Donna Edwards
Donna is a text editor for the Asia-Pacific region.
deadwordzdedwards@ap.org

Review: Whips and quips in comedian Tom Segura’s new book

June 14, 2022 GMT
This cover image released by Grand Central Publishing shows "I'd Like to Play Alone, Please," by Tom Segura. (Grand Central Publishing via AP)
This cover image released by Grand Central Publishing shows "I'd Like to Play Alone, Please," by Tom Segura. (Grand Central Publishing via AP)
This cover image released by Grand Central Publishing shows "I'd Like to Play Alone, Please," by Tom Segura. (Grand Central Publishing via AP)
This cover image released by Grand Central Publishing shows "I'd Like to Play Alone, Please," by Tom Segura. (Grand Central Publishing via AP)
This cover image released by Grand Central Publishing shows "I'd Like to Play Alone, Please," by Tom Segura. (Grand Central Publishing via AP)

Tom Segura is an edgelord. He is constantly on the verge of going too far, straddling the line for the lulz. It’s effective, but it keeps the casual fan of his comedy at arm’s length.

That is, until he wrote a series of autobiographical essays titled “I’d Like to Play Alone, Please” and gave the bookish world a window into his heart.

An absolute troll from the start, Segura directly addresses readers and engages with his audience as if he’s up on stage performing a set. Open, funny and insightful like a Marc Maron interview if it was just one comedian talking to himself.

Insights like “use what you have” and “don’t try to prank armed bodyguards” are just a sampling of the life lessons Segura has taken the opportunity to bestow upon the written world.

“I’d Like to Play Alone, Please” is a stereotypically masculine tour de force with farts, football and a third thing starting with “f” that’s not fit to print, occasionally interrupted by completely disarming, heartfelt sentiments. Then followed by more poop jokes.

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Amid reflections on his life and self-aware toxic masculinity is a spattering of famous people Segura has met, each one including a selfie before you can finish thinking, “Pics or it didn’t happen.”

Some chapters won’t be new for fans of Segura’s standup — he writes the tale of his accidental overdose nearly exactly the same way he tells it on stage. And if you’re looking to relive Segura highlights like his infamous dunking injury or that time he met Mike Tyson, they’re there, too.

But Segura also offers a peek into his life, revealing how a kid spending wild summers in Peru and making award-winningly bad science projects becomes a podcaster and touring comedian with four Netflix specials. His essays explore his childhood, times that he’s bombed and which of his sons is his favorite and why in well thought-out prose that tells each story in a quirky, inherently Segura manner.

The book is funny, surprising and even sweet at times. Some of the most offensive sections result in the best punchlines, though it’s up to the reader to determine if it’s worth it. Hardcore Segura fans will be right at home, while others caught unaware will be demanding refunds. Segura is polarizing that way. Don’t worry, though — mostly it’s just digs at his friend and fellow comedian Bert Kreischer.