Scottish stand up Daniel Sloss is back after a massive 2016, selling out comedy shows across the country, appearing on Conan and smashing a run of his latest offering, So?, in New York.
On the back of last year’s show, Dark, in which he discussed his sister’s disability and death, So? raises the question of what is next. It raises a lot of questions, really. At 75 minutes (15 more than the standard festival hour), Sloss has given himself and his audience plenty of time to ask, ponder, and potentially answer some of those questions. The title of Sloss’ previous show last year is also a good indicator of his comedic sensibility; for a lot of people, his material is wickedly dark, and at times, relationship-endingly bleak (57 times, apparently). So? then, is a show that prompts a fair amount of introspection. It’s an emotionally raw yet slickly performed show.
So? also prompts a very large amount of laughter. Individual jokes mightn’t land for individual people, but more generally the audience is always on board. Sloss isn’t afraid to joke about anyone or anything, but he tightly skirts the offensive by never actually “punching down”; Sloss is solidly the centre of his own material. Topics range from little L liberals to Christian conservatives, vegans to families. Chances are every audience member will be a little shocked at one point in the show, and on the verge of tears of laughter at another. For Sloss, it’s all fair game, because it’s all human experience and human experience is funny.
Style-wise, Sloss performs traditional stand-up. His stage presence has physical elements, Sloss has a punchline punctuating lip pursed stare, his chin often disappears into his neck to highlight stupidity, and he’s not afraid to do the classic bend over and yell to emphasise a point, and he certainly has a lot of points. Structurally, the show does have a late starting narrative, but most of the show is carried by thematic resonances rather than directly interconnected stories.
Daniel Sloss is consistently wicked, consistently thought-provoking, and consistently funny. After almost a decade performing and a commitment to producing a new hour of material, Sloss’ material is irreverent, his wit is sharp and his show is unmissable.
So? is on at Taxi Riverside at 7 pm as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets are available online and at the comedy festival box office.