At 26 years old, Daniel Sloss has achieved things many comedians only dream of.
Appearing on TV shows Conan, Sunday Night at the Palladium and Drunk History - to name a few - he’s sold out Edinburgh Fringe shows, tours and performances around the world and yet he remains extremely humble: “I’m only as good as my last show”.
We talked to Daniel to find out more about his upcoming UK tour, NOW, and his weirdest experiences whilst touring...
You recently sold out all your Edinburgh Fringe shows, congratulations! Does the feeling of selling out shows still surprise you?
I don’t think I’ll ever take it for granted and I know I’m only as good as my last show, but I love the fact that people want to come and hear my jokes and my opinions and have a laugh. Especially the fans who have been with me for a while - it still blows my mind I get to do this for a living.
You did a rap battle at Edinburgh - are you interested in doing more off beat shows?
I do “Set List” and Eric Lampaert’s “Comedians Cinema Club” when I can, which are proper fun live shows to do. This year I also got asked to do “Drunk History” and “Dara O Briain's Go8 Bit” on TV. Gaming and getting pissed while getting paid to do both really does (again) blow my mind.
You perform a lot on American shows - is there a difference in performing to American and British audiences? If so which do you prefer?
I certainly do a bit more TV in America, but that’s more through choice than offer. But I do much bigger live tours in the UK and the rest of Europe. And I certainly couldn’t sell anywhere near the numbers in America that I do during the Edinburgh Fringe. One day, hopefully. But I like performing live everywhere and in any case there’s more difference between a Monday night audience and a Sunday night audience than there is between comedy on polar opposite sides of the planet. Only political/local material is difficult when you travel, and fortunately, my set involves very little of either.
Could you ever see yourself moving to America and working purely on the American comedy scene?
No, I like working in America and I’ll travel over a few times in the year so I do spend plenty of time there but it’s while I am working on stuff. Scotland is my home. Always has been, always will be. This is where my heart is and while other countries are lovely, none of them are the same as being in my home. I think it gives me a chance to switch off that living in America could never do.
Your tour NOW starts on the 15th September in the UK. What kind of material can we expect in your new show?
It’s a new show since last year, so it’s my take on sociopaths, my mum assuming I was a drug addict when I was 17, and how much I hate orange juice with pulp in it.
The tour is throughout Europe as well - is there anywhere you’re particularly looking forward to performing in, that you haven’t been to before?
I always get excited where there is a new place on the itinerary. On my first tour I dreaded it and now I absolutely love to get to play to people who haven’t seen me before. It’s the weirdest thing – you are performing your show to people who are digging it in their second language and they get it all – the jokes, the references, everything. I guess it’s because my comedy is very much my perspective on things and people anywhere in the words are really not all that different, just some of us are darker in our outlook.
Do you have time to explore the cities you perform in?
A bit. Not as much as I probably should and usually on my way to finding things like the venue, the nearest gym, the nearest bar…. Often the locals will take me and Kai (my support act) out and show us their city and favourite late night drinking places and for me, that’s the best kind of sightseeing.
What has been the best/ weirdest experience you’ve had performing?
On my first big European tour, driving through bombed-out areas en route to my gig in Belgrade blew my mind. Touring with my friend and former flatmate Kai Humphries, who makes me laugh more than any human being on the planet. Kai genuinely not believing that Transylvania was a real place when we had a gig booked there. Meeting Conor McGregor at a “Conan” taping. Playing my last show in Edinburgh the year my friends had a running joke that I look like Beaker from the Muppets (I do). So on the last show my mum printed out 400 Beaker masks and handed them out to my audience to wear, so when I walked out and had them all staring at me I was utterly confused and it took me ages to recover.
Do you find more inspiration in day to day life or in current affairs and big news stories?
Definitely day to day life.
Who are your comedy heroes? Have you ever been star struck meeting any of them?
Not really because I tend to meet them when we are working and everyone is pretty respectful backstage. Bill Burr and Louis CK are heroes, I recently was on the same bill as Kevin Hart and he was pretty cool (although he did have quite the entourage), Ed Byrne, who is great on and off stage – I think when you meet people in a working environment you kind of just get on with it. I did get to watch Jim Gaffigan and Jerry Seinfeld working out in a club recently and that was pretty special - it was definitely an odd feeling at first watching a comedian I had grown up with all over TV doing his thing live. Pretty great actually. A good comedian is a good comedian I guess.
I really enjoyed your Ted Talk on comedy offending people and storytelling. With everyone now being able to vocalise their opinion due to social media and comedians often facing a lot of backlash, do you think that comedians are less likely to take bigger risks with controversial subjects and instead stick to safer topics?
It’s harder, for sure. But that makes it even more important that comedians take risks – not be controversial for the sake of it but take risks and perhaps with those risks, break new unsafe ground. Say what you have to say, not what you think they want to hear or what you think you are allowed to say - just make sure it’s funny.
You became a successful comedian whilst still in your teens, a very impressive achievement - what advice would you give to young comedians wanting to become successful?
Comedy needs to be something you love for the sake of it - the success may or may not come but you need to work hard at it, learn to trust your instincts and never stop trying to be better.
Daniel Sloss is on a UK tour with his show NOW from 15th September – 9th December. For tickets go to: https://www.livenation.co.uk/artist/daniel-sloss-tickets