Comedian Daniel Sloss Broke Up Thousands of Couples — And Now He's Breaking Into America

Daniel Sloss has ended at least 34,000 relationships and 93 marriages with his Netflix comedy special Jigsaw ⁠— and that's a conservative estimate.

"If I was being realistic, I'd say about 50,000 break ups," the 28-year-old Scottish comedian tells Newsweek. "I still get emails every day from the website, and that's usually where all the divorces come through in."

Hours before he delivers his latest hour and a half of candid observational comedy, his tenth stage show aptly titled X, Sloss explains to Newsweek that Jigsaw was never a breakup show: "It was a love letter to single people. I just said things that some people needed to hear, which is, you do not have to settle. There is nothing wrong with being single."

In the 2018 special, Sloss recounts an analogy his father once told him as a young child, comparing a complete life to a jigsaw puzzle with love being the center piece. The show then takes an unexpected turn. Sloss uses the seemingly wholesome memory to criticize society for promoting an unrealistic romance ideology, for making young kids believe that every Disney princess needs a prince charming, and vice versa.

With the help of social media, this often forces us to jam the wrong person into our jigsaw puzzle, people that don't actually fit into our lives, according to Sloss. Because we'd rather have somebody in our lives than go against the grain of society.

"Some people are more in love with the idea of love than the person they are with," he says. "My generation has romanticized the idea of romance, and it is cancerous."

Next, the comedian encourages his audience to reassess their relationships. Does your partner really fit into your puzzle? Do you fit into theirs? If not, admit the last years of your life have been a waste and simply move on, he suggests. And, many did.

Sloss uses comedy as a means to not only make his fans laugh but also to raise critical questions about the way we act. In his latest stage show, X, the comedian explores his own toxic masculinity and the impact it has on those close to him.

His material is invariably unfiltered, vulgar and brutally honest. "The great thing about stand up is that it's a one sided debate so I get to pitch my argument and then pretend I know what your argument is," he explains.

Sloss' unapologetic approach has helped him connect with audiences since age 17, when he first took the stage as a stand-up comedian. And with the help of Netflix in recent years, Sloss has become an international star, currently playing to sold-out shows in every corner of the globe. After selling out his 30-show February-March tour off-Broadway in New York City, Sloss will return to the SoHo Playhouse on June 18 for the start of his North American tour.

Comedian Daniel Sloss
Comedian Daniel Sloss will shoot "Daniel Sloss: NOW" as a special at The Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas on June 29, 2019. Troy Edige

Newsweek's interview with Sloss has been shortened for brevity.

How does X compare to your two stand up specials, Dark and Jigsaw, on Netflix?
It's probably darker. It's me exploring my own toxic masculinity and whether I give a s***, whether it's important and all these other things.

You started performing as a comedian over a decade ago. How did you get into stand-up as a teenager?
I've been a fan of stand-up since I was five or six years old. Making each other laugh is a very big thing in my family. I remember going to bed, hearing my mum and dad laughing downstairs and just wanting to be a part of whatever that laughter was. I'd pretend to be sick, go downstairs and they were always watching stand up. My dad would be watching Bill Hicks or something.

I didn't really understand what I was laughing at. I was just laughing at men and women swearing. It took awhile for the obsession to kick in.

Was it difficult being relatable to adults when you were 17?
One of the advantages of being a young stand up comedian was that nobody was expecting a 17-year-old to be funny, so their expectations were already so low of me. Material-wise, I was s***. I think one of my first jokes was about how big my mum's tits were 'cause I used to get bullied for it at school.

I remember the joke. I went to school after parent/teacher night and one of my teachers very unprofessionally said in front of the class: "Sloss' mum's tits are huge." It was something I was picked on. I did jokes about that. I did jokes about being a virgin. It must have been weird for my parents. It must, to this day, still be awkward 'cause I'm going on stage and I'm talking about drugs and rimming. But, they're proud of me.

Where do you draw your inspiration from for your jokes?
I get passionate about weird things and then serious things sometimes. Hate fuels me [laughs]. I like a good debate. The great thing about stand up is that it's a one sided debate so I get to pitch my argument and then pretend I know what your argument is.

You've been touring heavily worldwide since Jigsaw and Dark premiered. How much did Netflix boost your career?
A lot, although Netflix doesn't tell you how well your specials are doing. Only they know how many views it gets and where they're getting views. So, we have to guess. We'll put a show in a 500 seater room and it'll sell out but we don't know what that means. Does it mean there's another thousand people that want tickets or is it just that 500? What it means is we're just constantly adding tour dates, which is great fun.

Comedian Daniel Sloss Netflix
Sloss' new special "X" explores the comedian's complicated relationship with toxic masculinity. Troy Edige

Are there any topics that you won't joke about? Do you have any hard lines?

No. I think anything and everything can be joked about if done with the right approach, with the right level of respect. The only things I won't talk about is normally stuff I don't have experience in. It would be pointless for me to talk about trans issues because I know literally next to nothing. No matter what angle I come at it, my voice in that isn't important or necessary. It's not something I'm passionate about. I don't think I'm the right person to talk about that stuff.

The intent matters as well. What is the intent of your joke? What is it you want people to laugh at? What side are you trying to make them laugh at? Are you doing it by belittling someone?

How many relationships have Jigsaw ended?
It's a conservative estimate, but I'd say it's about 34,000 [couples]. I still get emails every day from the website, and that's usually where all the divorces come through in. We got our 93rd divorce yesterday and I've signed divorce papers, I've autographed them. I've had to stop checking because it's just thousands of Instagram DMs a day and there's not enough time to read them all. That's why I say it's a conservative figure. If I was being realistic, I'd say about 50,000 break-ups.

I always think that love should always be the most inconvenient thing in the world. I think falling in love should be a horrible feeling. What love is, is that moment you go, "Oh f***, I was having such a good time and then you turned up and now I'm happier." Even the best moments I have are made happier when you're there. That's what love is to me.

You've recently broken into America. What kind of jokes do you get the most pushback from stateside?
Religion. Religion winds a lot of them up in some ways. They don't like the word c**t. There are sensitive subject matters, but I just make sure whenever I talk about something dark, I make sure they know where I'm coming from. It's not malicious.

Who are some comedians that have inspired you over the years?
Ed Byrne was the one that really made me fall in love with stand up comedy. He's an Irish comedian. I think he's one of the best. For the first three years of my stand up, I was just doing an Ed Byrne impression. After that, Bill Burr was a big one and still is. I loved the fact that I didn't agree with everything he said and I still laughed. I thought that was such a powerful thing. He would be on stage talking about something that I fundamentally disagreed with but I was still laughing. That's a talent.

Tig Notaro, she did that thirty minutes at the Largo after she had just been diagnosed with cancer, dumped and her mum had died. She went on and bared her soul on stage. It was funny and it was raw and I didn't know you could do that. I didn't know you were allowed to do that. That has been a real inspiration for a lot of my stand up since then.

What can we expect from you in the future?
This will be the first year that I'm not writing a new show thanks to the success of Netflix. X is now touring until next year. It's cool but it's also frustrating because writing new shows is my creative outlet. It's a rock and a hard place. I get to tour America. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd crack America. I cannot wait to do that.

Daniel Sloss' North American tour starts June 18 at the SoHo Playhouse in New York City.

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