Curiosity, Empathy and a Healthy Dose of Fear: A Daniel Sloss Live Review

by - April 23, 2024

When a friendship is based on humor, there is only one way to solidify its permanence: tour around the world together.

Daniel Sloss and Kai Humphries have been friends as long as they have been comedians. To those that have seen Sloss live, there is a good chance that Humphries was the opening act. Sloss’ latest show, Can’t, is no exception.

During their stop at Chicago’s Athenaeum Theatre, audiences got to see the ying and the yang that is Humphries and Sloss. Humphries shared anecdotes about his wife, Natalie, and their dog, Peggy. His tone was almost whimsical, as if hearing stories from a friend that hasn’t been seen in a while.

With his 12th solo show currently traveling through the United States, the topics Sloss has covered during his career range from cancer and assault to family and relationships. His use of dark comedy may spark controversy, but it honestly sparks conversation the most. The audience rides an emotional rollercoaster, altering between fits of laughter and shocked gasps. When all is said and done, it is the quiet discussions while leaving the theater and for days afterward that truly make an impression.

It is no surprise that an impression is left on audience members, as his comedy special Jigsaw is credited with causing more than 120,000 breakups and 300 divorces worldwide. Of the more than 50 countries he’s toured thus far, he has managed to not only entertain but provoke a storm of intellectual discussions on religion, misogyny, and in his latest show, cancel culture.

He channels the comedians that paved the way for him, at a time when any joke about any person was on the table. It seems that the days of roasting anyone or anything just for the sake of a laugh end up taken out of context and give fuel for the internet to demand a boycott. Freedom of speech, after all.

He admits that his stance on some of his jokes have changed and he attributes that to fatherhood. That did not stop him, however, from telling those jokes. “Everything is fair play in comedy,” he said.

Curiosity, empathy and a healthy dose of fear are what Sloss says a comedian needs. It is also what Steve Irwin had, so he considers himself the Steve Irwin of stand-up comedy. No word yet on what that makes Humphries.

What both performers have nailed is sincere storytelling. Sure, embellishments are expected when delivering a punchline. Impeccable timing and coherent messaging is their specialty, though, and together they bring forth a performance that perfectly showcases how interconnected their friendship is.

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