Left – Daniel Sloss. Photo – Gavin Evans
I’ve never seen a comedian I’ve wanted to kiss and punch in equal measures.
The handsome young Scotsman revels in the nihilistic and politically incorrect – here's one who eats outrage for breakfast. Sucking back fiercely on his beer between raves, he proudly holds himself up as the provocateur who will relish dripping flesh in front of vegans or squirm with pleasure to see a joyous child drop an ice-cream he's taking to his sister with cancer.
He’s so smart he’s already one step ahead of this review – people who’ve spat in burgers at fast food joints apparently do a more important job than art critics, so this is all redundant (apart from the fact he employs a publicist to chase up his reviews).
Sloss was hailed as one of the highlights of last year’s Melbourne Comedy Festival, and it’s easy to see why. Provocative, punchy and smirking with black humour, Sloss rails against a slew of hefty topics: religion, disability, death, politics, and reserves a particularly fervent hatred for vegans.
He is astute in so many ways: his cynical self-awareness of his middle class white man status, his description of the dogged tunnel vision of the easily offended, and his bemusement at his fellow left-wingers for their apathy and in-fighting.
But his skepticism about relationships dominates, and it’s unnervingly insightful for one so young – the miserable statistics we've heard a million times on marriage, and people's tendency to compromise and chip away at their true selves rather than be alone. Eventually Sloss’ own recent train wreck relationship comes into light and it all starts to make sense.
In the end, it's not his theory on 80% of relationships failing that is hard to swallow, but the smugness and smarminess that goes along with it which is such a turn off. He gloats about precipitating the break up of many friends, and asks people to tweet him when their own relationships fail after seeing the show so he can add another notch to his belt.
And while his macho swagger might impress some, for others a comedian who needs to drop in a sly comment about the size of his penis is just adolescent and boring. Sure he can call someone a “pussy”, then explain the latin root of the word, but for those who didn't get the memo on the etymology it still sounds like misogynistic slang.
He is brilliant, but it would be good to see Sloss again in ten years when he's perhaps moved beyond his ego.
Century Entertainment with MZA
Venues: Taxi Riverside, Federation Square | Melb Town Hall, Cnr Swanston & Collins Sts, Melbourne VIC
Dates: Until 22 April 2017
Tickets: $22 – $32