Before 2020 I have to admit I had no idea who Daniel Sloss was. I grew up with the classics tho’ when it comes to comedy and Stand-up comedy. I did know about Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock,… they were the ones who set up a standard for me in this aria. A pretty high one I might add.

So this year, when everything went downhill and quarantine started, I really needed something to make me laugh and maybe help me process everything that was happening. Being a huge fan of Stand-up comedy I watched every show on Netflix I thought it would make me smile.

I remember it was after work and I felt that I needed a break and thought to myself „Ok, let’s do another deep dive and see if we can find something worth watching”. I am very particular when it comes to the shows I choose to see and this one by Daniel Sloss really caught my eye from the beginning.

Let me tell you why. The first special on Netflix it’s called „Dark” and that made me raise my eyebrow and say „Ok, how did I miss that?”. The name itself seemed like it was drawing me in like some sort of spell. I already know what you are going to ask „Why would a show called „Dark” make you laugh, tho’”. True fact: I am that kind of person who listens to sad songs and makes her happy. It brings a weird comfort that not many people can relate to.

After just a few minutes I knew this show was going to be good. It’s like congratulating yourself in a restaurant for making the right call when ordering a meal.

I know it’s very easy and common nowadays to get offended….pretty about about anything really. And especially comedians have to deal with this kind of thing because in order for a joke to be good and memorable they have to tackle a „not so talked about subject” or taboo. In the Netflix special „Dark” Daniel speaks about religion and he’s very upfront about his opinion. Not gonna tell you what that is, because that would be a spoiler (and we don’t do that here).

What I am gonna say is that he really made the Christian orthodox in me laugh because he is that good. Again coming back to the restaurant metaphor, it’s like saying „Hats off to the chef”. I can understand why to some religious people this kind of jokes may sound outrageous, but I gotta be honest, the jokes are too good to get mad at even if you try. You can only laugh because he brings out some very good points in a way a religious person would have never dared to think about them.

One thing that’s really important. Even tho’ the joke itself is well written, the way Daniel says it makes it 1000 times better and way more funny. Why so? If you pay attention, his facial reactions and expressions are just priceless and this one aspect… not many comedians have it. Not at this level. I will go as far as saying he can become a great actor just because his facial expressions are so unique.

It takes courage, a lot of it to talk about death in a Stand-up comedy where people come to laugh. And Daniel does it in a extraordinary way. It’s just a perfect mix of personal experience, teachable moments and comedy.

The second special it’s called „Jigsaw” and you won’t want to miss that one either. Daniel talks about relationships, vegans, drugs and alcohol. And so much more, which you will find all on your own after watching it.

These past few months Daniel Sloss has become quickly one of my favorite comedians of all time. I was lucky enough to get to send him a few questions about stand-up comedy, mental health, his new book and so on.

What’s left to say is: don’t be a brat. Read the entire interview because it’s freaking golden.

Do you think great art and great artists come necessarily from a place of emotional pain? And why do you think that?

They can, but they don’t have to. I just think pain and suffering is the only thing we all truly have in common. So when you create art that is about emotional pain or trauma a lot of people see themselves in it and they relate to it more. It’s more honest. I also think that’s why people think they’re „offended” by some jokes, because it hit something very close to home inside of them and they don’t have the emotional maturity to process it or deal with it so they start screaming, „You can’t say that! You shouldn’t do that!”.

What a person with great potential for stand-up comedy (or any form of art) needs to do so his/hers talent won’t go to waste? And did you ever know someone who had potential but never took advantage of it?

Just keep fucking do it. If you want to be a stand-up comedian just do stand-up comedy. That’s the secret. That’s the trick. Keep working as hard as you can as it’s the only way you’ll get better at it. I know many comedians who don’t work hard enough, myself included, who could achieve much more if they tried harder.

