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‘Drugs are great, there is no God and when you die nothing happens.’ - An Interview with Daniel Sloss

30 November 2016 | Belphoebe New

Daniel Sloss doesn’t do cosy comedy and easy laughs. Known for his irreverent and provocative stand up, the Scottish comedian discusses the futility of relationships, the effects of death and the various pitfalls of politically correct culture, and he doesn’t care if he offends you one bit. He broke on to the scene aged just 16 and has achieved incredible success that far surpasses his 26 years, selling out the Edinburgh Fringe year on year, performing across the world in Eastern Europe, America and Australia, and he’s even currently working on a pilot in LA. Next week he’s returning to Soho Theatre to perform his new show So? and we caught up with him to find out more about why he is so brutally honest in his comedy.

London Calling: Can you tell us a bit more about So? How did you come up with the material?
 
Daniel Sloss: I basically talk about anything that annoys me. I’m always ranting about something and the only way I can get anyone to listen is to make it funny. This year I’m talking about the problems of being left wing, and as a left wing person, why I hate the left. I despise every member on my own team.
 
LC: Do you think you’re quite politically aware then?
 
DS: No not at all. I still have opinions, when I stand on stage people say ‘oh so you think your opinion is right?’ and I’m like ‘no, I’m just giving it, the difference is I’m the one with the microphone and people pay to hear my opinions, they don’t pay to hear your rebuttal.’ I know I’m wrong. Anyway, then I spend the last ten minutes of the show breaking couples up.
 
LC: Oh, so is that like an audience interaction thing?
 
DS: No no, I just don’t believe in relationships. I think most relationships are sprung out of being taught at a very young age that every Disney princess needs a prince, and everyone in your family is married and those who are divorced, well you’re taught that it’s weird and unusual.
 
LC: You started out as a comedian quite early in your life, when did you decide you wanted to be one and why?
 
DS: I must have been about 16. I’ve always loved stand up comedy and would watch it with my dad from a very young age. Comedy was always very important in my family, it always got you out of trouble. People were more likely to listen to your points if you said them in a humorous way, so I just grew up and naturally found it.
 
LC: What’s it been like to grow up whilst doing standup? Do you think your humour or material has changed since you were 16?
 
DS: God yes, when I was young it was very precocious, flicky hair and ‘porridge’ comedy. I was a good comedian, I’ve always been a good comedian, but there was nothing to it really. It was just low-hanging fruit, none of them making a point. As I got older it got so much darker, and I’m a darker person now.
 
LS: But you’ve said before that you don’t like people describing your work as dark?
 
DS: Yeah absolutely, but it’s much better to piss myself off than have a bunch of people turn up saying ‘Oh I can’t wait to hear lovely jokes about the Brexit!’ and then I’m just there being like ‘death is hilarious, drugs are great, there is no God and when you die nothing happens.’ I honestly don’t consider my sense of humour to be dark but I’ve had enough arguments with people to prove that maybe I might be wrong.
 
LC: Why do you choose these more serious, provocative topics and why do you think audiences want to see that?
 
DS: As far as I’m aware comedians are the only ones speaking honestly. Politicians, whenever they talk about things they really beat around the bush, and musicians always have to just sing it like wimps. With comedy it’s like the everyman, no frills, just one guy on a stage with a microphone, going into their own head and talking about it. It’s the honesty of it, television is heavily censored, whereas standup is just true honesty. When people tell me they’re offended I’m like ‘well you can be offended but you can’t tell me I’m wrong because these are my thoughts, my experiences.’ To be offended by my personal experiences is literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life.
 
LC: You’ve performed everywhere from America to Australia. Where is your favourite place you’ve ever performed?
 
DS: Well Transylvania was great and I loved Croatia. On the Eastern Europe tour I went to Russia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, all those places, and they’re just hugely intelligent and there were some great crowds. If I ever record another DVD, I’ll definitely be doing it in one of those countries.
 
LC: Who are your comedy heroes?
 
DS: Bill Burnham, because he’s the reason I’ll never be the greatest comedian of my age. He’s just so intelligent and he doesn’t apologise for it. Bill Burr for his work ethic, he’s constantly gigging. To me that’s why he’s as good as he is. Dave Chappelle for the same reason, he’s one of the best because he’s been doing it for so many years now, and his honesty too.
 
LC: What’s next for you?
 
DS: I’ll be going over to New York, LA and Australia, doing some tours then going back to LA for pilot season. But it’s weird because I’m not an actor, I’m a comedian. I always get ‘hey, can you do an American accent?’ and I’m like ‘no, I don’t like sounding stupid’. If you want to write a character for a miserable Scottish bastard sure, but some gawky American nerd, nah.
 
So? runs from 5 December – 10 December at the Soho Theatre, tickets start at £10. Find out more here.
 
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