If you’re already familiar with Tom Segura from stand-up, his podcast, Your Mom’s House, with co-host and wife Christina Pazsitsky and numerous appearances on The Joe Rogan Experience, he is exactly as funny, charming and self-effacing as you’d expect. AmericasComedy.Com met up with him at the Hollywood Improv to discuss his recently released second album, White Girls With Cornrows, his podcast, his lovely and hilarious wife and his friendships with man-children.
AC: So my favorite thing I heard you say on Ari Shaffir’s podcast [Skeptic Tank #78] is that you paid a girl to get these cornrows?
TS: Absolutely. Yes.
AC: How did you find her?
TS: On Craigslist. I put an ad up and I was thinking about it and I thought “I wonder if there will be a lot of people who respond to this.” I had that thought. No. I had two people that responded. Oh, and this is the worst part. One girl… because you can’t let on, you know, I wanted to have at least two options and exactly two people responded. And so the girl that’s on the cover was my first choice and this other girl was my second choice. I just wanted to make sure I had somebody. So I emailed both and I told the second girl, “Hey, thank you for your interest, I’m putting you on avails.” [laughs] Like it’s a real commercial or something. And she writes back “So excited that I booked this! I can’t wait to tell all of my friends!” and I had to write back, “No, that’s not what that means.” But the girl that did it is awesome. It was perfect, because she’s a dancer. She dances hip hop and R&B. So I was like, “this is a look you can sport for what you do.”
[Note: For those of you not cursed with the entertainment industry knowledge of what “avails” are, it basically means exactly what this story makes it sound like - you’re on call in case the first choice doesn’t work out.]
AC: I noticed when Ari was bragging about being #1 on iTunes, you were right up there with him.
TS: I got to #2 here in the US and #1 in Canada and have been in the Top 10 since and also the Top 10 for Billboard. The cool thing is that we both decided to take the leap and do this on our own. We both got offers to do it from labels. I started to have the conversation with a number of people and my philosophy on it is that you have to look at it as a very simple equation: How many people are gonna buy it that weren’t gonna buy it just because you said “Hey, I have a thing that maybe you should consider buying.”? And in my mind that number – I’ll never know – was not significant enough to go “Oh, I’ll give half my profits to someone else.” My theory on it is that I’m gonna go “Oh, here’s this thing.” and everybody that’s gonna buy it is in tune with me in some way, so I can just have them buy it from me. I don’t think being on a label is going to change that number significantly.
AC: You do have this large podcast audience and you do the Deathsquad thing and those guys are fucking loyal fans.
TS: They are incredibly loyal and incredibly supportive and incredibly positive.
AC: How much do you think that played in here?
TS: Tremendous. Like, I don’t know.. I’ll never know the actual impact, but Deathsquad and podcasting in general, Joe Rogan and all those guys play a very, very significant role in my success. I can definitely point to that as a huge factor in my success.
AC: What got you and Christina doing the podcast?
TS: Rogan. I don’t mean, like, watching him, I mean him actually saying…I really had zero interest. Then he saw my wife do standup here [at the Hollywood Improv] and he called me and said “Dude, she fucking destroyed, she’s hilarious!” and I was like “Yeah, I know, man. She’s great.” He kept talking about it and then we did a weekend somewhere and on the flight back, he said, “I can’t believe you don’t do a podcast with your wife. You’re both comics, you’re both funny and you’re married. Why don’t you just do a podcast? That’s a natural progression.” So I called Brian [Redban] and we did one the next week.
AC: I love you and Christina as a couple. It’s so cool to me that you’re both comics and you seem to really like each other.
TS: Yeah, we do.
AC: And you’re both funny.
TS: Oh, thank you.
AC: And that’s one of the things I like when I listen to the podcast. How did you guys manage to do that?
TS: I think she said it best… I think, what you hear us like on the podcast is exactly what we’re like together when we’re not on the podcast. We have fun together, we’re silly. The podcast is sillier than a lot of podcasts. Basically, the stuff that’s made us laugh for years is the podcast. I love it. I keep telling people, of all the things I’ve done in this business, I like the podcast the best. We have a lot of fun.
AC: You can tell.
TS: It’s amazing to me how many couples listen to the podcast together. We get a lot of email “Me and my wife listen..” or “Me and my girl listen..”
AC: In other plug-y type things, Comedy Central’s Mashup is about to come out and you’re on that.
TS: That was a lot of fun. It was a great crowd at the taping. And the visualizations are incredible. That dude, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the director, he is extremely talented. You know when you’re around someone that is so good at what they do and you’re just like “Jesus.” What they were doing for my bits was just incredible.
AC: After all that fun talk, let’s go to the standard question about where did you record the album and how did that go?
TS: I did it at Denver Comedy Works South.
AC: Oh yeah, I remember Brendon [Walsh] making fun of you [on Skeptic Tank] about “I don’t want to do the downtown club, give me the suburban one.”
TS: He… first of all, he didn’t shut up during that whole podcast. I didn’t get two words in on my promotional podcast. Then he got sensitive the next day when I tweeted “Thanks Ari, it was fun listening to Brendon talk,” and he apologized. I loved the implication as if I decided. I took what I got. People always assume… it’s funny, people always ask on email or on Twitter “Hey why don’t you come do this city?” and I always say “Because I don’t have an offer.” and they say “Well, why don’t you tell them you want to come?” and I’m like “Yeah, I have. They don’t want me to come.” and they’re like, “I don’t get it, don’t you just go wherever you want?” They have no idea, dude, I’m not famous, I don’t just say “I want to come here.” But, basically I got that offer, I’ve been there before. It’s phenomenal. Both clubs there are phenomenal. And it’s been two years since my last album and I’ve got a new hour, so I figured worst case, I just have somebody record it and I’ve recorded my sets. And it just came together.
AC: That reminds me, I feel like a lot of times on Twitter, I just see you and Brendon and Bert Kreischer having a ridiculously good time together. Now I’m wondering, how much of that is busting each other’s chops and how much of it is actually giving each other shit?
TS: No, it’s all in fun, it’s all ball busting. It’s all fucking ridiculous. I adore Brendon and Bert. I like to antagonize… like when Bert tweets to promote his Travel Channel show, I like to say its awful. But it’s because I love him.
About the Author: Amy Hawthorne is an LA-based stand-up and writer and the founder of ComedyGroupie.com. She is convinced that the food industry is being unduly influenced by Big Avocado.