Daniel Sloss: Finding comedy in chaos

Daniel Sloss: Finding comedy in chaos

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Tuesday, 30th October 2018
Daniel Sloss (Credit: Troy Edige)

Daniel Sloss’ comedy is not for the delicate.

“I understand my comedy isn’t for everyone, I would never want to be a comedian that appealed to everyone,” admits the Scottish comedian.

Describing his sense of humour as a “darkness”, Sloss often questions offensive comedy in his stand up. “My intention is never to offend…you’re choosing to be offended.”

“I don’t enjoy truly offending anyone, I’m still growing and learning. [But] there is a level of narcissism to being offended by comedy that I am jealous of. You go to a comedian’s show and sit there and think, ‘is this about me?’, that’s all being offended is.”

Not one to play it safe, Sloss challenges the audience with heavy subject matter, managing to carve hilarious anecdotes from tragedy; whether it is finding humour in death in Dark, detailing his toxic relationship in Jigsaw, or a close friend’s sexual assault in X.

Joking that his agent urges him to “drop the fucking sad bit”, his show Dark serves a sucker punch to the audience half way through with a tragic revelation, yet manages to seamlessly get the audience laughing within minutes. “I need to get the audience to trust me before I get into the darker subjects, so that they know that I know what I’m doing,” he assures.

His well-crafted comedic narrative encourages the audience to laugh with him at uncomfortable situations, “I’ve always said I don’t think any topic in the world is off limits for comedy,” he says.

"I need to get the audience to trust me before I get into the darker subjects, so that they know that I know what I’m doing."

His latest stand up show delivers the same mixture of sharp-witted humour and necessary shock factor that he has become known for, as he addresses the difficult issue of sexual assault.

Sloss reveals how a close friend encouraged him to write about her experience of sexual assault after the pair found humour during the grieving process," we've cried about it, we've laughed about it...you're allowed to do both during trauma."

“I’ve always thought I’m not part of the problem, but that’s not how problems are solved. There’s nothing more women can do to not be sexually assaulted.”

Referencing comics that have addressed sexual assault from a first-hand perspective like Hannah Gadsby in Nanette and Richard Gadd in Monkey See, Monkey Do, he explains, “it’s not my place to lead the [conversation] but I want to add my voice into it, men have to step up.”

He promises the show will take the audience on the journey with him, “it’s the way my shows always go, 45 minutes of solid excellent stand up and then 15 minutes of I’m gonna punch you in the gut for a bit.”

It’s this unique comedic stance that has deservedly secured the Scottish comedian with what has now become something of a comedy accolade: the Netflix special.

Joining the likes of Gadsby, Bo Burnham and James Acaster, the specials have taken Sloss’ comedy all over the world, with his two stand up shows Dark and Jigsaw being made available in 190 countries and translated into 26 languages.

“I have fans in fucking South Korea, Panama, Brazil…just places I never expected. It’s been so positive.”

Although to some the global response may seem sudden, Sloss has spent years climbing up the comedy circuit since starting out at the tender age of 16, becoming a staple sell-out at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, touring all over the world and appearing on Conan a record-breaking eight times.

For those who know Sloss from his earlier television appearances, his latest material will seem like a dramatic deviance from his jokes on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and Russell Howard’s Good News, which he now reflects on as “porridge comedy…it’s filling but there’s no substance.”

He adds, “that’s not who I am anymore.”

Even if there was no success from Netflix, Sloss was happy to finally show the real him to a wider audience, saying that his previous TV appearances were the only bit of his legacy out there, “listen to the arrogance of myself, my fucking legacy…”

“My intention is never to offend…you’re choosing to be offended.”

While he might joke about his career, people are starting to take notice. The ‘Netflix effect’ has propelled the Scottish comedian into new celebrity territory, finding fans in unexpected TV royalty, “David Schwimmer DM’ed me. It’s so fucking surreal.”

As a diehard Friends fan he reveals, “me and my best friend Jean screamed for five minutes and then I cried in the shower.”

The social media messages have been pouring in since the specials premiered, most notably reactions to his show Jigsaw, in which Sloss frankly discusses toxic relationships and the happiness that comes from being single using a jigsaw analogy he was inadvertently taught as a child.

The show has achieved something not even a successful divorce lawyer could take credit for: 10,000 break ups, 40 broken engagements and 54 divorces…and counting.

“[It feels] real good, why would I not be pleased?” he laughs. “I’m saving lives every fucking day because of it.”

Despite inspiring thousands to leave unhappy relationships with his analogy, he claims it was never intended to be a break up show, but rather “a love letter to single people”.

“I hated the smugness of people in relationships on social media,” he says. “I truly believe that we’re in a society that [puts] a lot of pressure on being in a relationship and that you’re not whole without one."

Despite the impact the show has had, Sloss assures he’s no relationship guru and encourages people to send in their relationship problems to get “the world’s worst fucking advice” in his podcast with fellow comedian Kai Humphries, who joins him on his current stand-up tour X.

Joking that he deserves a Nobel Prize, there’s a heart-warming side to the destruction. He says, “I’ve had messages from single people being like ‘I’ve always felt sad being single and now your show has given me the confidence that I don’t need to be in a relationship.’

“I’m glad that my fucking stupid jokes are giving people confidence.”


Daniel Sloss' comedy specials are now streaming on Netflix and tickets are available for his X tour

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Daniel Sloss’ comedy is not for the delicate.