Comedian Daniel Sloss on nationality, humour and his success

Comedian Daniel Sloss on nationality, humour and his success

Daniel Sloss (Credit: Jill Furmanovsky)
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Daniel Sloss, making a global splash via Netflix, explains how his nationality is critical to his comedy

The thing I absolutely adore about being Scottish is that it doesn’t matter where I gig in Scotland, it’s a homecoming gig. If you’re a scouse comedian, your homecoming gig is in Liverpool. If you’re a Manchester comedian, your homecoming gig is Manchester. If you’re a London comic, you’re fucked because nobody cares.

But the joyous thing about being Scottish is that the Scots are disgustingly supportive of their own. They’re loyal to a fault. It’s just nice because it’s “local boy done good” regardless of where I am in Scotland. I love that.

My style of humour is a darkness. It definitely comes from being Scottish.

When you grow up in the rain, it’s very different to growing up in the sun, but you learn to see the goodness in the shite.

My comedy has been shaped by Scotland, it’s where I started doing my comedy. Whenever I’m doing new jokes, I’ll do them to a Scottish audience.

I love the fact that, when I gig here, the fans that have seen me for years, that saw me when I was 16 years old, give me so much shit.

They’ve got my sense of humour. If they laugh it’s like, “OK, the rest of the world will” because I trust them.

My Netflix stand-up specials are out in 187 countries. They have been translated into 26 different languages. I now have fans in South Korea, Panama, Brazil, and Venezuela. These are all places I never expected to have fans.

I truly believe that comedy is universal. Fortunately, my Scottish accent isn’t too thick. If you ask Americans, to them I obviously sound Scottish, but if you ask Scottish people, I either sound English or like a posh twat. This is why I make sure I pepper every sentence with swear words.

I was raised with swearing. I think that, in itself, is a very Scottish thing because swearing isn’t at all offensive in Scotland. One of my earliest jokes was: “In Scotland, we swear so much, there’s no space bar on the keyboard, it’s just the word fucking.”

I’ve always said that swearing is the percussion of language. I think it’s hysterical. You’ll never convince me that it’s not clever.

I use it a lot in my stand-up because it’s a very quick way of weeding out the weak – if you get offended by swearing, you’re not going to survive my show – because my language is the least offensive part of it.

The Netflix specials, Dark and Jigsaw, have just blown up a thousand times larger than I ever anticipated. I always limit my expectations. In this industry, over the years I’ve learned to do that.

My stance was that, if they increase my venue size by 50 everywhere I go, that’s a huge win. Everyone else was thinking, “It’s going to be much bigger than that”. I said: “Don’t tell me that, I don’t want to get any high hopes”, because I think it’s very good to be a pessimist.

If you’re an optimist, you expect the best to happen. When the worst happens, you haven’t prepared for it. When you’re a pessimist, you expect the worst to happen and, if it does happen, you’re prepared. But if good happens, you’re pleasantly surprised. Being a pessimist is literally a win-win.

It’s a very British attitude, especially a Scottish one. I genuinely haven’t expected this in any way.

I have never understood people who say that success is humbling, because it absolutely is not in any way whatsoever. My ego is about to become the most untameable beast that any of us have ever witnessed.

Good luck trying to bring me down. There’s not a chance that anyone can get me off this high horse.

Daniel Sloss is a comedian, actor and writer.

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