Shows are selling out every night so book soon.
September 2, 2014
Shows are selling out every night so book soon.
15 Jun 2011
In performance, he is a confident presence, owning the space and riffing cheekily about his tender years (“I can’t do stuff older comedians do, like bragging about having sex with women half their age”). But the contrast between his on- and offstage persona is stark. The young Scot, who still lives with his parents in Fife, reveals when we meet in a bar near the Old Vic that he is a bit intimidated by London. “I don’t think I could live here, it’s too big,” he says.
Big venues, on the other hand, he doesn’t mind.
“I’d rather appear in front of 7,000 people than seven,” he tells me. Which is just as well, since following his storming appearance on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow last September, his star is on the rise and audiences are growing. He has just signed up to be a face for Yahoo! Mail, too. Comedy seems to be seeping into our culture in a way it never has before.
“There’s so much comedy around,” Sloss agrees.
“Not just stand-up shows on television but in adverts, newspapers, everywhere. People see it as a genuine career.” This, he says, is why he never took up a place at Dundee University but decided to pursue a life on stage. Originally, he wanted to be an actor, but was inspired by two comedy mentors.
The first is his father, Martyn, a computer programmer, who gave his son his first taste of stand-up. “We lived in London until I was five and my dad used to go to the Screaming Blue Murder Club in Hampton Wick before I was born. He was always telling me that he used to see Jack Dee and Mark Lamarr when they were starting. When I was 12 I began watching his comedy videos of stand-ups like Phil Jupitus, Eddie Izzard and Steven Wright and loved them. Dad worked in Edinburgh then and used to take me with him during the Festival. He’d drop me off on the Royal Mile and I’d meet him after work. We’d go to a show and the people on the door didn’t want to let me in because of my age. Dad argued with them until they gave in.”
Sloss’s other great inspiration comes in the unlikely form of Frankie Boyle. “When I was 14 he did a corporate gig that my mum attended in Stoke.
Mums being mums, she went up to him and said, ‘My son is really funny’, even though I hadn’t done a gig. He was nice and gave her his email address. I started asking for advice, and he offered me work experience: I sent him jokes and he ended up using some on Mock the Week.” Cheap labour? “Not at all.
I can’t remember the jokes but I’ve got the cheque for £300 on my wall.”
Soon Sloss decided to try stand-up himself. He still rates Boyle, although even he thinks he can go too far: “Oh man, he does have a sick sense of humour. Some of the gags he would tell me offstage were even worse than the ones onstage. But, like all comedians, I think funny is funny. When someone makes a joke about rape, no one thinks they think rape is funny. No one sets out to offend for the sake of offending – except, well, maybe Frankie recently.”
Sloss remembers his live debut at 16 at Edinburgh’s Laughing Horse Club with embarrassment. “I was terrible. It was just five minutes of masturbation gags. I’ve learned to spread them out during my set.” His mum, Lesley, helped. “She told me off for waffling but the only reason I did that was I was so grateful anyone was there. I’m still bewildered that people pay money to watch me.” She also offered practical assistance. “I was too young to get into some clubs so mum bought me a fake ID. At no time did I ever use it to buy alcohol, of course …”
These days, Sloss’s material reflects his life.
Parents, shaving, girlfriends. He is set to move in with his girlfriend, Alison, who is training to be a doctor. “I’ve had to promise not to do any more jokes about her.” Which means retiring one of his best lines – “She’s funny, smart and way out of my league. Those aren’t her words, those are her dad’s.”
The next test is how his material will evolve. He would like to do more satire but the nearest he gets at the moment is making jokes about 9/11 – not the Twin Towers tragedy but the fact that he was born on September 11, 1990. He remembers his 11th birthday, mainly because he was camping on a school trip. “I did wonder why the teachers were all so quiet, though. My friends and I were too busy talking to listen to the radio.”
You can’t fail to warm to Sloss. After our interview I point him towards Waterloo station but he says he has to go to another meeting. “It’s in somewhere called, erm, Covent Garden.” He may not know his way around London but as far as stand-up is concerned he seems to know where he is going.
Daniel Sloss previews his new Edinburgh Festival show at the Soho Theatre (020 7478 0100, www.sohotheatre.com) on July 29-30.
THREE MORE HOT YOUNG JOKERS
The 24-year-old Glaswegian with the solid physique is so relaxed onstage, cheerily sending up the boozy image of his home town, you’d think he was a veteran. Which, in a way, he is – he started gigging at 17 and has heaps of experience. He is regularly described as the new Billy Connonlly, which could be a burden, but Bridges lives up to it, combining a gift for storytelling with knock-out punchlines. While other youngsters don their skinny jeans and go for the youth niche, Bridges has Peter Kay-sized mainstream appeal.
One-line wonders: “I saw a sign that said, ‘Have you seen this man?’ so I phoned up and said ‘No’ … I’m not a grass.”
See for yourself: He’s not touring now but his DVD, Kevin Bridges … The Story So Far (Universal), showcases his live prowess.
At only 22, Whitehall’s seamlessly slick style, somewhere between Russel Brand and Michael McIntyre, is rocketing him to the top. He attended The Harrodian School in Barnes alongside Twilight’s Robert Pattinson and his father, Michael, was a respected showbiz agent. Whitehall is set to star in a new C4 student flatshare sitcom, Fresh Meat, created by the team behind Peep Show, but is best experienced live, musing on everything from terrorism to facing his mother across the breakfast table after being accused of snorting cocaine by a tabloid.
One-line wonders: “I’m quite posh. I get a lot of stick for it. Sticks and stones may break my bones but, whatever, I’m with Bupa.”
See for yourself: November 11, Hammersmith Apollo, W6, 0844 844 0444, ticketmaster.co.uk
Robert “Bo” Burnham should be easy to hate. The 20-year-old from Massachusetts is good-looking, his comedy songs have had more than 80 million Youtube hits and he has already worked with hit movie director Judd Apatow. In fact, Burnham is easy to love because he is so funny. He made his name by putting clips on the internet to amuse his brother but he has proved himself to be a formidable live performer, playful, thoughtful and consistently witty. His inspired self-referential current show embraces Eminem-ish raps, Shakespeare spoofs and humorous haikus.
One-line wonders: “What do you call a kid with no arms and an eyepatch?
See for yourself: June 18, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, W12 (0844 844 0444, www.ticketmaster.co.uk
“He’s charming, self-deprecating and genuinely funny. If he continues to work with the passion, intelligence and energy that he’s started his career with, there’s absolutely no reason why he can’t become a huge star. So log the name: Daniel Sloss. If I were a betting man, I’d back him all the way.” TIME OUT, London “A high-energy dose of coming-of-age laughs.” Independent on Sunday “They transplanted the brain of a comedy veteran into the head of a teenager. And it worked. Brilliantly.” So TV
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