Daniel Sloss: ‘Please remember, I’m not a real person. Right?’

Get the latest from Beat


Daniel Sloss: ‘Please remember, I’m not a real person. Right?’

Credit: Troy Edige
Words by Joanne Brookfield

“I've just descended into a state of marshmallow gooeyness that I'm struggling to come to terms with, really,” Daniel Sloss says of this new chapter of life he finds himself in. He’s in his garden in Edinburgh, more specifically in his studio that also houses pieces of exercise equipment.

He’s been “lying” to himself that if he takes a couple of weeks off drinking that “maybe I’m the type of guy that drinks smoothies every morning, maybe I’m the type of guy that fucking wakes up at seven and goes for a cycle and meditates.”

He’s not. He knows this, but he’s prepared to delude himself with the possibility for a couple of weeks “and then it will probably be ignored for another 11 months”.

Explore Melbourne’s latest arts and stage events, exhibitions, productions and performances here.

Once he’s done talking with Beat, he’ll be doing “the big shop for the week” with his partner but then he’s skipping the Tumble Tots class with his son because “it’s a bit fucking cliquey at Tumble Tots at the moment, and I just don’t feel welcome” the new dad explains, and, frankly, it’s a level of quotidian domesticity that’s incongruous with “Sloss – Scotland’s international comedy superstar” and “Sloss – one of the world’s most significant and successful touring stand-ups of all time” and other ways in which he is frequently described.

As stand-ups go, Sloss is, by any measure, a very famous one and the self-described “big, useless, lucky cunt” has enjoyed high-profile career success since a teenager. We’re not talking ‘booked as the MC at the local pub weekly comedy night’ type of success, but ‘headlining 500 seaters’ type of success, as a teenager. Signed his first DVD deal, as a teenager. “I’ve known no other life,” he says. “I’ve been successful since I was young because you know, this system is rigged and it’s rigged in my favour”.

As a result, he was riding high in his twenties “I was the stereotypical fucking Z-list celebrity who thought he was bigger and more important than he was,” Sloss says candidly. Fame, travel, adulation, he loved it. “I lived my fucking 20s and I had the time of my life,” he admits, although lockdown caused him to begin pondering the trickier existential “who the fuck am I?” question.

“It gave me time to self-reflect and realise that a lot of my 20s I was playing the part, I didn’t know who I was. So I was putting on this big fucking outward act of, you know ‘the tortured artist’, the big fucking egocentric drinker, shagger, ‘rock-and-roll comedy’s the new fucking punk’ shit and now that I’m 32 and playing Dungeons and Dragons again, smoking weed and playing computer games, ‘oh, I’m just a big soft dweeb’,” he says of his evolution.

Recent parenthood (Sloss has a one-year-old) has contributed, but he won’t let that take full credit. “I know parenthood makes you fucking soft, but I was soft before that,” he states. Despite embracing the rock n roll lifestyle of the international touring stand-up (his show Daniel Sloss: X, for instance, which tackled the topic of sexual assault, performed over 300 shows around the world in a 17-month period, including a sold-out arena in Moscow, was filmed for a special screened on HBO in North America, given a theatrical release in the UK and is available to download from his website) he reveals that “I’ve wanted to be a dad since I was 15.”

Listening to Sloss wax lyrical about his baby son, it could be nauseating if it wasn’t so endearing to hear how helplessly smitten he sounds. Marshmallow gooeyness, indeed, as he declares fatherhood “unquestionably and incomparably the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my life, and it’s the most consistently fulfilling experience I’ve ever had”. (Ok, maybe just one quick ‘vom’…)

While Sloss is very much enjoying domestic life, it’s worth remembering he’s also famous for having broken up countless relationships. A quarter of a million of them, he estimates, before he stopped counting. He’s heading to Australia to tour his 12th solo show, Can’t – performing in every state and territory except the NT – however it was the impact a previous show, Jigsaw, marketed as his “break up show” that now has this cult status for causing people worldwide to call things off and inspiring some to bring their divorce papers to his shows for him to autograph.

“I never, ever expected it to have the fucking reach and impact that it did,” he says, although extensive live touring, plus it becoming a comedy special streamed in 190 countries and 26 languages on Netflix, certainly gave it a good nudge.

“At no point in that show do I ever say love doesn’t exist, no point do I ever say that I don’t want to fall in love. My whole point is people are so desperate for any form of love, in any form of relationship, that they lower their standards, and accept less than they’re worth,” he explains.

“I believe in love, and I always wanted it to happen, but I just didn’t think it would happen to me,” says Sloss, who has the whole package now (complete with the week-long buck’s week in Vegas) and you bet he’ll be talking about it in Can’t.

Fatherhood, his own hypocrisy, cancel culture (“if you’re a comedian who believes that you ‘cannot say anything anymore’ look in a mirror, self-reflect and realise that you were devoid of the talent necessary to do it”) there’s plenty of ground Sloss will be covering in his latest hour.

Fans needn’t worry that the pandemic-induced navel gazing has changed him too much, citing a bit from his last show where he had a four-minute routine that involved him “pretending to be Prince Andrew’s wife while I tried to jerk him off, and obviously he wasn’t erect because I wasn’t under the age of 18. By the way, there was no further depth to the bit” which is why he feels it would be “disingenuous” to say his comedy has matured in any way.

“Whenever I say like ‘oh my comedy has matured’ I’m like ‘has it motherfucker? Or do you just say equally horrific shit just in wordier ways?’”

He’s also a lifelong, professional comedian, and while he feels “blessed to have a job which I adore”, he feels it important that people remember that. “When I’m on stage and I have my opinions, I say them with such fucking conviction that it’s sometimes easy to forget that I’m just a fucking comedian. Please remember, I’m not a real person. Right? I’ve not lived a real life. I haven’t worked an honest day since I was 16 years old”.

Sloss is performing around Australia from March 31 – April 27. Buy tickets here.