6.9

Tom Segura Is Bold in His New Special Ball Hog—For Better or Worse

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Tom Segura Is Bold in His New Special <i>Ball Hog</i>&#8212;For Better or Worse

Tom Segura’s greatest asset—and, at times, his biggest weakness—is his boldness. Not only did he advertise his latest Netflix special, Ball Hog, with a dead dog joke, but within the first two minutes he has a bit about not wanting to fuck his kids. And it works.

Of course, the flipside of his onstage fearlessness is that sometimes Segura offends. He addresses this at length during his hour-plus set, sharing his perspective that everyone has the right to express their opinions, but they shouldn’t expect anything to be done about it. And just to prove that, he doubles down his use of the common pejorative term for Romani people and throws in a couple of stereotypes to boot. It’s lazy and reeks of insensitivity—and not the slightly more acceptable kind that makes his rough-around-the-edges jokes usually so pleasing. Segura does the same when he uses a tired and reductive approach to gender identity, saying that he’ll call people whatever they want, even if they identify as a shoelace. Gee, we haven’t heard that one before.

During most of his time in Austin, though, Segura keeps the audience in stitches, particularly when telling stories about his family. Whether he’s defending his kid from a playground bully or crushing his mother’s spirit on Christmas Day, his physicality and off-the-cuff delivery make for laugh-out-loud bits. The comedian and podcaster expertly taps into that part of you that not only loves your family, but also can’t stand them at times.

The set completely lacks any crowd work, save for when Segura might agree with a particularly loud yell from the audience, but he connects with viewers innately in his use of second person in a number of jokes (including one about our parents’ sex lives). Not only that, but the Your Mom’s House host peppers his set with advice as well; namely, save time by not arguing and follow your dreams. He actually has some moments of sincerity with the latter piece of guidance, before steering it into his comfort zone of dick jokes.

For all of his cynicism, it’s clear that Segura has a gooey marshmallow core to him. That, combined with his boldness, could make for a spectacular comedy special, but he hobbles himself with out-of-touch opinions and impressions of the Wu Tang Clan. At one point he remarks, “Hey man, it’s modern comedy. Get with the program.” Maybe Segura should follow his own advice.

And yes, this score is a reference to his disdain for 69-ing.


Clare Martin writes about comedy, music and more for Paste.

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