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Claudine Quinn

and “likeable”. This is one reason he’s also planning on branching out, most evidently by calling his show Prick. Or, Pr!ck, after the sensitive souls at the Fringe Society censored it to avoid, y’know, mass hysteria. “It’s a strange decision,” Goldsmith frowns, “and I didn’t expect it because I don’t think it’s a swear word, really. But then again I didn’t want pictures of me underneath the word PRICK everywhere, so knew I had to do it.” Sure, he’s touched on sensitive subjects before; anxiety, neuroses and being the constant outsider (especially during rap gigs and transvestite clubs), but his CBBC-style grin, self deprecation and natural warmth makes for, in the words of The Guardian, The Independent and, indeed Fest: “Slick”, “slick” and “slick”, so why “Pr!ck”? “People say what a nice guy I am, but I’m not,” he says within minutes of taking his coat off. “I’m endlessly nice and charming, but it stems from an intense desire for everyone to love me. That is an inherently unlikeable quality.” He’s always been like this. At college he remembers flitting from table to table, flirting with the room and spending time with nobody. “I roam the streets looking for old ladies to help across roads – it’s just who I am. Christ, I’m the ultimate butler.” Pr!ck, however, is not about showing the world what an arsehole he is. Instead, he’s challenging himself to disregard the audience’s opinion of him as a person. Ever since he accidentally called a woman a whore during a show in Brighton last autumn and spent the next ten minutes apologising, it’s become obvious that when he lets loose, the result is, for him, exhilarating. “When I say mean things, I think it’s quite delicious, but I’ve covered that up for a long time.”  Prick is an attempt to knock his legs from under himself. “I want to say what I’m actually thinking without worrying about not being liked. It’s a game, and the name of the show is part of this game.” This desperation to be liked is something that’s heavily ingrained, especially considering he’s surrounded by others whose success hangs on an ability to make strangers adore them. “Comedians are the worst kind of people because our stock in trade is talking faster and louder than anyone else, acting charming and lovable while ignoring anyone but ourselves.” Instead of wallowing, though, he wants to test this theory out, using himself as litmus paper in a social experiment of likeability. “I get my emotional self, drop it on a normal experience, react with it, then try to tell everyone what that experiment was like. Some audiences would, of course, just prefer jokes but I’m finally getting to say the things that are on my mind.”  He’s not the only one liberated by feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Sloss is learning to take the painful, difficult

Left Daniel Sloss Right Stuart Goldsmith

experiences of 2012 and transform them into a more mature set. While last year’s The Joker was a high quality hour of standup, it worked within the constraints of someone with a blinkered view. By it’s London transfer, heated, spiked anecdotes about his then-recent breakup had crept into the set, making his tamer material seem, well, a bit tame in comparison. “Every opinion I had a year ago has changed because I’m living alone and discovering what a useless person I am,” he explains, “Growing up is petrifying. I’m living away from home, I’m freaked out, I’m single and I’m terrible with women. In the way that I’m about 90% certain I’m going to die alone.” That aside, he’s also fully aware of how this may sound akin to a kid throwing a fit in a candy store. “I know that complaining about being young is such a young person thing to do. BUT I DON’T WANNA BE THE YOUNG COMIC ANYMORE. When I’m 30 I’ll look back and be mortified. But for now? No...” Sloss pauses, uncharacteristic considering the breakneck speed at which he usually talks, “I do finally feel like myself on stage.”   So does Goldsmith. Pr!ck is, in his opinion, his best show yet because it’s honest.

However, like Sloss and the petulant child image, there’s also the potential for people getting the wrong idea of what he’s trying to achieve. “I really don’t want to come off like Gary Barlow in a leather jacket. In fact, put that in, because it’ll avoid confusion...” So how far is he going to go? How will he put his likeability factor to the ultimate test in front of an audience who already want to forcibly take him home to their mothers? “I’m going to be really honest and put a little shadow in the pastel shades,” he says, standing up to go, “oh, and maybe I’ll punch a woman.”  In very different ways it’s clear that, dodgy 14-year-old haircut and potentially violent misogyny aside, Daniel Sloss and Stuart Goldsmith are both growing up. Just don’t mention Macaulay Culkin, or the word “slick”.   f

Daniel Sloss: The Show Venue150 @ EICC

6:30pm – 7:30pm, 2–26 Aug, not 22, £8.50 – £15.50

Stuart Goldsmith: Pr!ck Pleasance Courtyard

7:30pm – 8:30pm, 1–26 Aug, not 15, £5 – £10

edinburgh festival preview guide 2012 fest 15

Fest Preview 2012  
Fest Preview 2012  

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