Author’s note: This review contains spoilers of jokes and punchlines from the comedy special Tom Segura: Ball Hog.
Everyone’s favourite American/Spanish/sometimes Asian comedian is back, this time from The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas. For Ball Hog, Segura (looking nice and slim these days) takes the stage in front of a sexy red velvet background, which I found refreshing. Is it just me, or does every current comedy special use a blue background with blue lights? This stage also comes equipped with a giant yellow spotlight shining away from Tom, which can only mean he is trying to signal Batman.
Something noticeable from the get-go is that this crowd is very loud. They laugh at almost every line, which is somewhat distracting at first. But it was probably a great feeling if you were there, or if you’re the man on stage. And let’s face it, this special proves he deserves it.
Tom still excels at making funny mouth noises. He’s also the master of putting images in your head that you definitely do not want there. Like your dad finishing inside your mom. Or your mom sucking your dad off multiple times, because she’s a ball hog. Yep, that’s where the name of the special comes from. Much like Chappelle when he is on a roll, no one is safe. Not even Tom’s own mother. “She’s such a dick,” he says, after explaining why she is a “dream crusher.” He puts his dad on blast as well, noting that he booked a trip with Carnival Cruise because, in his dad’s words, “I love watching black people have fun.” Sometimes the things his parents say are more ridiculous than his own jokes, and you wonder why they aren’t up there on stage.
Segura hates small talk with strangers, just as much as anyone who has more important things to do with their time. He asks the audience, “You ever meet somebody, and they’re so boring, you feel like they poisoned you?” We all know that person who just drains the life out of you, but you can’t seem to get away from. After a story about a particularly clingy bank associate, Tom declares, “Fuck that guy, and fuck everybody like him,” and later adds, “Your problems make my dick soft, and I am trying to stay hard out here.” He attacks specific people and their annoying habits (such as guys trying to stare at clouds on a 6 a.m. flight) in a similar vein as George Carlin did in his prime, when he rattled off a list of “people who ought to be killed.” The beauty of Segura’s bit is that it comes off fresh and inspired, not stolen or recycled.
He has built up a nice catalogue of material which he can reference, and add to, making it even funnier. For example, he will never lay off of Louisiana or Cajun people, and as a fan, you would expect nothing less. However, he now admits, “I never would have shit on them as hard as I did, if I had been to Arkansas, which I now have.” At this point he has officially pissed off an entirely different state, which I’m sure we’ll hear about in his next special. It’s comedy genius.
Tom is often at his best while making fun of those who don’t understand jokes, or get offended by comedy. He has a simple solution: “If you didn’t like that joke, then don’t think about it.” After briefly going after religion and superstitions, he strongly decides, “They’re all dumb.” He also thinks that poor people should take better care of the environment by separating trash from recycling. In an interesting coincidence, he has a bit about not being social, stating how excited it makes him when his dinner plans get cancelled. So many people can relate to, or even rejoice with that idea right now. This special enters our homes at the perfect time when people are being forced to be antisocial, and could really use some outrageous comedy to lift their spirits.
Possibly the finest segment is when Segura stops joking for a minute, and drops some wisdom on the unsuspecting crowd. He passionately tells them: “I want you to have crazy dreams. I’m serious. I really do. I’ll give you the best advice, sincerely, not a joke, that I ever got about pursuing a dream. And I hope it applies to all of you, okay? Here’s the truth. I think – this is true. As long as you accept that your dream might not go exactly as you plan, you will still feel fulfilled by the pursuit of your dream. So always go after whatever you want to do. Otherwise, what’s the point in living, right?”
It’s a touching and inspiring moment that reveals his caring side. One can imagine a great historical figure saying something like this, such as JFK or MLK Jr., in front of a much larger audience. It really makes you stop and evaluate your life. It also helps setup the best Wu-Tang Clan joke about sucking nine dicks in the history of comedy. Okay, fine, it’s the only one. But it’s still the best ever. Just four straight minutes of one girl’s disheartening (hysterical) experience of blowing every member of the famous hip-hop group. It doesn’t get much better than that, folks. Leaving the stage twenty minutes later to Wu-Tang Clan’s “Protect Ya Neck” was a brilliant move that brought everything full circle.
The greatest thing about this hour-long laugh fest was Tom’s honesty. He certainly said a lot of over-the-top, disgusting things, but he also delivered a large amount of honest ha-has. He stands by what he says, and it’s clearly all for the love of the comedy game.
Tom’s special can currently be seen on Netflix.