As it’s St Andrew’s Day we thought we’d post this super-long chat with Scottish funny guy Daniel Sloss. He was really high when we spoke to him so he rambled on for fucking ages.
You’ve done a reasonable amount of panel shows. Is that a weird-ass environment?
What I do is write three jokes, make sure I get them all in, then just sort of smile a lot. That’s the key to most of my panel shows because I’m not brilliant at one-liners. I know, though, that if I smile I’ll get a lot of camera time, so if you ever watch me on a panel show just count how many times above everyone else the camera cuts to me, and it’s because I’m always fucking smiling. It’s because I genuinely enjoy the panel shows as well, because I fucking watched them when I was growing up. When I was on 8 Out Of 10 Cats, I was just fucking pissing myself laughing at all the jokes. Nobody else was laughing. The audience was, but only occasionally would Jimmy Carr or Sean Lock laugh. I was pissing myself the whole time. It’s amazing and it’s a dream come true. I love it.
Now that you’re a part of that world, do you still watch those shows or is it strange to you now because you know it too much?
I hadn’t really thought about it that way until you mentioned it, but recently I’ve not really watched them too much anymore. I don’t know whether that’s because I don’t have time, but I do think that’s part of it to a certain degree. I always think of what I would have said. The great thing about standup is when you’re watching someone doing it well they’re saying things you’d never fucking think of, whereas when you’re watching panel shows you’re like, ‘Oh, I would have said this and it would have been funny. Why don’t they book me?’
You’ve just been to L.A. What’s the story there then?
There’s an American comic called Jim Gaffigan who describes what I went through as ‘the petting zoo.’ I just signed with an American agent, so I went over there for a sort of meet and greet, where you get your name out there, say hello, meet a room full of beautiful, amazing, powerful American people who tell you how fantastic you are and then you leave and then they do that with three other people. They’re so fantastic at it that you’re like ‘I really am the next Brad Pitt, they’re right!’
You were just in Stockholm as well. Performing?
Stockholm, yeah, I just got back yesterday. I was doing some Swedish TV show. They’ve got standup over there, with Swedish acts as well as British acts because they’re fluent in both languages. Doing the show is really fucking weird because the host is doing his standup in Swedish and then brings on acts who are doing their acts in Swedish so it’s like, ‘Oh, floogy boogy doody doogy. Hahaha’ and you’ve no idea what they’re saying. All we did was laugh at words that were the same in both languages. It was like ‘floogy doogy doogy, Fleshlight’ or ‘floogy boogy George Michael’. Then they go ‘floogy googy Daniel Sloss’ then I go on in English and the audience takes literally no time to translate the joke. Straight in with English.
That just makes you feel shit for being British doesn’t it?
Oh yeah dude, I was on the plane yesterday, really hungover, and there was this little five-year-old Swedish kid who was really making us laugh. He was talking to us in Swedish and I said, ‘Man, I’ve got no idea what you’re saying, but I’m sure it’s interesting’ then he started speaking fluent English to me. I thought, ‘You are five years old and you know two fucking languages, you piece of shit.’ That’s the thing about travelling the world, I realised. I love Britain and I love being Scottish, I’m a very proud Scottish person, but you just realise how shit we really are compared to the rest of the world. How lazy, and ugly, and our weather’s shit. The only things we have is the fact that we’re a first world country and our sense of humour is one of the best.
Maybe we just assume that it’s the best because we can understand it and we don’t speak any other languages…
I think the difference between us and America, and most other countries is that we’re one of the oldest countries in the world. The reason America don’t get sarcasm or irony as much, or we claim that they don’t, is the same reason why there’s so much religion over there. The country’s only six hundred years old. We’re at least three thousand years old, from when we started becoming a proper, functioning together society. Yeah, there’s been black plagues and shit, I’m not saying we’ve always been great, but we’ve always had misery. That’s why Americans are in love with themselves so much as well. That’s why they’ve got that national pride, because they’ve got the confidence of a fucking four-year-old. Britain, we’re the bitter, jaded forty-year-old. We’ve seen it all, done it all, been through nine divorces, have 12 kids that we don’t fucking love. We don’t have that optimism and we’re fully aware that we’re gonna die soon but we still smoke anyway and we drink to suppress our horrible brutal memory of our history. We’re awful people, that’s why we drink. We used to go to countries and go ‘dibs, dibs, dibs, dibs, dibs, dibs, rape’ for like two thousand years. With America they’re still a bit shitty, but they’re young. They’re like ‘yeah we’re awesome, we’re gonna live forever! America! America!’ and we’re like ‘Yeah, you’ve got no idea what’s gonna happen.’ That’s why I kinda believe in the Buddhist reincarnation thing. We always come back, but we just come back as the same person with the exact same ideas but with just none of the memory of it. Thank God I was born in this generation. I’m really happy I exist in the year I exist. I mean, I have the iPhone, I’m playing Fifa 13 and things. No one close to me has died of a plague, that’s something only generations recently have had.
Millions of people have lived and died and never had broadband…
Yes! Some people have never had Domino’s Pizza. I try my hardest to really not complain about shit because I’m in a very small percentile of happy people that have ever existed. I live in a first world country, therefore my lifestyle is better than probably about 70% of the world by proxy.
That’s very positive.
That’s probably the weed. Hopefully it’s not given me schizophrenia yet.
Your mum is really funny on Twitter. We suppose she’s long beyond the stage where she’s gonna get shocked?
You’ve got to remember when I was 17 I couldn’t drive so she had to drive me to gigs. Once you’ve seen your son do ten minutes on wanking, most social boundaries between you are broken. I always try my material on her, so she knows I smoke a lot of weed and stuff. I’ll be like, ‘I wrote this joke whilst high, is it funny sober?’ She’ll say ‘No it’s not, stop smoking.’ If she complains I remind her there’s plenty of kids out there doing stuff and lying to their parents. I can justify what I do, when I smoke weed, it’s the only drug I do. I’ve been offered cocaine all the fucking time in comedy. I’ve been offered all the other drugs at music festivals but none of them have taken my fancy. Weed I can justify and I can justify it to my mum and she’s like ‘Yeah, you know what? Just don’t die or get weird in your head.’
Because you get high and write stuff, can you claim that as a business expense?
Weed? I fucking wish. I’ll just ask my dealer for a receipt. I use it when I write occasionally, I don’t use it all the time. The reason I like it is because when you’re high it makes you think so much more, the paranoia is a good thing because it really makes me criticize myself and really explore my opinions and realise how fucking wrong they are. Then, instead of changing them, I just write jokes about how wrong I am. You know Tom Stade? Canadian stoner comic. He lives like five doors down from me so we write a lot together. Every Monday and Tuesday we’ll hang out and write material completely sober, get our ideas out there and then we’ll do it at our local comedy club on Monday and Tuesday night and then on Thursday we’ll watch both recordings and get high and see where that takes us with the material. Sometimes it takes you in directions that your normal sober mind wouldn’t take you and sometimes those routes are fucking hilarious. I got an entire five minute routine once talking about how shit it must be to be a polar bear. It got me so angry because the answer to the question of what the best animal to be is is ‘human.’ No animal would answer anything other than human. It was really weird but it was fucking hilarious. The audience just lapped it up, and that’s the sort of joke I never would have written sober. You’ve got to get retarded to think that way.
Daniel’s DVD is out now. Go get it. Go go go!