“My break up tally: Break ups = 20000+; Cancelled engagements = 70; Divorces = 80.”
That’s comedian Daniel Sloss’ Twitter bio and not just an entirely unfeasible, unhumble brag on my part. As a result of his stand-up show, at the end of which he requested that any couples watching tweet him and let him know if they broke up after seeing the show, he’s up to over 20,000 breakups. It’s at that point that he just had to stop counting.
After this tour Sloss ended up with two one-hour Netflix specials, Daniel Sloss: Live Show and Jigsaw, which only started streaming in mid-September of 2018 and, you guessed it, compares life and relationships to jigsaws (translation: puzzles). It was this special that really brought this tally up significantly.
I stumbled across Daniel Sloss on YouTube last semester, probably some time close to a midterm or, more likely, given that I’m very much a humanities student, some time close to an essay due date. On this fated day, I happened to fall down a YouTube rabbit hole and ended up in a loop of comedian stand-up clips and late-night-show segments.
The first clip of his that I watched was titled “Daniel Sloss on the difference between violence in the UK & US” because obviously my YouTube watching is extensive but solely limited to things about both the U.K. and the U.S. — got to stay on brand.
I eventually graduated to his Netflix show and immediately told all my friends who I thought could handle his dark cynicism that they had to watch it because, as Sloss explained in one of the many interviews of his that I watched, it’s an ode to single people. He didn’t write his stand-up special with the intention of breaking up couples, and, as Sloss pointed out, if these 20,000+ couples were truly in love, they wouldn’t break up over a comedy show.
The show was merely a celebration for single people and a comment on the fact that you shouldn’t need another person in your life to feel complete. That’s the furthest I’ll go on the analogy so as not to ruin Sloss’ perfect timing and delivery, lingering for just long enough that the audience can predict what he might say, but hitting each delivery with so much punch that it still manages to take you off guard.
That being said, in a comment about the onslaught of messages he was getting, he did tweet that he was going to stop tallying "just cause it's a long job to count 'em," adding, "I've done my damage... tbh I'm happy to just watch the world fucking burn at this point."
It’s often hard to remember, in a world that puts so much pressure on the life plan of finding a partner, getting married and having kids, and in the age of Tinder and a world full of people right at your fingertips, that it’s ok, it’s even more than ok, to not be in a relationship. And no, that’s not just me trying to convince myself of the fact.
That being said, a few weeks ago in the wake of Valentine’s Day, a hoard of half-price CVS chocolates, the endless stream of couples’ Instagram photos and excessive amounts of PDA in Brody made this a somewhat difficult thing to remember.
And so I returned to Jigsaw for the nice reminder that my personal jigsaw doesn’t need another person — trust me I’m rolling my eyes right now as well, but to directly quote Sloss would ruin the fun in watching it.
Sloss is currently on tour and recently performed in D.C. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to see him — although who’s to say I didn’t spend that evening watching many, many stand-up clips on YouTube, one of which, I’m sure, included him — but luckily he’s coming to the U.K. this summer.
I unfortunately won’t be back in London by the time he comes to perform at the Palladium because I will still be here taking finals. But he is coming to Dublin, so I guess I’ll be driving to Ireland this May.