There are plenty of things that couples can argue about. Disagreements with our nearest and dearest can spring up out of nothing sometimes. You might prefer to relax over the course of an evening playing a game or two at a online-casino while your partner wants to head out; you could support one team but your spouse favours a rival. Then again, perhaps you take different political views. All of these things can cause discord unless you talk matters through properly. But comedy? Can comedy really drive a wedge between partners? According to the Scottish comedian Daniel Sloss, it can. What’s more he claims to have split up over 7,000 couples who have watched his comedy performances together.
Let’s get something straight, Sloss’ comedy is not of the type where you either get it or you don’t. Couples are not splitting up following a performance because one partner is laughing hysterically while the other is left dry, failing to see what the fuss is about. It is Sloss’ subject matter that causes the problem. His forensic – some would say misanthropic – take on long-term relationships is obviously hitting home with some given the reaction he has received, in particular for two specials the comedian made for the online TV streaming service, Netflix. How has Sloss managed to hit such a raw nerve among otherwise supposedly happy couples?
Sloss’ Journey In Comedy
Although born in England in 1990, Sloss is very much a Scottish comedian having moved to Fife as a child. He was regarded as a huge talent in his teenage years. In fact, the comedian performed a solo show in the West End of London aged just 19, the youngest comic performer to have ever done so at such a tender age. His early break came when he was introduced to Frankie Boyle, a man with a darkly comic talent in his own right. Sloss began writing for Boyle and the experience helped him to hone his comedy style – one with a forensic eye and a refusal to accept things as they appear to be.
Sloss was soon performing his own gigs in small venues in Edinburgh. In 2008, he staged a shared show at the internationally renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival to much acclaim. By the time he was 17, Sloss was being booked for modest slots on TV comedy shows, many of them produced by the BBC. Soon, his fame was growing and he was performing in larger and larger venues as the main act. By 2012, Sloss had been booked for a 50-date tour in a show that he had written entirely. This show gave Sloss the chance to try out a longer format with his comedy, something that was suited to him. In 2015, the comedian returned to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a newly penned one-man show called, DARK. It was the beginning of a new era for Sloss who had now hit upon a formula that would really make his name.
The Netflix Specials
Following the success of his all-new 2015 live show, Sloss went on to receive TV offers that raised him above the level of some of the short slots that he had previously been booked for. He featured heavily in Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, for example. In 2018, Netflix commissioned DARK as a comedy special. The performance was recorded at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles in February of that year. A few months later, Sloss recorded his follow-up show called So? for Netflix. This was later rebranded as Jigsaw and was considered by many to be a sequel to the thoughts outlined in DARK rather than an entirely new show. When Netflix first made them available, reports started to surface of couples splitting up as a result of watching them together.
These claims have not stopped as more and more people watch the specials via the streaming service. Sloss now says that thousands of couples have gone their separate ways as a result of watching his shows. In fact, approaching 50 couples are said to have got divorced because of Sloss. How could this be?
Without wanting to reveal too much about the shows and potentially spoil them for people who have not seen them yet, Sloss gets to the heart of the matter about relationships. Although his comedy is undeniably funny, it gets audience members to question how they think about a range of issues, including their most personal and intimate thoughts and feelings. Sloss’ style has clearly got under the skin of some people who have really listened to what he has to say. Despite laughing, some have chosen to take on board the ‘lessons’ of the show and move on or, at least, turn over a new leaf.
So, if you are thinking about watching DARK or Jigsaw, then be warned. You may enjoy some top-quality stand-up comedy from a highly talented funny-man. On the other hand, if your relationship is not rock solid, then be prepared to have some of your preconceptions about it challenged!