Daniel Sloss, 24, performed his first live set before he turned 14, and signed his first deal to record DVDs when he was just 19 years old. Since then he’s been selling out shows and DVDs internationally and making a name for himself at the prestigious Eidenburgh Fringe Festival every year. Sloss made his first US appearance in December 2013 on Conan and did so well that Conan asked him to come back two more times in the next six months. Sloss has also appeared on The Pete Holmes Show, @midnight, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. He’s back in the US now doing the SF Sketchfest and other dates, and we took the opportunity to have our own RJ Waldron reach out to Daniel to find out more about him.
The IBang: Some Americans may not know that you are a Scottish Comedian who started stand up when you were 16 and you already have a really impressive list of TV credits including Conan and The Late Late Show. How are you finding your time in America and what’s the difference in the comedy scene?
Daniel Sloss: Scene wise, obviously there is a lot more opportunity here, in the states. There are probably only four clubs in the whole of Scotland that are really good. You guys can legitimately get up two or three times a night to do stand up, which is really fun to do. The crowds over here are also a lot more patient. In Scotland you have to win your audience over, where as the standard American crowd is very nice and supportive. They are willing you to do well from the start, where as in Scotland you absolutely have to win the audience over. In Scotland or in the UK, I sort of have to go on and do my best material right off the top to win over the crowd and prove that I’m funny because the audience doesn’t always trust the comedian. Whereas over here, they are just like, ‘Yeah, we want you to do so well!’ It’s amazing. But it kind of catches me off guard. Looking down at the audience and their smiling faces and I haven’t even said anything, yet.
The IBang: So, you’re out in LA right now, right?
Daniel Sloss: I’ve been here for a week so far, I’ll be here for about two months all together. It’s nice, but it’s weird. Whenever I talk to someone about LA and they ask me how it is, and they’ll say, ‘It’s LA, isn’t it?’ It’s weird that that is a phrase, but it it’s just very LA and even saying that is a very sort of LA thing. I love it a lot. There is so much to do and the weather is amazing. But the one thing that really freaks me out, and this is one of the differences between Americans and Brits is you guys are just so fucking friendly all the time and it’s so hard to tell when you’re being insincere. It catches me so off guard. In Scotland and the UK, you don’t talk to strangers because fuck ‘em, they’re strangers. Why would you give a shit about their day? But here, people ask you about your day and then they listen and they care about the answer. The accent is so friendly that if you were that friendly in the UK, it would be sarcastic. People are like, “Hey, how are you?” and I’m just like, “Fuck you, how am I?… Ohhh, you’re being nice, oh sorry.”
The IBang: So, have you been to New York, because I’m wondering if that would maybe feel a little more comfortable… [laughing]
Daniel Sloss: I haven’t been to New York, but it sounds more like my kind of place. I like when people tell me to fuck off, I know where I stand, then. You guys could just be so good at being insincere and just joking and really not give a shit, but with the American accent, I can never tell whether you’re being sarcastic. But, I mean you never are, I guess that just comes from my British thing, because if someone is being nice to you than they are probably just being a dick.
The IBang: So was this your very first Super Bowl?
Daniel Sloss: It was the first time I’ve ever watched a full Super Bowl. I always tried to watch in the UK, but it starts at 1am and I’m not going to stay up until five in the morning to watch mostly adverts [commercials]. I’m one of those guys that just likes sports. I’ll happily watch anything if it’s on. But, I got really into it, we had a Super Bowl party at a friend’s house, it’s fun to watch. But, it’s weird to watch a sport and to not have my life threatened.
The IBang: Oh, was it a little mellow?
Daniel Sloss: Yeah, you guys are just like, “Oh yeah, well done to the other team.” I watch “Football Football” and I can’t be in the same room with someone who supports the other team because I’ll get so angry at them. Whereas, over here we were sitting in the room and there were Patriots fans and Seahawks fans and they’re just all there having a beer like this is really nice. I guess basically, my answer to most of these questions is that “Fuck me, Americans are friendly.” I’m certainly coming to the realization of how horrible my whole country is.
The IBang: So, tell me about M.U.F.F Productions.
Daniel Sloss: Oh yeah. I’m glad you actually said “Muff…”
The IBang: Are you not supposed to say it that way?
Daniel Sloss: No, no that’s perfect. But when we came up with the name we tried to advertise it on a bunch of radio shows and newspapers and they were like, “we don’t know if we can say this.” And we were like, “Muff is not a bad word!” Originally we were going to call it C.U.N.T. The Central Unit of Network Television, but we’re glad we didn’t now. Also, that’s a word that I am well aware of is SO MUCH worse over here. The “C Word” where I am from is nothing. My mum calls me that as a term of endearment. She’ll come out and be like, “Hey cunt, how are you?” “I’m good mum, how are you?” That’s it, she loves me. It’s so weird that when I say it over here people are like, “Are you ok?”
