The challenging and controversial stand-up star is back at Melbourne International Comedy Festival
You could be forgiven for thinking Daniel Sloss was racist, homophobic and sexist. Certainly the rising Scottish stand-up star gives off that “vibe” – rightly or wrongly, many of us associate cocky young straight white men with those traits – and he’s totally willing to tread the line of acceptability when it comes to jokes on touchy subjects. He’s previously made jokes about his disabled sister’s death, pedophilia and in this show makes plenty of jokes about women’s bodies.
But when you look at most of Sloss’s jokes, the target of his joke is the racism, homophobia or sexism, and he’s using these subjects to break tension and crack open a bigger conversation. (Although sometimes he might be trying to get a problematic joke off on a technicality – e.g. a person who might’ve been victimised by a joke doesn’t personally feel offended, so how could it be offensive?)
Since Sloss was in Melbourne last year, he’s premiered two stand-up specials on Netflix, and he’s now playing a significantly bigger venue. At first it seems that Sloss – a truly edgy stand-up star with his finger very much on the pulse – might have switched over to more mainstream material. Bits about gender politics and the perils of toxic masculinity (it turns out in some situations toxic masculinity means you need to pash a man to prove your heterosexuality) are very funny but not as incisive as he has been in the past. But it turns out Sloss is playing a longer game in this show. By the time he’s reached the end, you’re in no doubt that Sloss is at the top of his game, has still got all his edge, and has actually found an exciting and powerful new way to reach an even bigger audience.