The comedian Daniel Sloss is honestly kind of life changing. He was one of the first comedians I started to watch as I tried to cut back on media. He has a Netflix special called Daniel Sloss: Live Shows that contains two episodes: “Jigsaw” and “Dark.” The bit I want to focus on is “Jigsaw.” It gets you thinking about what your end goal is in life, and how we should treat ourselves in our relationships. This episode showcases his very dark humor. He covers a broad range of topics from tripping children to the meaning of life. His jokes are funny and current: “Facebook vegans are to veganism what ISIS are to Islam: a small but loud and persistent minority who missed the point of the original peaceful message and now for some reason are choosing to take it out on bacon.”
The main bit of this episode focuses on how we are trying to finish the jigsaw puzzle of our lives. He explains that the outside of this jigsaw is made up of family, friends, hobbies, jobs, etc. The middle is made up of our partner and ourselves. He goes on about how he has changed himself within relationships to fit someone else jigsaw to the point where he doesn’t recognize himself anymore.
You can see how this can be an art form because of the literary elements used within the text much like poetry or prose. It also evokes emotion from the audience or viewer much like a painting or photograph.
Towards the end of the comedy, he questions the idea that’s been instilled in us that we are broken and miserable if we are alone. We shouldn’t have to change pieces of ourselves to fit someone else’s jigsaw. We cannot expect someone else to love us if we cannot love ourselves.
I want to spend more of my time with art forms that get me to reflect and learn much like stand-up comedy. I’ve removed most of my personal life from social media because this episode inspired me to do so. I don’t want someone to view my social media and see this image of me that I truly am not. I am trying to use my social media in a way now that shows my work such as my writings and moments I want to remember. If you watch this episode, you will also experience this need to reexamine your life and what you do with it.
Sloss’ bit is so effective that he has a running tally of how many breakups, divorces, and broken engagements it has resulted in. He bases this tally on what people have told him after shows, mentions through Twitter and Facebook, Instagram direct messages, and emails. He keeps the total on his Twitter page, and the number is climbing as I’m writing this. He has messed up many individual’s way of thinking— but in a good way. He makes his viewers reflect on their past and present relationships and friendships. He presents a whole new way of approaching life and thinking about how we interact with others. It can be seen as psychologically damaging but not damaging in the negative sense. It’s damage to the ideals that society has drilled into our brains through films, television, and novels. It’s like the force that is needed to put a crack in that wall that society has built within ourselves. Then the more we reflect, the more we chip away at that wall.
His jokes are dark and considered offensive to many, but he performs his jokes not to offend certain groups of people, but to have a conversation about solemn topics such as death. He only jokes about his own experiences, and he outright says that he does not care if he offends people. He has stated in a past interview, “I will say horrific things about myself and the people I love, but if you get offended by that you are putting yourself in a story you were not invited to be in, I allowed you to listen to it.” He fully embraces his dark sense of humor.
In my opinion, stand-up comedy is a form of art. It has the same effects that art can have on individuals in a humorous way. These comedians stand in front of crowds and put on a performance in a creative and imaginative skillful way. If you cannot already tell, I highly recommend watching his special on Netflix or seeing him on tour. He encourages significant reflection on our lives, and on the ideals that have been set in place by society.