When I was told that Daniel Sloss will be performing again in India, like every other fan, I was looking forward. When I was jotting questions for this interview, I could only think about how it’s difficult for a fan to be objective. That it’s hard to see an artist first, and then their art. Before the show, however, when I was about to sit for the interview, I just wanted to know more about the gig. I also wanted to know what touring generally means for a comedian. Turns out, if we see artists as people, we can be more objective around them.

In this conversation with ScoopWhoop, Daniel Sloss opened up about “Can’t” and performing in India.

This is the comedian’s second time performing in India. And while it’s exciting for fans, an artist could easily feel different things. So we asked him about the emotions associated with performing for the Indian audience this time.

“You know, it feels amazing. The first time I wanted to do something that I wanted to do for a long time and finally got to do it. It was exciting, it was a relief, and this feels like a heightened version of that. Like it was the first step, now we get to take the second step. Sometimes you get to do something once, and you don’t get to do it again, and in some cases, the second step sets up the path. And India is very much a country that I would love to continue touring.”

He also shared details about his current tour. This included a glimpse into the theme of his set – and what it revolves around.

“It is mainly about fatherhood, because I became a dad. But it’s not a show about me – talking about how much I love my son all the time. It’s more about childbirth from a man’s perspective. And I know that sounds like the last thing that anyone in the world wants to hear, but it’s more in a thought provoking way.”

The comedian also talked about how performing at home is different from performing in an altogether different country like India. According to him, there’s a lot of thought that goes into it. But there are also a number of technicalities involved – which are easy to miss out on, as viewers.

“Whenever you go to someplace new, the first thing is working on how to change the speed of your accent – based on the English in the country I’m in. When I get excited I talk faster, when I talk faster, I’ve to be cautious of that. Sometimes I go off the audience’s response – like if an audience doesn’t laugh as hard at something – a joke that people normally laugh at. Sometimes I ask them about what the deal is with that – if it’s a cultural thing, or if it’s a delivery thing. I enjoy the challenge of it.”

He went on to share his observation about the Indian audiences and the stand-up scene specifically.

“India is one of those countries that actually has a real cancel culture. I want all these white American comedians who say they are being canceled, while still being on tour – I would love for them to know that India is that country where doing stand-up is more challenging. There are finer lines to tread, there are real world consequences in India, it’s a more noble art here.” 

There are always emotions associated with a change of setting, in general. For an artist, this can be particularly overwhelming. He talked about that feeling.

“It doesn’t get overwhelming on stage, but as a country, it can. You know I’ve traveled the world, the last ten years of my life, but India is very culturally different. In terms of how busy it is, in terms of the wealth gap, but also in terms of how vibrant it is. (I can’t believe how well fed the street dogs were *giggles*). It certainly is overwhelming, but not to the length that I don’t want to [be here]. So the first thing I told my wife was that you have to experience this – both aspects of it. I told her that you have to experience the amazing food, the temples, the colour, and the friendliness. But you also have to see that it’s a developing nation. It helps put things in perspective.

We asked him about his one like and dislike of performing for live audiences.

“I love the time I’m on stage, I love challenging an audience, making them laugh. I like making them think that I said something horrific, but also then saying something worse *laughs*. I don’t like the other 22 hours of the day – being in a taxi, getting to an airport, getting in another taxi and going to a hotel. The day is very monotonous. Which is fine, because if the day was as exciting as the night, I wouldn’t find joy in it. Get this: when I’m on stage, I’m not homesick, when I’m off stage, I am.”

He then mentioned the intent behind naming the show “Can’t”.

“The show is called “Can’t” because I was sort of annoyed with this concept that a lot of British and American comedians had that they can’t say anything anymore. And as someone who has said everything on-stage, I was like – well, you can, you just have to be good at it. Also, you cannot call the show ‘c*nt’. And if you go to Australia, when they say can’t, they say c*nt. So whenever I was promoting my show there, it was just me laughing. Because they were promoting my show, just saying ‘c*nt’ over and over again.”

The Indian stand-up scene has changed a lot over time, and it’s changing for better. He also shared his favourite Indian artists, and talked about the space, in general.

I love Urooj Ashfaq, I love Vir Das. I want to see more – there are some great comedians in India that I have not seen perform live. These are some people I have great conversations with, they are very funny people but I’ve just not seen them on-stage. So I can’t be sincere when I say that I love their comedy.

Of course we asked him for a movie recommendation – and we’d like to leave you with that.

I watch a lot of reality television. But there’s this film called ‘Society of the Snow’ that I’ve been asking people to watch. It’s an Argentinian film. The story is about the Argentinian rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes. It’s a very brutal movie, but it’s very beautifully shot. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I’ve watched it.