Published Feb 08, 2016Tom Segura's new Netflix special Mostly Stories is a measured shuffle through a world of bad conversation, ingrained racial prejudice, unspeakable nether regions and prize fighting creeps. Segura does a bang-up job propping himself up on his carrot and stick approach to punch lines, his curiously winding storytelling and his well-honed "are you shitting me?" face.
Segura is a reasonably likeable schmo. His disarming personality allows him to push the boundaries of good taste further than some, mostly to good effect. Over his set he proves himself to be a versatile comedian; not exclusively a shock jock, not strictly observational, and perhaps mostly but not entirely storytelling-oriented. His juxtaposition of short- and long-form comedy and variety of approaches make for an erratically funny hour, but he's a very believable, multi-faceted comic.
Segura begins his set — after an introduction resembling a very strange MasterCard commercial — with personal material, inner monologues laced with self-doubt and loathsome hypothetical tirades towards his subconscious. He gradually begins to approach more volatile material, working against the grain of political correctness with funny results without seeming self-righteous, although he seems to do it for its own sake.
In this, his second Netflix special in as many years, Segura seems a bit rushed. He fits a lot of material into his hour-long set, but his pacing gives the impression he's cut some corners. He spends ample time setting up punch lines and stories — at which he excels — but as soon as he hits the punch line, he fires off in a completely different direction, failing to give his jokes the pointedness many of them had potential for. It shouldn't come as a surprise that a comedian like Tom Segura might see the punch line as the point of a joke, but when a comedian works his way into a political or social area of tension as Segura often does, an audience might be forgiven for expecting more of an explicit point to be made. If having a point justifies making racially loaded jokes — or as the sore thumb of the set would suggest, jokes regarding disabilities — then Segura might need a little more time to digest the statements behind his own material.
While his somewhat ham-fisted approach to sensitive material did not completely overshadow his set — there were moments where it worked in his favour — he seemed to use vague political conjecture to justify jokes, rather than using jokes to justify any sort of meaningful statement.
Tom Segura's Mostly Stories is as multifaceted as it is provocative. There's something funny in there for just about anyone, with just enough blue material to keep the more adventurous/depraved comedy fan paying attention.
Exclaim! is reviewing every standup comedy special currently available on Netflix Canada, including this one. You can find a complete list of reviews so far here. (Netflix)