The Comeback Kid

25 April 2012 | 10:47 pm | Baz McAlister

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At the age of 19, two days into his first time in Sydney for the 2010 Comedy Festival, Daniel Sloss phoned his agent and said “Fuck it, I'm doing this every year.” It wasn't a request, it was a demand. And sure enough, the now 21 year old is back at the Factory Theatre and set to sell it out again with his show, The Joker.

“It's actually going to be a mix of last year's show, The Joker, and the one I'm writing at the moment – kind of like a best of, work in progress type of thing,” says Sloss, down the phone from Edinburgh, explaining that the title serves two purposes, referencing the song that was at number one in the charts when he was born, the Steve Miller Band's The Joker, and namechecking his favourite comic-book character.

“I love the Joker. One of the best Batman graphic novels you'll ever read is The Killing Joke by Alan Moore, and in that, the Joker was a stand-up comedian in his backstory. I think that says a lot about stand-up comedians; you've got to have something mentally wrong with you to do what we do, and Joker is the absolute extreme of that.”

In the past, Sloss got a lot of material out of living with his family in smalltown Fife on the Scottish east coast, but this year, he moved out of the family home to share a flat with one of his oldest and best friends in Edinburgh. “I'm in my first year of life as an adult,” he admits. “It's good to be in Edinburgh where you can go out and there are things to do! I'm a proud Fifer, don't get me wrong – but it's a fucking hole. I love it, but it's a hole. A lot of my comedy is now becoming less about family and more about being thrown into this new world. I finally understand why old people complain so much – I always thought my mum cleaned the house because she wanted it to be clean, but it was just because she was fucking bored! I don't have a real job – this is my job. I work in the evenings. So I'm home all day and once you've had four wanks, there's not much else you can do but clean the house. Of trash, I mean – not of wank.”

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Despite his callow years, Sloss has been doing comedy for more than four of them now, beginning gigging at the age of 17 with the full support of his family. “My dad's a huge comedy fan, always has been, and my mum's a very funny woman, so when I announced I wanted to do this, they said 'Yeah, go ahead dickhead, we don't care.' I couldn't drive so they drove me to gigs, went to the first fifty of my gigs for the first year and a half. They're my parents so they're allowed to call me a prick, tell me what was funny and what I needed to work on.”

And before that, at the age of 16, Sloss was lucky enough to be mentored – “a kind of work experience thing,” he calls it – by notorious (and genius) Glaswegian comic Frankie Boyle. “Frankie took me under his wing,” Sloss remembers. “During the Edinburgh Festival, the busiest time of his year, he took time out of his day for a couple of weeks to take a very cocky kid into his dressing room and give me advice. It was a massive confidence booster for me that one of my comedy heroes was willing to listen to me.”