HE 23-year-old has just finished a stand-up stint on American talk show Conan – his second time in as many months – but the comic says he wants to earn laughs the hard way and will be returning to the capital fest in August.
IT’S the morning after the night before and a hungover Daniel Sloss sounds like a frog who smokes 60 a day.
But the 23-year-old deserves to cut loose. He has just finished a stand-up stint on late-night American talk show Conan – his second time in as many months.
As well as that, he’s been doing auditions during Los Angeles’ pilot season, which could see him land an acting role and doing more stand-ups, testing the water to see if America finds him funny. They do.
Tickets for his sixth Edinburgh Fringe show have also been announced. It is likely that, for the third year in a row, he will sell out the 10,000 tickets.
When we speak, he’s in LA, just managing a hangover after celebrating his second stint on Conan O’Brien’s show. It’s something of a first. Conan has been a mainstay of American talk shows, firstly from 1993 with Late Night and then, since 2010, with his own show, Conan. Having a comic back after only two months is a first for Conan in his 21-year talk show career.
As you read this, Daniel will be thousands of miles away again – this time working in Australia.
He said: “I never thought I’d get this far in my career, ever. Everything from here on is a bonus.
“It’s not about cracking America and being this new thing. I didn’t want a famous overnight career.
“I want to emulate the careers of Billy Connolly, Louis CK and Bill Burr, who grafted for years and years.
“The reason they have the respect of other comics and comedy fans is because they worked so hard and not because they had one great gig and became a sensation overnight.
“I really want to make sure I do it right, make sure I do the Fringe every year and get better and better, rather than sitting back and coasting.”
The last six-and-a-half years have seen Daniel hardly draw breath.
At 16, he performed his first five-minute stand-up at The Laughing Horse in Edinburgh and began writing material for Frankie Boyle’s slot on Mock the Week.
The next year, aged just 17, he did his first joint Edinburgh Festival Fringe show and by 2009, he had sold out his first full Fringe show, going to London and becoming the youngest comedian to take a show to the Soho Theatre.
In 2010, he starred in his own BBC Three sitcom The Adventures of Daniel and, at 21, recorded his own live DVD.
Such is his fame now that he’s been asked to do diving show Splash! and Let’s Dance for Comic Relief – both of which he’s turned down.
While doing so well so young has allowed Daniel to move away from his parents’ home in Fife to his own house in Edinburgh and to make comedy a career, it also tarnished him with a teenage comic tag he has had difficulty in shrugging off.
America has no such baggage.
He said: “It’s untouched snow for me. I can reinvent myself.
“I got TV when I was very young – 18 or 19 – and talked about my life then. But it was at 21 that I found my voice and became darker and ruder.
“The problem was that people who had seen me doing my young and friendly stuff thought that was still me.
“It’s not. I think I’m beginning to shed the young comedian impression that’s followed me in the UK.
“But in America I don’t have that. They have no back reference for me. I walk on stage and you can see the looks in their faces – is this kid going to be funny?
“Well, with six-and-a-half years under my belt, I think I’ll be fine.”
Since signing with the prestigious CCA in Los Angeles in 2012, Daniel has been doing gigs in LA, Denver and Indiana.
He said: “I want to do more here and see what happens. I love stand-up and do it all over Europe and in Australia but hadn’t done it in America.
“It’s where a lot of my favourite comedians are from. I went over to see if I was funny and, thankfully, I am.”
He was first asked to appear on Conan last December when the show’s talent executive, JP Buck, saw Daniel do his Edinburgh Fringe show. Two months later, he was asked back.
Daniel said: “The first one was nerve-wracking. It was the first time I’d been on American television but I’ve done enough gigs on telly in the UK that I can handle it.
“My only complaint was that it was only four-and-a-half minutes’ long. I’d love to have done an hour.
“When they asked me back, they asked if I had another five minutes.
“In America, comics build up from five minutes to a strong 10-20, so they didn’t think I’d be at that stage yet.
“When they asked if I had another five minutes, I said I’ve got five hours.”
As well as stand-up, he’s also trying to get acting work in Hollywood. His management see auditions as a way of getting Daniel’s face in the minds of casting directors for future shows.
A stumbling block is Daniel’s awful American accent.
He laughed: “When they asked if I could do an American accent, I told them I wasn’t going to insult them by even trying. I then suggested they could make the role Scottish.
“But I have to work on it. I don’t want to be that person with an atrocious accent, offending everyone.”
The star will be back in Scotland from July for Daniel Sloss – Really…?! at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. It’s likely to sell out and Daniel admitted he is one of the few comedians coming to Edinburgh who actually makes money.
He said: “I live in Edinburgh. All the other comedians are paying extortionate rents but my mortgage stays the same. And I’m Scottish and the Scottish audiences are immensely supportive of their own. I do sell out all my shows and I’m one of the few comics to make money at the Fringe.”
But don’t expect to see him driving around Edinburgh in a flash car. He still drives his mum’s yellow Ford Ka (he doesn’t want to buy his own).
He laughed: “I am accused of being thrifty by my friends. But I might not always be earning what I am now, so all my money goes into my house.”
Well, if he’s not living it up, surely he’s enjoying the comedy groupies?
Despite it being Valentine’s Day, Daniel is a man on only one mission – to have a long and strong career.
He said: “I don’t have a girlfriend. I travel lots. I don’t see the point in having a long distance relationship.”
As it’s been pointed out many times before, comedy is a serious business.
Written by Rick Fulton
First Published by the Daily Mail, Feb 14th 2014