Comedy can often be disheartening, sometimes watching comedians who are less funny getting more work. But a lot of the time that’s because the unfunny comedian is putting in all those extra hours of work. One of the tricks is to not compare yourself to others, which is easier said than done, but I think it’s important. I wish I’d spent less of my career seeing stand-up as a competition with others and more just being happy for others and working on my own shit.

Is there someone you show your stand-up material first before sending it out into the World? Who do you trust that can tell you his/her honest opinion about the material you wrote?

Yeah. I run most of my material by my girlfriend just so I can say it out loud and see what her reaction is. My parents are also great because they’ve supported my career since the very beginning so they’ve heard every single joke I’ve ever written or thought of. I trust their opinions and reactions to the joke, but even if they hate the joke I’m still gonna do it on stage. Most the time when people don’t find a joke funny isn’t because the joke isn’t funny, it’s because it was told wrong. Or approached in the wrong way. I truly believe anything and everything in the world can be funny if tackled correctly.

What happens when you don’t have the inspiration to write material for stand-up comedy? What are the activities you do in order to get out of that blockage?

I just don’t fucking write. Feel free to ask my agent how impossible it is to make me write something I don’t want to write. If I’m not in the mood, I won’t do it. I’ve got to be the perfect mix of relaxed, creative, inspired, and motivated to actually sit down and write. It’s a very rare occurrence. But it works for me. Anytime I sit down and force myself to write I just end up producing shit, or at least that’s how I see it. Where as all the material that comes to me naturally, in conversation or in the shower, or both, is always the best.

What are the stereotypes you hear/heard about comedians that you want to demolish?

That we’re intelligent. I mean this in the nicest way possible but if you think any stand-up comedian is smart or clever it says more about your intelligence that it does about theirs. We’re performers. I know how to sound smart. I’ve seen smart people talk. I grew up with them. I know how to construct an argument so that it sounds reasonable and logical. But sounding smart doesn’t mean you are smart.

Do you find that it’s easy for someone to accept that they struggle with mental health especially in this in period of time? And why so?

I don’t think it’s easy to admit you struggle with mental health problems especially if you have never struggled with them. I haven’t, not until 2020 at least. My brain was always my best friend, but after this clusterfuck of a year I’ve had some dark moments. It’s very hard to admit you’re having a hard time, especially when everyone else is having a hard time.

It makes you feel pathetic or stupid for even comparing your struggles to theirs. Which isn’t true. All of our struggles are valid. But once you admit you’re having a bad time, whether to yourself or friends, it means you can start taking the steps required to help yourself out of the hole you’re in. It isn’t easy, but it’s possible and necessary.

What are in your opinion the healthy ways to get out of a depression and how can we train our brain to stop fabricating thoughts that are hurtful?

Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t stress about the future and stop thinking about the past. Live in this moment. Meditate. Go to therapy. Drink more water. Don’t belittle yourself. Go for a walk. Read a book (not an educational one, one you love. One you can lose yourself in). Check in on your friends and encourage them to be honest with their emotions, and in turn be honest with yours. Congratulate yourself for doing all of these things. Practice self love. Delete social media off of your phone.

What can you tell us about your new book? When will it be released? And in the meantime, can we hope for another Netflix special?

The book is a series of poorly researched rants that I drunkenly smashed, via a keyboard, into a computer about relationships and the nature of the world. It was due out in November, but then 2020 happened, and everything changed. It’s now going through a rewrite because a lot of my views and opinions have changed drastically in the past couple of months. As for the Netflix special, you’ll have to ask Netflix.

Do you remember how you spent your first big paycheck that came from stand-up?

Yes. I bought a full scale replica of a Velociraptor for seven hundred pounds. His name is Rowdy and I still have him. He used to be an indoor Raptor, but now we have in the garden to freak out the neighbors.

I know you are a big Comic book fan, so with that in mind, if you were to bring to life a new Super Hero, what would be his/hers name and what be their superpower?

I’ve actually done this already! Marvel had me in their studios and had me design a super hero and then they drew it up! It was one of the coolest experiences of my career.

Picture credit : Troy Edige.

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