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Tom Segura switches up the routine to get a new routine

By Graeme Wiggins

VANCOUVER — With a young child, a weekly podcast, a fairly rigorous tour schedule, and a desire to keep fit, veteran comedian Tom Segura relies on routine to keep things working smoothly. When BeatRoute caught up with him, just before lunch, he’d already had a pretty busy day, and that was even without dealing with the career side of things. As Segura explains, he “Got up, took care of the son, made breakfast, played around with him, tried to get a nap but couldn’t.” Later in the day the career business would take over, “picking up the T-shirts for the tour, I have specially designed shirt for this tour, so going to pick those up, then do a podcast at 2:00.”

It’s lucky then that his podcast, Your Mom’s House, that he does weekly with his wife, comedian Christine Pazsitzky, doesn’t seem like work to him. “The podcast to me is probably the most enjoyable thing because it doesn’t feel like work. As far as comedy podcasts go, we’re completely non-guest reliant, meaning the wife and I, who’s also a comic. It’s just us, and it’s just us being ourselves.” Their podcast is a free-flowing conversation between the two, with years of inside jokes, where they joke about everything under the sun, share audio from esoteric YouTube channels, and just riff. One memorable recent obsession features an extremely boring man that reviews microphones. It’s an odd one. There’s also an ongoing bit involving their fans submitting videos and audio of them going through drive-thrus and greeting the servers with “Hey Mommy” (a reference to the show’s title) and ending the order with “Thanks Jeans.” It’s a lighthearted dynamic that has developed a devoted following. “I mean it’s very juvenile so there’s nothing forced or contrived about it. It feels like no work because it really just is us being exactly who we are. We genuinely have a lot of fun doing it.”

They started the project in 2010, just before the podcast boom, which is how they’ve built their following. It’s been an organic process, by sharing their conversation and having people come to listen. “It’s been awhile. It’s grown so, so much. Which is nice, because it’s grown and it’s kind of just us doing what we would be doing.” Sharing the intimate side of themselves garners pretty hardcore fans. “We feel a great appreciation for them; they definitely feel like they know you because they actually do know you. It’s one-sided though because they know you far better than you know them. It’s hard because sometimes they’ll come up to you and say something, not even an inside joke, but something intimate. And you’re like ‘wait, what?’ It throws you off and then you’re like, ‘Oh yeah I did say that one time on the podcast.’”

Having a regular outlet like a weekly podcast also helps brings people to the show, and vice versa. “Those things feed off each other well. People come to your shows and learn about the podcast, and people who listen to the podcast possibly go to your show.” But this dynamic isn’t perfectly ideal; despite having a pretty similar feel to his onstage act, the podcast is a little more authentic and real than his onstage persona which can lead to some issues. Segura explains, “I love having the podcast fans at shows but I definitely would not want it to be 100 per cent podcast fans at a stand-up show. And the reason is that they know you so well that it’s almost like you feel like you’re putting them on in stand up. It’s like if you did stand-up in front of your family and your family is like ‘what are you doing right now?’” It’s not that he puts on a front or different character, but there is a formalism to the stand-up side that can be off-putting to people who feel like they know you well. ”I’ve had podcast people come up to me and say: ‘I just wanted you to know I didn’t enjoy that’…yeah thanks man.”

In today’s comedy world, perception is something that comics can be very concerned with, self-censoring and filtering their act through a screen of perceptions about what others think. Segura’s comedy is refreshing in that while he doesn’t seem to intentionally push against perceptions deliberately like some comedians do in rebellion to this phenomena, he doesn’t seem to be concerned with it at all. “Honestly the filtering thing, I mean on the podcast there’s virtually none. We just kind of go wherever. It’s free-flowing, stream of consciousness.” For his stand-up, his only filter is whether he thinks he can make something funny. In his words, “filtering happens when I’m bored of something or it just doesn’t work. I’ll give something a shot and try to make it funny and think I should be able to make that a laugh, and if it just doesn’t after multiple times, that’s it.”

There are areas Segura doesn’t filter so much as avoid because he doesn’t feel like he’s the best at making them funny. He’s not known for his political comedy. For example, he’s a self-confessed news junkie, and while he thinks it might lead to funny things to have a president that is so thin-skinned on Twitter, “The whole thing is fucking bummer.”

“That really comes from just feeling like other guys and girls are better at it. If I felt I had a really good political bit, I wouldn’t stop myself from doing it. I just feel like it doesn’t feel like that’s my lane, for stand-up.”

So while you shouldn’t expect hot, political takes when he hits the stage in Vancouver for JFL NorthWest, you should expect a good time. He should be on the top of his game: he loves playing Vancouver. “Oh my God, yeah dude, Vancouver is definitely in my top favourite places to tour. I’ve just had great experiences there. Comics love going to a city for two reasons: the first is that the city is cool, the second is the shows are good. Sometimes it’s one or the other, but with Vancouver it’s both. It’s a beautiful city, I dig the people and the shows are always fun. Cities like that, you always have it in your head, I can’t wait to go back there.”

Catch Tom Segura live at JFL NorthWest February 25 at the Vogue Theatre and catch his podcast Your Mom’s House available on iTunes.

BeatRoute Magazine February 2017 B.C. print edition cover.
Cover illustration: My-An Nguyen

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