More like 2 & 1/2 hours that resulted in me losing my voice
X — Daniel Sloss
Keep Calm It’s British Comedy— assorted artists, MC: Russell Wigginton
’Twas a rainy Tuesday afternoon.
In typical Melbourne fashion it had gone from sunny to frigid and the PTV trains had gone from working to wholly unusable. After a lovely 1 and a half hour delay (yay) we arrived in the city.
Ahh the lovely Melbourne CBD…full of unidentifiable smells and hollers trying to convert me to Christianity and save my immortal soul. After a quick pit stop for hot chips (a necessity) we entered the Elephant and Wheelbarrow pub on the corner of Bourke and Exhibition Streets. After milling around with the other patrons we were lead upstairs to our ‘venue’. Now as a veteran to Keep Calm it’s British Comedy (mostly due to the $10 ‘Tight-Arse Tuesday’ specials enticing me the year before so I consider myself an expert) I knew what to expect. The room was small, chairs packed in and the front row scarily close to the little raised stage. As predicted everyone steered clear of those front row spots, I mean who voluntarily puts themselves in the crossfire of tipsy comedians?
Especially British ones.
The room steadily increased in temperature, forcing my inner claustrophobe to fan her collar. This was soon forgotten as the heat became not the only source of discomfort. I made the mistake of laughing a little too hard at a Wolverine joke (don’t ask) and the 45+ year old comedian on stage turns to my 19-year-old figure, slumped in a chair at this point mind you, and winked saying I was “keen” and that I should call him. Safe to say if he had actually looked like Hugh Jackman I would have been a lot more excited.
The show itself was well structured; the MC Russell Wigginton (a converted Aussie, still retaining the lovely British accent) presented us with the enjoyment of whom I affectionately call ‘educated boy’, ‘wannabe Wolverine’, and ‘the hippy’. The show had the typical rising and falling laughter to be expected — the very international audience serving a plethora of material for the comedian’s interaction. Laughter was inflicted in buckets, mostly at the repeated expense of the one American in the audience who proceeded to get picked on all night — yay for comedy. The atmosphere was charged with the drinks obtained from the downstairs pub and within minutes a sense of ease was apparent.
If you are a person to take recommendations I would thoroughly propose you attend next year’s show; if the only thing that inspires you is the Tight-Arse Tuesday $10 tickets then so be it!
The night was intersected with noodles, as only the best nights are, before we shoved dessert in our mouths and hurried to the Forum, where our night of comedy continued with Daniel Sloss (another bargain find for a Tight-Arse Tuesday! Seriously, don’t underestimate the power of cheap tickets.)
Sloss is a deviously clever comedian who uses story to entrance his audience and finishes with a blow that connects all of his show together in one jaw dropping moment. I can attest to this. My jaw hit my neck and I’m 95% certain I swallowed a bug.
Sloss has a way of performing in every sense of the word — he uses silence and ‘drink breaks’ to foster tension and embodies the actions he portrays. He is a storyteller through and through as often the best comedians are. Not only does he compile a performance that makes you laugh in that ugly way you leave for when you’re at home alone (yes, snorting included), but he combines clever wit with stock stories, tricking you into believing that he is dumber than what he actually is.
His new show X follows the typical layout of his others — first leading the audience into a false sense of security with seemingly unrelated jokes that are both clever and relatable; from that little voice in the back of our minds judging everyone and everything to the comedic differences between how men and women are able to express themselves. What follows this is a ‘deep Ted-Talk’ of sorts where the show takes a more serious turn.
Now excuse a complete SPOILER of a masterfully constructed show — X goes where no one in the audience thought he would go…the discussion turns to rape.
I know, what an ugly, cringe inducing, face scrunching word. Not something to be taken lightly. Said to be the only inexcusable crime. Despite the taboo around this topic, Sloss instilled knowledge and understanding into his presentation, coming from a place of honesty, camaraderie and caring. He manoeuvred this issue into our consciousness by forcing people to listen, telling a no-nonsense tale of his friend and how someone he also considered a friend assaulted her.
I commend Sloss for mentioning such ‘taboo’ topics, for using his platform to spread awareness. For aiding in beginning conversations about something that is very hush-hush but still evokes statistics such as 1/4 women will be sexually assaulted in their lives. Scary right? Note also how I said assaulted…much ‘nicer’ than rape — pity rape can’t be made nicer with a thesaurus.
This dark material is typical of his comedy (indeed one of his Netflix specials is so aptly named) and it seems only fitting that this show should continue on this tradition.
I would also highly recommend searching his name on YouTube and enjoying some of his earlier sets; nothing but gay penguin jokes and light-hearted childhood stories about deceiving parents to be seen. Ahhh they grow up so fast.