Everyone You Hate Is Going to Die
Scottish stand-up comedian Daniel Sloss is a centurion by his own admission – in other words, he has slept with at least 100 women. One triggered the dark outpouring Jigsaw, which became a Netflix sensation, notorious for causing more than 300 divorces, 350 cancelled engagements and 120,000 breakups – so far.
For anyone stuck in the wrong relationship, Sloss asks to a riot of nervous audience laughter: “Have you ever accidentally caught yourself thinking how much easier life would be if they (your partner) were to just die?”
Around three years on, the logical sequel is Sloss’s first book “Everyone You Hate is Going to Die” – a dive into every kind of relationship the 31-year-old Sloss has ever known – with himself, with his male identity, with his nationality, with Britain, Europe, America, with his best friends, his parents and his siblings, especially Josie, his dear sister who died and whose laugh, “the sound of unfiltered happiness,” triggered Sloss’s ambition to be better than anyone else at provoking laughter.
His most hated ex – the toxic relationship that led to Jigsaw – is in there, as well as the current love of his life he plans to marry next year in what some of his newly single fans might see as a betrayal.
Sloss argues he was never opposed to the right relationship. He just thought the odds of finding it were impossible. He doesn’t entirely rule out that he could be proved wrong about even this relationship and I don’t think he’s teasing. Indeed, the trademark of Sloss’s humour is that it isn’t just a joke to hide behind and feel thoughtlessly and effortlessly better; it’s revelatory and psychologically exploratory. Laughter, preferably delivered through a “gut punch”, is about recognition, truth and confrontation. It’s a reaction to the pain as well as the joy of being human.
A true millennial, born on 9/11 1990, Sloss combines what previous generations would consider narcissism with the accompanying confidence that allows him to explore what the stand-ups who went before him considered taboo. His only carapace is copious swearing, which in Scotland apparently is just part of the local accent. Besides, Sloss tells us any word is obscene if delivered with sufficient venom. “Snowflake,” for instance, he spits.
It’s hard to take offence when it’s easy to agree with much of what Sloss articulates so well. We’re also eager for more of the extended analogies that push comparisons to breaking point. Jigsaw and relationships was one. Adolescent sexual awakening and eating is another. It’s amusing on the page. It would take Sloss live to make it hilarious and, fluent a writer though he is, stand-up remains the medium at which he excels.
Sometimes, there’s too much information. We flinch in the knowledge his beloved grandmother and parents could be reading about the gargantuan quantities of alcohol and weed that fuel his comic habit. Sometimes, there’s too little. Sloss stops short of fully conveying how the toxic ex chipped away at the sense of self so vital to his wellbeing.
The pandemic is another threat as he ceased to be in constant motion, jetting his way to another adoring audience, and became just Daniel, reaching out for therapy and revealing to the love of his life all of his worst aspects.
For Sloss, the book is another form of therapy, as he grapples with the work in progress of who he is. For his core fans, it’s a sit-down fix to complement Sloss live.
For his elders, it’s an insight into what it’s like to be young now in a world where youth was never more superficially confident, never better informed and never more in need of tools, comic and sometimes serious, to confront its existential fears.
Barbara Lewis © 2021.