Comedian Tom Segura likes to talk. He likes it so much, he and his wife and fellow comedian, Christina Pazsitzky, started the Your Mom’s House podcast back in October 2010. Five years later, the podcast is still going strong while Segura and Pazsitzky’s individual comedy work is flourishing. This is especially true of the former, whose second stand-up special, Mostly Stories, debuts today on Netflix.
During a break from his busy New Year’s Eve schedule, we spoke to Segura about Mostly Stories, Your Mom’s House, his random encounter with Mike Tyson on a plane to Pittsburgh and many, many other subjects that interested the 36-year-old comedian.
Most podcasts serve as extended interviews or discussions, but yours sounds and feels more like a radio show hybrid. You call “live” guests, you sample audio clips and gags. It’s like listening to a live radio station.
It’s actually the work of our show. Most podcasts, you just sit there and talk to somebody, but we actually have a “produced” element. We need plenty of time for pre- and post-production, because we just shape the show that way. I think it’s what makes our podcast different.
Your podcasts tend to go long.
When we started doing the podcast, I think they were about an hour each. Back then we did two episodes a week, and after a while we simply couldn’t keep up. We were just getting too busy, and we felt that if we cut it down to one episode a week, we couldn’t just give our listeners an hour. People were asking us to please go back to two a week, but the compromise for the change was to at least do 90 minutes.
Same goes for your stand-up, especially Mostly Stories, but you and Christina don’t have a lot of filters on the podcast.
Yeah, we don’t. With our relationship, that’s how it has been for a long time. We don’t really keep a lot of thoughts from each other. It’s just who we are.
When the hour for Mostly Stories was ready, did you immediately want to work with Netflix?
They were 100 percent my first choice. I wanted to go to them and see if we could do the special, and if it didn’t work out, then we would look at other options. Thankfully they said yes. I was so happy to deal with them, and with the results of Completely Normal being with Netflix, that I without question wanted to go back.
A lot of comedians I’ve talked to who’ve recently produced specials with Netflix have really enjoyed the experience.
They’re great, man. They’re supportive, collaborative and “ideal” when it comes to all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into producing, filming and distributing one of these stand-up specials.
Your final bit in Mostly Stories left it ambiguous, but did Mike Tyson actually come to your Pittsburgh show?
Yes, he did actually come to the show. The bit ends better as a bit the way you see it, but for a while I wasn’t closing with it. When I was telling it in the middle of the act, I would go on a little more about it. He came to show and we hung out after. It was the biggest surprise, obviously, and a crazy experience. Mike Tyson was sitting in my green room talking about boxing. He took me to my green room. It was unbelievable. I actually saw him again a couple of months ago at a UFC fight, and I wasn’t sure if he would remember me. So I went up to him and he looked at me kind of funny for a second, and then he said, “Oh yeah man, we met on that flight!” I couldn’t be happier about it.
That bit made me think about your Conan stand-up about face tattoos a few years ago. Did Tyson bring that up?
Dude, you’re the first person that’s ever said that to me. You completely opened my mind to that. I did not even think about that. That would have been funny if he’d said, “Yeah I recognize you man. Fuck you for that joke!”
Obviously, Mostly Stories consists of several stories told throughout the hour. A lot of comedy operates in this manner, as does your recent stand-up, but was it always like this for you?
It’s been a process, or an evolution. It’s like that whole thing in which you become yourself on stage after you do it a long time. I think it’s more true to who I am. The authentic version of me is what you see in Mostly Stories. I’ve always enjoyed watching comedy where the comic tells you a story about what happened to him that day, or when he did something. I’ve always been drawn to that, and it has developed the more I’ve done it.
In the special, that movie theater bit happened when I was on the road in San Jose. I told it at the club that night, and then I developed it further until it finally made its way into the act. Same thing with the red-eye flight and the old guy — that was on the way to Raleigh. Tyson was on my way to Pittsburgh. The special is essentially snapshots of my whole year.
When you first did stand-up, were you immediately telling stories on stage?
It’s really hard to do that when you’re new at stand-up. I was drawn to that at first, but it’s just harder to do. You just don’t have the skill set for it when you’re starting out. I’ve always wanted that, and there was even an element of it in my earliest stuff, but I had more of a joke-joke routine early on. What I wanted to do then is what I’m doing now.
I’m always curious about whether comics physically write their material, memorize everything or some combination of the two. What’s your preferred method?
About 90 percent of the material is either in my head or results from the conversation I have on stage. There are times when I’ll write one or two sentences down — the origin of an idea. But most of it comes from saying it, remembering it and trying to manipulate it and change it up. It’s not really a pen to paper thing.
What about when you got your start in stand-up?
I was physically writing out more, and it was more methodical in that sense. The joke-writing, at least. But it eventually developed into the more conversational style I use now.
So will you and Christina hide Your Mom’s House, Mostly Stories and your other materials from your son?
I don’t want to horrify our kid, so I’ll probably paint a nicer picture of daddy before he finds out. But inevitably… I mean, can you imagine that kid being born now with the access he’ll have to everything? He’s probably going to show me my stuff when he’s in kindergarten. It’s going to be tough to hide it, but I don’t want my 5-year-old to see me doing blowjob material. It’ll probably happen anyway.
Considering how open and involved everyone is on the podcast, I wouldn’t be surprised if you had your son on the program in the near future.
It’ll probably happen. I think you’re right, it’s going to happen and it’s just a matter time. This kid is really going to get to know his parents. I mean, can you imagine? Our kid will be able to one day listen to hundreds of episodes, hours of his parents talking about really fucked up things. I think he’ll really like it when he’s older, but maybe not when he’s a teenager. But when he’s 30? He’ll really enjoy it.
Definitely. Most of us don’t have audio or visual records of our parents shooting the shit when we’re not around, or before we were around.
I can imagine him in seventh or eighth grade saying, “You guys are fucking stupid. What is this shit?” And we’ll tell him, “All right buddy, calm down.”
In your last podcast intro of 2015, you mentioned you were doing shows on New Year’s Eve. Are you already working on a new hour?
Of course! The pressure is once you know you have a special coming out, you have to actively shape something else up. It’s not all new yet, but it’s working out. It’s always a process when you’re trying to transition from one hour to another. There’s a bunch of new stuff, but it’s not all new yet. Making it all new will be what I’m doing for the next few months.
How much time do you usually spend shaping up the next hour?
Based on past experience, I’ll have an all new hour by the late spring. Over the summer I’ll add some things, lose some things and tighten it up, so that by the fall it will be almost ready to shoot another special in 2017. That’s the pattern I’ve been on ever since I put out my first album. It’s about an 18 to 20-month process. Some of these other guys turn these things around in six months, but fuck that. I don’t think you can really rush these things. You can’t make it happen faster than it’s going to happen.
Tom Segura: Mostly Stories premieres Friday, Jan. 8 on Netflix. You can watch it here. Until then, here’s a preview…