But yes. M.U.F.F. is basically a comedian friend, Tom State, a Canadian comedian who lives in the UK, and we decided to come up with a sitcom. When we came up with the idea we knew that no one was going to let us make this, it’s too stupid. We were laughing our asses off but this is a bit too dumb. There is no way that this would appeal to a mass market. Then we were like fuck it, let’s just get our fans to fund us some money, cause if we’re making it for our fans then that’s perfect. So we went online and we crowd funded it and that went terribly. One thing I learned from the whole thing is that we did literally every single bit of it wrong. I now know exactly how not to do it. So me and Tom ended up chipping in our own money to help sort of fund it.
It’s an internet show that we’ll hopefully be releasing in about June or July. It’s about a television production company called M.U.F.F. Productions which makes television shows that are so mind-numbingly dull. Basically, it’s just like all reality TV shows. They make terrible sitcoms, but obviously the shows are hugely popular, because the general public are morons. They make these shows and they are hugely popular and mind-numbingly dull that they eventually cause the end of the world. So the story follows my character Lawrence, he’s this liberal guy, kind of up his own ass. He claims to be an artist and thinks television is an art form and should be this and that. So he turns up to M.U.F.F. Productions and realizes that you can make good TV shows, but they don’t make any money, so you might as well go on to make some shit, because at least then you’ll be a millionaire. So, he goes in there and slowly tries to fix it, but it just gets worse. The reason I find it all so fun is because it was just me and the guys that wrote this (Tom Slate, Charlie Parker, and Joe McTernan) and we would sit there and wonder if this show was too stupid. Then we’d just go fuck it, it’s us and no one is here to tell us what we can do. It will really be an untarnished vision of what we want. Which may work out for the worst. It may be fucking terrible and people will say, “Well yeah, you really do need those executives there.”
I just know that when we were making it and we watched the clips we laughed our asses off. We were on the floor laughing. We know there are some people that are going to fucking hate this show, but as long as the people that we want to like it actually like it, then we’re happy. We got annoyed that some people when we were making it tried to call it offensive, we’re not trying to be offensive. I don’t consider myself an offensive comedian, I don’t like that sort of thing. I don’t go out with the intention of offending an audience, sometimes I do, but that’s never my intention, that’s not my job. My job is to make them laugh. Sometimes I talk about taboo subjects and I’ll discuss them. Obviously there will be times when the audience chooses to get offended, but the one important thing that everyone needs to remember is that if you’re offended by something, no one gives a shit, that’s your problem. And because we are releasing this show online for free, nobody can complain. In order to watch it, you literally have to go to our website and watch it.
The IBang: So, where will we be able to find it?
Daniel Sloss: At the moment we’re just going to work on getting it to muffproductions.com and muffproductions.co.uk, follow on Facebook and Twitter for more information. Actually, we found it funny that celebrities were complaining about their shows being watched online and we were like, wouldn’t it be funny if we could make something that you could only illegally download? That’s basically what we said to all our fans, is that if you want to burn this show and give it to all your friends, if you want to watch it in a cinema, if you want to fucking sell it, go ahead, we don’t give a shit. We made it because we wanted it to be made, after that whatever happens to it, who cares.
The IBang: Are there any other future projects that you are working on right now?
Daniel Sloss: I’m working on some stuff with Conaco [Conan O’Brien’s production company]. I have a development deal with them, so we’ll hopefully be working on some stuff, but not exactly sure what’s going on there. It’s all very interesting though, because I’m doing all of the LA meetings. I walk in and everyone tells me I’m great, and yeah, it’s kind of nice. Other than that, my year is really full with a lot of the same stuff. I do stand up in the clubs and then I work towards doing the Edinburgh Festival every year. I do my new hour there every year and this will be my seventh hour. I just think that it’s now that standard “Louis C.K. thing” where Louie, and I’m a huge Louis C.K. fan, but he came out and said that you have to do a new hour every year and every American comic was like, “Oh my God, that is such a great idea,” and we all sat in Britain going, “Dude, that’s what we’ve been doing forever.” A lot of the British comedy scene revolves around the Edinburgh Festival, so you’re either working towards it, or touring the show afterwards. So, if I want to be as good of a comedian as Louis C.K. and Bill Burr, and Maria Bamford, and Patton Oswald and all these other comedians that I love, I need to do the Festival every year.
10 Feb. UCB, Franklin Ave LA Put Your Hands Together
12-15 Feb. COMEDY WORKS – DENVER
17 Feb. LA IMPROV – Hot Action Comedy
18-22 Feb. HILARITIES 4TH STREET THEATRE – CLEVELAND, OH
25 Feb. LA Venice Underground @ The Townhouse 26 Feb LA Fresh Out @ UCB Sunset
27 Feb. LA Westside Theater Unnecessary Evil
28 Feb. LA SET LIST at Nerdmelt
2 March LA The Virgil Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen
4 March LA Nerdmelt Meltdown w/ Jonah and Kumail @ Nerdmelt