Gig Review: Daniel Sloss Goes ‘Dark’.
The Lowry, Manchester
Wed 7th Oct
I love comedy. I imagine most people enjoy laughing, but I mean to say that I truly respect the craft of making people laugh. The timing of it, the delivery of it. Playing god with the emotional responses of an entire room.
There’s painfully funny people who would die on stage, and there’s also sombre types who would bring the house down given a microphone and a crowd. Such is the mysterious character of this particular art.
I spoke to Daniel Sloss on my podcast back in March. I asked him whether he felt comedy was just for laughs, or whether it was best used for saying something. He indicated he considers either approach a valid one. I agree. But what tends to interest me most is the latter. Comedy wields an almost unrivalled power when aimed in the direction of bad ideas or taboos. Deconstructing a bad idea with humour is akin to pulling down the trousers of the school bully in front of the class; the bully will never quite command the same level of power again.
Without a doubt, Sloss is a comic who likes to say things. There’s substance to his shtick.
This latest tour is named ‘Dark’ – and for good reason too. Sure, there’s plenty of joyful silliness to be enjoyed in stories of ex-lovers and sexual misadventure, but this is also a comic who is aware of a world outside of his own.
As this Manchester show took place at the start of the tour, Sloss informed the audience that we may be subjected to ‘bits’ that may not make the cut further down the line. That’s standard of course, but there was nothing in this solid performance that indicated a ‘test run’ scenario. Here’s a man at 25 years of age who stands in front of a mic as though he’s a seasoned veteran. And the remarkable thing I suppose, is that he is – having started stand-up when he was just 19.
Sloss tackles the taboos around religion, disability, family, LGBT issues and the female anatomy. From hilariously schooling us on the nature of ‘offence’ with the aid of a 6 page email complaint from a confused religious zealot, to pointing out the disparity between NHS privileges for men and women – by way of a bleeding penis routine no less.
And even though he talks about big topics, he manages to do so without taking himself too seriously – poking fun at his own naivety along the way.
Speaking to Sloss, and seeing his stand-up, one thing becomes clear: family is incredibly important and a huge influence on him. There’s one particular moment in this show that is truly bold and personal, which in less capable hands could have completely lost the room. Needless to say this is a comic who isn’t afraid of taking risks. Nor does he make the mistake of treating his audience like idiots. The message seems to be: You can’t enjoy the light without experiencing the dark, but it’s essential that you laugh at both.
You can find information on upcoming gigs and tickets here. Highly recommended