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Daniel Sloss talks stage fright, favorite comic book characters and his first HBO special, ‘X’

‘I have an insatiable nature for f*cking attention.’

Ever since he was 16 years old, Daniel Sloss has wanted nothing more than to make people laugh for a living. With the help of legendary comedian Frankie Boyle (Jellyfish), Daniel has been able to make a career out of comedy. With his first HBO comedy special titled Daniel Sloss: X, he covers a wild assortment of hilarious topics, including his love for kids and how a man can ruin another man’s day with emotions. He even manages to touch on sensitive subjects, using his own brand of humor to inform, educate, and make you chuckle in your seat at the same time.  

I had the pleasure of talking with Daniel about everything from his life, as well as whether he’s team Marvel or DC, and the meaning behind some of his tattoos. “I enjoy being on stage, he said. “It’s not something I get scared about or fear. I don’t have to psyche myself up, I enjoy it.”

Interviewing Daniel Sloss felt like being front row at one of his comedy specials and I felt his passion and joy for the craft first hand. He has such a way of taking everyday scenarios and really making you think twice about them. You can tell that comedy is his life and he definitely has a continuous, bright future ahead of him.

AIPT: It’s a pleasure to meet you. I watched your HBO special, Daniel Sloss: X, and thought it was hilarious. Anyway,  I’d like to start with a thought-provoking question, so if you could spend the day with any legendary comedian, whether it’s someone who’s deceased or living who you’ve never met, who would it be and why?

David Sloss: I would say, George Carlin, just to see if I was on the right track. As much as most of us think we’re on the right side of history, he was a mack. It would have been interesting to go and have dinner with him and say I agree with all your points. 

AIPT: During my research, I read that your first break into comedy came from comedian Frankie Boyle. How did that come about and do you remember anything specific about that moment?

DS: It was during a corporate gig at my mom’s company. She mentioned to him that I watched his stand up comedy and he was kind enough to give her his email address, I asked him a couple of questions and he let me come to a couple of his gigs. He showed me the ropes and got me into some local comedy shows. I pretty much started from there.

AIPT: How old were you when you first found your love for comedy?

DS: I was five or six when I first fell in love with comedy. My mom and dad always used to watch Stand Up Slam and go to comedy clubs in London when they were dating. When I was young I would hear them laughing downstairs after I’d gone to bed so I would pretend to be sick and go downstairs. I didn’t understand any of the jokes; it was just a man swearing. I just enjoyed a man or a woman saying “f*ck” or “sh*t” and I thought that is the best job in the world. You can just stand on stage and swear and people will clap — that is literally the greatest job possible! But I never thought I’d get to do it myself, I just loved watching people do it. Humor was always a self-defense mechanism growing up, a coping mechanism. Also, if you can make people laugh you can be a piece of s--t to them.

AIPT: Do you remember the exact moment when you said to yourself, “comedy is what I want to do for a living?

DS: No. I can’t remember the transition. At some point, you go from telling people you’re a comedian to being a comedian. I think it was Jerry Seinfield who said the second you say you are you aren’t. The first time it occurred to me that I wanted to do stand up was about 16 or 17 years old. But if you want to know the moment I actually became a stand-up comedian it was when I was 20 or 21 years old.

AIPT: Your first HBO special is out now. How did that come about?

DS: I was doing my run of X in January and February at the Soho Playhouse in New York, HBO came out to see the show and they loved it. They approached me and said they’d like to put it on HBO which was f*cking insanity to me. I couldn’t f*cking believe it when they offered. Obviously, I wanted to be a part of it. They knew what the show was and how it needed to go out, for me it was the logical place for it to go.

AIPT: For this HBO special I know you wrote all your own material. Do you typically write all your own material and where do you draw inspiration besides friends and family?

DS: Yes, I only ever write my own stuff. Just whatever makes me passionate. You’ve got to tell your jokes every day, so you have to be f*cking passionate and have belief in them. It’s easier to talk about something that you truly believe in or that you generally find funny. So for me, it tends to fall into those categories — either stuff that makes me laugh my ass off or stuff that just annoys me. 

AIPT: Who are some of your favorite comedians?

DS: Bo Burnham, Dave Chapelle, Ali Wong, Katherine Ryan.

AIPT: Do you ever get stage fright even this far into your career?

DS: I never have stage fright. If we’ve learned anything from the internet and memes and stuff is that the funniest people in the world are not comedians. The hardest I’ve ever laughed is from the stuff I’ve seen online from nameless people who’ve never taken f*cking credit for it. I have an insatiable nature for f*cking attention. I don’t get scared talking in front of crowds because my sense of self-importance is so high I can get past it.

AIPT: If you weren’t a comedian what would your day job be?

DS: There’s no other job for me. I’m not qualified and I’m used to working minimal hours for large sums of money. I can say what I want for no consequences.  If I can’t do comedy anymore, what can I do? The answer is nothing. So please don’t take this away from me.

AIPT: Is you routine on stage just a persona, or is any part of it you?

DS: I would say it depends on the show. A lot of the times I’m playing characters or parodies of myself. I am myself on stage sometimes and others I’m an exaggeration of myself or older versions of myself. I’d like to act like my arrogance on stage is just an act but deep down I think that’s not true. I mix it up I can’t give a serious answer if it’s me on stage. Because if you asked my friends they’d say that’s really him or him being a dick.

AIPT: Do you have any routines or rituals before going on stage?

DS: No, I’m a f-----g snob when it comes to that. Especially when it comes to comedy. Unless you’re a musician or an actor I don’t understand why you’d ever need to prepare to go on stage if you have to practice being yourself then and you’re not yourself. But then again I am blessed that I don’t get stage fright so it don’t have to get into it. I enjoy being on stage. It’s not something I get scared about or fear. I don’t have to psyche myself up, I enjoy it. I love my job and it’s the best f*cking job in the world.

AIPT: What do you do in your spare time besides comedy?

DS: I’m a big f*cking gamer. I love playing Xbox and PlayStation. That’s how I like to decompress when I’m back home. I also like cooking, I’m not the best at it but I enjoy it. Spending time with my friends and family are important to me because I see them so little when I’m traveling. I don’t visit them cause I travel enough, I make them come visit me.

AIPT: Any other guilty pleasures?

DS: Dungeons and Dragons, board games, podcasts, card games.

AIPT: I noticed some of your tattoos watching your HBO special, any significance?

DS: On my shoulder, I’ve got a tattoo of the Joker from Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke. I love the Joker. He’s one of my favorite f*cking characters. I got the tattoo when I was 19 years old; that always meant something to me. On my right shoulder, I got a tattoo of Nikola Tesla because I think he is the greatest man who ever existed. All you Americans are fans of Thomas Edison but the real hero is Nikola Tesla. I also have a tattoo of Calvin and Hobbes, one of the first comics I grew up reading. 

AIPT: Final question, as a fan of comics, would you say your team Marvel or DC?

DS: Comic book-wise I always team DC  just cause it was darker and grittier. I loved the Dark Knight franchise and Wonder Woman. For Marvel, I love everything from Ironman to Endgame. I was just so glad they gave me life experience for ten years of my life. Marvel one me over with that but I still prefer DC comics.

You can check out David Sloss: X now available on HBO. 

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