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Daniel Sloss: Teenage Kicks - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

There’s no writing about Daniel Sloss without mentioning his age. He’s just 18 years old, and for someone so young, he is indeed remarkably accomplished. Yet, two years into his comedy career, he’s just not ready for a full hour. Few comedians would be, of whatever vintage. You can praise him with the suffix ‘…for his age’, but in absolute terms, the material is all-too predictable.

He has reams of stuff about how backwards and, therefore, incestuous his home town of Fife is, and relentless masturbation material. While any interaction he has with an adult carries a gag about grooming. So far, so pedestrian – and these are all topics to which he repeatedly returns.

Elsewhere there are generic quips about sex education, hating James Blunt, airport security or irritating adverts (‘if you hit a child at 40…’) which don’t go anywhere beyond those initial thoughts. Isn’t Cillit Bang’s Barry Scott annoying? Yes, that’s because the advertising agency invented him to be that way.

He acknowledges the fact that his youth means he has little experience on which to draw, bemoaning in his best, but brief, segment that he just can’t do nostalgia comedy. ‘What the fuck are Opal Fruits?’ Instead, he is literally reduced to doing impressions of his teachers. How many comics have started there – but it’s rarely the basis for an Edinburgh show.

Maybe at twice his age, I’m not his target audience. Teenagers are obviously likely to relate more easily to him, and also be less aware of what topics have been done to death in comedy clubs.

He’s certainly a natural performer, fluid and confident – and no ‘for his age’ needed to qualify that – but he does get a bit stuck with some of the audience interaction. It’s very superficial stuff, just asking the crowd if anyone has experience of the next topic to make it seem like a conversation, not a monologue. But if he gets ‘no’ for an answer, he keeps asking it, getting stuck on nothing before the show can move on.

Sloss will undoubtedly develop as a comedian, he has plenty of the right elements in place already, but an hour is too much, too soon.

Review date: 30 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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