Tom Segura is probably one of the biggest names in American comedy. He’s part of the two incredibly successful podcasts Your Mom’s House—which he hosts with his wife and fellow comedian Christina Pazsitzky—and 2 Bears, 1 Cave (co-hosted with Bert Kreischer) which are consistently on top of the Apple and Spotify charts. It goes without saying that Segura enjoys a massive fanbase who crave his weekly updates and riffs. On his latest Netflix special Sledgehammer that is exactly what is up for offer—a series of middling thoughts and jokes which are loosely connected by weak filler material. That makes for a decent podcast episode that you can tune in to while you do your laundry. But for your seventh comedy special, and fifth one for Netflix, one would expect a more accomplished performance that does not rest on inside jokes and the goodwill of your fans.
Recorded in Phoenix, Arizona, in the middle of a 21-month tour, the hour starts with throwaway jokes about Confederate statues and supermodels, subpar efforts that are met with generous praise from an adoring audience. Segura then leans into his persona as the family man, serving up stories about fatherhood and his kids, before launching into anecdotes about getting his mother high on gummies for the first time and a non-life-threatening accident that his wife suffered from. All of these are potent topics for a comedian with Segura’s experience. But he fumbles the bag by dishing out tired, done-to-death observations, too banal to be saved by his loveable laid-back cadence and hilarious physicality. There’s nothing fresh on offer.
That’s not to say that the special is a complete miss. We do see hints of a great comedian who knows how to tread the line with an edgy joke. But those moments are scarce and too far apart. As a fan of Segura’s, sure, you’ll get through the hour and even enjoy some of the high points. But this is just another case of a successful podcaster trying to get away with average performances on the standup stage—exemplified by Brendan Schaub’s two abysmal excuses for comedy specials. It’s time some comedians stopped taking their fans for granted.
With a little more thought and sincerity, Segura can definitely emulate his in-studio magic on stage. He just has to try. Sledgehammer is the first of a two-special contract he has signed with Netflix. I have my fingers crossed for the next one.