Daniel Sloss made headlines last month as the only comedian willing to testify by name about Russell Brand’s sexual misconduct. He previously broke up 250,000 couples with his jokes about love, or so he likes to claim. This week, the Scot who never remains silent is in Belgium three times: ‘Becoming a father has made me a better person, but a worse comedian.’
Russell Brand: In Plain Sight, the documentary in which several women accuse the British comedian of sexual misconduct, also caused a stir in Flanders last month, but all articles about the case ignored one striking moment. After an hour a pancarte says that the journalists involved from The Sunday Times and Channel 4 asked several comedians for a response and only one of them wanted to sit in front of the camera: Daniel Sloss. The Scot tells what he has heard from many people in foyers and backstages all these years: that behind the scenes Russell Brand emerged as a sexual predator about whom comediennes warned each other in WhatsApp groups. Sloss’ story reveals an uncomfortable truth: if this is true, many more comedians knew about it.
He said the same in an interview with Cultuurplatform Paste when stand-up legend Louis CK revealed that he masturbated in front of women who didn’t want him to: “I heard the rumors when I was 21.There’s no way that a 21-year-old Scottish comedian knew and everything else didn’t.” In the wake of the Russell Brand documentary, a routine was dropped from Sloss’ performance X viral, in which he tells how a girlfriend of his was raped by his good friend and then addresses the men in the room: “There are monsters among us, and they look like us.”
Being straightforward, even and especially when it hurts: Daniel Sloss has been known for this by comedy fans all over the world since he broke through in 2018 with two Netflix specials. DARK is about the death of his sister, but his audience only discovers this after an hour full of jokes in varying degrees of darkness. In Jigsaw he explains in detail why he believes most love relationships are based on nothing. Most people, Sloss says, love the romanticized idea of true love more than they love their partner. Afterwards he calls on all spectators and viewers to let him know if they have broken up with their loved one because of him. The comedian boasts that he is responsible for 250,000 failed relationships and that he has signed divorce papers several times.
What not all his fans know is that 33-year-old Sloss has been a comedian for half his life. He learns the tricks of the trade from the not too subtle Frankie Boyle, who asks him to write jokes for the BBC programme Mock The Week. As a Scot, Sloss quickly feels at home at the Fringe, the leading humor festival in Edinburgh. Year after year he premieres new material there. DARK is his seventh show and SO?later renamed Jigsawhis eighth.
As ‘that guy from the breakups’, Sloss goes on a long world tour with his show X. Night after night, about 300 times in all, he has to tell the same harsh jokes and deliver the final monologue about the rape of his girlfriend. “X had to be delivered in the same way and with the same delicate formulations every day. Eventually I no longer felt like a comedian but a theater actor,” he said two years ago Knack Focus. In three weeks he played in London, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and Iceland, but hardly remembers anything about it: “Vaguely, because I could only deal with it by drinking heavily and smoking joints. ” Today he says he is no longer able to watch that show.
Between SO?/Jigsaw and X Sloss played another show: SOCIO, not available on a streaming service but on its own site. In it he wonders whether he is a psychopath, followed by the question of what it means to be more focused on logic than on feeling. That has now changed, because Sloss has become a father. “I have become a better person, but a worse comedian.”
The first reviews of CAN’T, the show that he plays three times in Belgium this week, reassures the diehard Sloss fan: if the comedian has already softened due to fatherhood, then not much. The title refers to cancel culture, or at least what many of his colleagues claim it is. Sloss makes fun of them, because he sees no censorship of comedians in the West. Even after jokes about pedophilia, his dead sister with a disability and rape, he has little trouble with it. According to him, the key to laughing about difficult topics is making good jokes and empathy. In his own words, he continues to approach jokes the way Steve ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ Irwin approached his favorite animals: freely discovering something that will really kill him.
There are still tickets available for the three shows in the Stadsschouwburg (Antwerp, 6/11), Capitole (Ghent, 7/11) and Royal Circus (Brussels, 8/11). Info on www.livecomedy.be.