Comedian Daniel Sloss: Heckling is rude, it's pointless and it detracts from a show
With nearly 20 million views of his online stand-up clips, frequent slots on the Conan O'Brien show and two of his hour-long specials streaming on Netflix, Daniel Sloss is fast becoming a big deal. Scene caught up with the Scottish comedian ahead of his show at the Waterfront Hall next week
Tell us a bit about your new show, X. What's it about and how did you go about writing it?
No. Come and see it. You know those funny movies where all the funny bits are in the trailer? I can't run the risk of being the comedy equivalent of that. It's a funny show. It's my best show yet. But if you're easily offended then please go away forever.
Where are your favourite places to perform?
The European cities are all incredible. Vienna, Llubjana, Zagreb, Tallinn. And most of the UK dates are excellent. Some of them absolutely suck, but I can't specify which ones suck because I'm doing them again this year and they'll get upset that I think they suck as an audience.
DARK and Jigsaw (previously titled So?) are two of your previous shows that are now available to view of Netflix. How did it feel to secure that deal?
Getting the Netflix deal was a huge moment for me. It was literally five years in the making and I'd lost a lot of faith that it was going to happen. Then right when I'd fully given up on it, they gave me it. The moral of the story? Give up on your dreams sooner.
Can you tell us a bit about them both?
DARK is me explaining why my sense of humour is seen as dark. And Jigsaw is my love letter to single people that “accidentally” broke up 500-plus couples and led to two divorces.
You've said in the past that Jigsaw has singlehandedly broken up relationships – can you elaborate on this?
You will need to watch the show.
Is there a possibility of any more of your past shows being made into Netflix specials? Or what about writing an original for Netflix?
Oh God I hope so. I've got two more live shows ready.
You've said in the past that you don't like the British panel show format because it doesn't allow you to perform stand-up… now that you're in with the deal-makers at Netflix, have you thought about approaching producers or creators to come up with a more American-style, stand-up friendly format?
I'm not willing to push my relationship with Netflix yet. If they like these two and they go well, maybe I'll pitch stuff to them. It's a good idea though. If I have any ideas I'll pitch them to Netflix and not UK-based channels because I'd much rather deal with people who care about artists getting a chance and taking risks even when they don't always work out.
You've appeared eight times now on US talk show Conan. How do you find American audiences differ from UK ones?
It's a tense time in America and they're all very proud people despite having done very little to be proud of in recent years. They rock as a crowd though. Comedy started there and the audiences are real intelligent and fun. I love gigging there.
What advice would you give to young comedians?
Get out of my job. Kidding. Just get the f***on stage. There's no other way to get good. Stage time is the key. Get on stage and do it now. Work out how to be good later.
You've been performing at the Edinburgh Fringe for more than 10 years now. What are your favourite aspects about the Fringe?
All my friends from all over the world come over to my city and develop a pretty severe drinking problem and I like to show them how the professionals do it. Edinburgh is the most beautiful city in the world and it comes alive during August. It's my favourite time of year. The Edinburgh Fringe made me the comedian I am today.
Do you think your career would have skyrocketed as much as it has if it weren't for the exposure that the Fringe offers?
I highly doubt it. That's where the Conan people saw me, that's where Netflix saw me, that's where Live Nation saw me. That's where my agent saw me when I was 17.
You're well-known for not holding back with the topics of your comedy – eg death, abortion. Do you feel there are any topics that should be completely avoided in comedy?
Nothing is off limits in comedy. At all. Ever. If you think otherwise you don't belong in comedy. There are some subjects that I absolutely will not tackle, and that's because I don't have an experience in them and my voice isn't the right voice to talk or joke about it. But that doesn't mean other, better versed, comedians shouldn't be able to talk or joke about. I choose to avoid topics not because I'm scared of them, but because my opinion on them doesn't matter.
You decided against university in favour of pursuing a full-time stand up career, have you ever considered returning to study?
Hahahaha... no. No, no, no. No.
What's been your worst heckling experience?
Every heckling experience is the worst heckling experience. It's rude, it's pointless and it detracts from the show. It annoys other audience members and it ruins the flow. Even if I'm smiling while you heckle, and winning the exchange (which I will. Believe me), deep deep down I want awful things to happen to you and the people you love.
:: Daniel Sloss: X comes to the Waterfront Hall, Belfast, on Wednesday November 7. For tickets see waterfront.co.uk (contains adult themes, age restriction applies).