The first time Scottish comedian Daniel Sloss was dubbed a sociopath, he was the ripe age of nine years old. Wasn’t that a bit young to be introducing wee Daniel to words like that? Flash forward five Scottish years, (that’s seven Australian years if you take into consideration how slow the Scottish winter proceeds), and 14-year-old Daniel began his career writing jokes for the infamous Frankie Boyle show, Mock the Week.
Perhaps the people pointing the finger and denouncing Daniel as a sociopath had a vested interest in his career, because, as we speak, Daniel is storming his way into the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with his latest show, NOW. Heralding an exploration of the reasons behind the finger pointing, the show has already been received to great acclaim overseas – and now we get a chance to witness Daniel’s deep dive into his own consciousness.
“I thought I’d look into it and look at whether I am a sociopath and if not – why do people think I am a sociopath,” Daniel explained in his distinctive lilt when we caught up on the phone. “If I’m not a sociopath and you think I am one, it means I do something you don’t like, and you find it threatening or whatever.”
The claimants of Daniel sociopathy – a sociopathy which he humorously denies – began to form a loud line following the show he toured with last year. In what he describes as “glorious consequence”, Daniel’s tour succeeded in breaking up almost 500 couples, something he took great pleasure in doing. In around 20 minutes of material dedicated to relationships and love, Daniel deftly sliced down some of the reasons our society develop to justify romantic follies.
“About 20 percent of the time they get into a relationship because they’re in love. I believe the other 80 percent of the time is because they have been told to by society and television and whatnot,” he said with a touch of exasperation.
Daniel assured me he wasn’t dishing out bribes to audience members to coax them into breaking up, he just acted the way he always does when he’s under the stage lights.
“It’s something I dealt with for years because I have always preferred being single at this moment in my life. So, I just thought I would talk about that. And it turns out a lot of people agreed and dumped their partners,” he admitted with a laugh.
Despite having been born in England before moving to Scotland as a youngster, (something his ‘fully’ Scottish brothers teased him about), Daniel is steadfastly north of the border. And it’s clear from just a quick conversation, that sense of authenticity remains a deciding factor in the performance Daniel brings to the stage.
“I like to believe that if you were to come up to me at any point in my life and then go – ‘go on stage right now’, that I’d be able to do a set. Just because that’s my style.”As for any Scottish slang, that’s staying in the show – which doesn’t change no matter where it is being performed. “When I come to Australia and a comedian says ‘chockers’, I’m not like ‘Oh whattaya mean, why don’t you change that to a word I understand’. You’re a fucking grown adult, work out what I meant.”
I think I knew what he meant: “Don’t treat the audience like idiots?”
“Yeah, exactly. And If they are idiots, fuck ‘em.”
Don’t be idiots, Melbourne. Catch Daniel at MICF from the 29th of March to the 22nd of April. Tickets and more info available here.