Daniel Sloss doesn’t have time to explain comedy to you. The 25-year-old comedian, who has been performing since his late teens, is by all means a veteran comic at this point: Five appearances on Conan, eight years performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, sold-out tours worldwide, and even a popular TED Talk from TEDxEaling, titled It’s Just a Story. And the principle of his 2012 talk still rings true to his shows today, particularly when it comes to his most recent show Dark.
“I was sick of people calling my comedy dark,” Sloss told me over the phone from his hotel in Los Angeles. “I never really particularly thought it was dark, and then we just decided to call it Dark because we didn’t want people who don’t understand how comedy works [coming to the show] and getting offended. By literally labeling the show dark, you can get rid of those morons.”
“Those morons” could be the all-too-common voices infiltrating social media, opinion blogs, and talking heads in the 24-hour news cycle, who try and find malice in the average stand up routine.
“To be offended by a comedian requires a huge sense of entitlement,” Sloss says. “Being offended by comedy is one of the most arrogant things you can do. Because you are basically sitting in a room with anywhere between 50 and 400 other people watching a comedian, and making it about you.”
Being offended by comedy is one of the most arrogant things you can do. Because you are basically sitting in a room with anywhere between 50 and 400 other people watching a comedian, and making it about you.
But as anyone with a sense of humor knows, some of his most popular jokes are intended to highlight the broader issues we all deal with. He can point out the absurdity of women paying a luxury tax for tampons without having to outright call himself a feminist. “It’s important as a man to never lead the charge in feminism, that completely defeats the purpose,” he says. “That’s your job as a man, support and get out the way.”
Perhaps the most impressive part of Sloss’ career is his ability to write and perform a brand-new, hour-long show every year at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This August will be his eighth solo show, and ninth year performing. If the process of putting together an hour’s worth of new material each summer, then performing it every day for a month straight seems exhausting, the young comedian doesn’t see it that way.
“I just get drunk every day and have fun,” he says, downplaying his ability to put together a sharp and well-written show in only a month.
The Scottish comedian also happens to live in Edinburgh, so the hometown vibe of the Fringe Fest helps bring in a crowd of what he says are supportive Scotsmen. And aside from it being a blast to do, Sloss credits the annual festival for helping him grow tremendously as a comic.
“Writing a new hour every year is what Carlin did, it’s what Louis C.K. does, Bill Burr does it every two years,” he says. “When you see the best of the best doing things in a certain way, if you ever hope to be as good as they are, at least in my opinion, you’ve got to follow it. For me, I can really see the improvement I’ve made over the past three years as a comedian. And that is down to doing the Fringe every year. If I want to be as good as I want to fucking be, I’ve got to do it every year.”
For those who can’t make it all the way out to Edinburgh this August, you can catch Sloss’ show Dark in New York at the SoHo Playhouse from February 9-13. He’s also performing in Los Angeles on February 16 and 23 at the Westside Comedy Theater.
“It’s basically my last [Fringe Festival] show, Dark, and a mixture of my last three shows, so it’s essentially a greatest hits show,” he says. “It’s all my favorite jokes; it’s 90 minutes of my best stand up from the past three years. As a comedian it’s just such a joy to do.”
And we can’t wait to see it.
Visit danielsloss.com for the latest up-to-date info on upcoming shows and how to get tickets.