Interview: Daniel Sloss takes a stand

Daniel Sloss is regarded as one of the best young comedians on the UK circuit and his latest show, Dark, went down a storm at this year's Fringe. Picture: Gavin Evans
Daniel Sloss is regarded as one of the best young comedians on the UK circuit and his latest show, Dark, went down a storm at this year's Fringe. Picture: Gavin Evans
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IT’S not so much that Daniel Sloss doesn’t read his reviews – it’s more that he doesn’t really get any.

Having made the decision four years ago to stop giving out free tickets to his shows, the young comedian found that reviewers didn’t bother showing up.

That, insists the 24-year-old London-born, Fife-raised Edinburgh resident, is just the way he likes it.

“There’s been this whole thing about ‘Oh, Daniel Sloss banned reviewers from his shows’, which is not the case,” he says. “I. Just. Stopped. Giving. Out. Free. Tickets.

“Suddenly,” he adds, laughing, “they stopped coming, which is really weird. Strange. It’s if they all had a hidden agenda.

“I stopped giving out free tickets because, the way I saw it, I was enjoying my shows a lot more.

“I was enjoying what I was doing, and the audience liked it, and I’d much rather the people at my shows are the people who... look, why would I give free tickets to someone who’s coming in for reasons other than to laugh?”

Not that it’s harmed his career any. “Exactly, why when the shows are selling out would I waste that ticket [on a reviewer] when there’s someone who wants to see the show – someone who wants to come in and laugh? I do get some reviews 
during the Fringe, but I don’t

read them – simply because I don’t respect the opinion,” continues Sloss. “I don’t do my show for reviews. I never went into this job thinking ‘Oh God, I really hope someone at the Daily Mail writes a nice four-star review one day’.

“As long as I’m making the people in the audience laugh, why would I care [what a reviewer thinks]?

“It’s very hard to respect the opinion of one person when every single audience member is laughing at my shows,” he adds.

Sloss has just finished his seventh run at the Fringe and has taken his latest show, Dark, on tour around the UK. On Wednesday, September 30 he brings it full circle to the Stand.

So what are the big topics in his newest show?

“God, tampons, drugs and chilli and death.”

And are these all topics familiar to the young comedian?

“Oh yeah... yeah,” he says, laughing. “The reason it’s called Dark is because I was sick of people calling my comedy dark. Obviously I was very lucky to get a lot TV exposure when I was younger – and obviously when you’re on TV it has to be family-friendly material. So people would come and see my show and be like, ‘Oh, it’s quite dark’. But I’m not offensive for the sake of being offensive.

“I’m not trying to upset people by talking about some subjects that certain people – let’s call them morons, or f***heads – find offensive. I’m not doing it to try and get a reaction – I’m just doing it because I think it maybe needs to be talked about.

“People who are offended by comedy are just the worst f****** people on the planet. So I called it Dark just to ward off those people. I wanted to make sure the sort of people who get offended by comedy just don’t come to my shows.”

The audience reaction during the Fringe, says Sloss, was fantastic, and he’s looking forward to bringing Dark back to his hometown for one night at the Stand.

“It’s been my favourite show I’ve done. You know every year I say it’s the best show I’ve ever done, and people say ‘Oh, you said that last year’. But it would be really weird if I said, ‘Yeah, actually, last year was my best show’.

“Hopefully next year will be my best show, but I’m really happy with this one – very proud of it. My comedy is becoming more and more me every year.

I think one of the biggest compliments you can be given is when other comedians, other people in the industry, come and see the show and say they love it. That happened a lot at the Festival, so that was nice.”

Sloss credits Ed Byrne, Frankie Boyle and Conan O’Brien with helping him get to where he is today.

Byrne was the first comedian he ever watched perform live, Boyle asked a 16-year-old Sloss to write material for him on the satirical TV show Mock the Week, and Conan gave him exposure to millions in the US after inviting him to appear on his extremely popular late-night talk show.

“Conan took me under his wing and kept having me back on his show,” says Sloss. “Frankie give me my big break and, of course, Ed was the first comedian I went to see doing stand-up – which obviously made a huge impression on me.

“All three have been like father-figures to me,” he adds.

• Daniel Sloss – Dark, The Stand Comedy Club, York Place, Wednesday, September 30, 8.30pm, £15 (£11), (0131)-558 7272