s so funny because people to this day are like, “You launched this guy,” and I’m like, “What?” [Laughs] You know, they don’t realize the origin; they see a clip from the podcast. The origin is that we would play clips of this guy saying ridiculous sh*t and make fun of him. And then when he came in — I will say this, to just completely be fair to the story — everybody there was like, “This is such a nice guy. He’s so polite.”
It was clear to me that this was somebody who’s very self-aware…and I didn’t know that when he came in. And then it was clear that he flipped a switch when the mics and everything rolled, which I appreciate. I’m like, “This guy knows he’s entertaining people and he’s provoking them.” Now, when he left there, we were all like, “That dude was great.” [Laughs]
Like a month later, he was arrested and I just see it like a blurb in the news. I was like, “Oh sh*t.” It was serious charges. Then, a month or so later they’re like, “Oh, he was released”. And then six months go by and they’re like, “He was arrested again.” And I was like, “Oh sh*t, really?” And then a couple months later they’re like, “He got released.” And I mean, I’m not following the story [closely]; I don’t know every detail. But then this week they’re like, “He’s indicted on charges again.” So to me, I’m not into the story enough to go over every detail, but it is like this ride of “He’s in jail, he’s released, he’s in jail, he’s released.” And then I get people who go, “You’re the guy that that made this guy,” and I’m like, “What are you talking about?” [Laughs]
DEADLINE: Comedic features have struggled at the box office in recent years, to the extent that people wonder if the genre is in fact “theatrical” at all anymore. Do you think they might rebound at some point down the line?
SEGURA: I do, a hundred percent. I think this stuff is all kind of cyclical…I think that you see this pullback, and it has been a bummer of a cycle for comedies in features. But I think it’ll swing back up in the near future. And you really just need one hit to see an avalanche of them being made. That’s the thing that we’re kind of missing, is when there’s one of them that’s a true home run as a comedy, it’s a game changer. I mean, you see it in television and film all the time. If something in a certain genre lands…I remember when Liam Neeson did Taken, and then every studio was like, “Let’s make 50 versions of this movie.” And if you have a hard comedy that is a true box office success, you’ll see the same thing.
DEADLINE: You’re involved with a lot these days, between stand-up, new film and TV projects, podcasting, and even the literary world, having not long ago published your first book. Are there other big, unfulfilled creative ambitions for you as you look ahead?
SEGURA: I think that the feature and the show that I have are my big ambitions because they feel like big things to take on. I’m writing the show and I’m in it, so that feels like a huge ambition to me. And the feature stuff is stuff that I’ve always wanted to do, so I see that as a huge one. The other stuff is like, you just want to keep doing good work. At my core, I’m a stand-up, so I’ll always be somebody who goes back to that. I have this special coming out and I’m trying to figure out a new hour, so I’m setting up spots and dates to do as much as I can in that regard. But, yeah. Really, when you take out one of those projects, they honestly feel very ambitious, just as they are.