He Stopped Counting at 4500
April 4, 2019 6:41 PM   Subscribe

 
If it bothers you that you think that from time to time you probably shouldn't be in a relationship to begin with.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:48 PM on April 4, 2019 [24 favorites]


And if you enjoy those thoughts, talk to a therapist.
posted by zaixfeep at 6:50 PM on April 4, 2019 [12 favorites]


He tells the story of a guy who once tried to fight him, saying that Daniel was the reason his girlfriend had dumped him: "I was like, ‘No, no, no, your girlfriend dumped you because of you, I just gave her the encouragement that she needed to get away from your pathetic self.’

What a champion.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 6:56 PM on April 4, 2019 [11 favorites]


I think it's a disservice to the special to say that's the joke that breaks up relationships.

The titular "joke", the jigsaw analogy, is the heart of the show and it's basically Sloss learning he didn't need to be in a relationship to be whole and trying to pass that knowledge to the viewer. I'd say that's the relationship killer but, of course, it's a lot less quotable.
posted by Memo at 7:02 PM on April 4, 2019 [14 favorites]


KonMari for relationships, really. Is it sparking joy? Do you secretly wish it would spontaneously stop existing? Keep the former, get rid of the latter. Too many people are still in relationships because culturally it's heavily implied that initiating a breakup for something other than abuse or infidelity is shitty, which winds up giving the other partner tacit permission to be terrible or just apathetic. People sometimes feel like they need permission to do something about that. Please, take this as permission.
posted by Sequence at 7:07 PM on April 4, 2019 [53 favorites]


He has, I've just discovered, his own youtube channel, and I am delighted. I'd not heard of him before, he's hysterical, thanks.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:10 PM on April 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


I had a friend whose definitely-should-have-been-ex husband died before she was able to work up the resources to extract herself by other means, and it was still pretty awful for her.
posted by drlith at 7:13 PM on April 4, 2019 [13 favorites]


Hmm.

My SO is a pain in the ass now and then, but I am pretty sure that if he died I would be absolutely useless for quite some time, and sad for a good while longer. So we pass that fundamental test.

This makes me happy.
posted by egypturnash at 7:56 PM on April 4, 2019 [32 favorites]


I already know which furniture I'd throw out.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:59 PM on April 4, 2019 [39 favorites]


The idea isn't terrible but the interview makes the guy sound like a self obsessed edgelord.
posted by Ferreous at 8:00 PM on April 4, 2019 [35 favorites]


I have never ever felt that way about a significant other. But I know people who have. Good, kind, caring people. Who, for example, caught themselves fantasizing about their partner just... getting in a catastrophic car accident on the way home. They're divorced now.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:04 PM on April 4, 2019 [9 favorites]


I think about this, but in the opposite manner. Worrying that one day Ms. Windo will go somewhere, and not come back, and how sad that would make me...
posted by Windopaene at 8:17 PM on April 4, 2019 [20 favorites]


Yes, it starts as a joke, but next thing you know you're asking your daughter's sketchy boyfriend that you never really approved of to do you a "favor". Or maybe I just watch too much Investigation Discovery channel.
posted by TedW at 8:19 PM on April 4, 2019 [15 favorites]


I am fascinated by Sloss' viewpoint because he has demolished my idea of relationship commitment and made me wonder whether working on/fighting for a given relationship is ever worth the effort.

On the other hand, he's given me permission not to care why I'm being dumped and what I need to fix in myself.

I am vexed. If only I could consult Lothar of the Hill People...
posted by zaixfeep at 8:20 PM on April 4, 2019 [7 favorites]


I think about this, but in the opposite manner. Worrying that one day Ms. Windo will go somewhere, and not come back, and how sad that would make me...

I think finding a partner I love deeply made me develop an anxiety disorder. I have no concerns at all about my own health and safety, but my partner driving on the highway? Undergoing a routine medical procedures? Walking in the city? Going hiking? I am unreasonably anxious about these benign activities that have a very very small chance of being fatal. It's a good thing we have unlimited texts because I frequently need confirmation that they are still alive.

yes i should probably go to therapy, but texting is easier and less expensive
posted by brook horse at 8:32 PM on April 4, 2019 [60 favorites]


made me wonder whether working on/fighting for a given relationship is ever worth the effort

Funny, as I get older, I find that investing in relationships (not just romantic ones) is all I want to do.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 9:02 PM on April 4, 2019 [31 favorites]


this is goddamn great thank you so much for this
posted by capnsue at 9:19 PM on April 4, 2019


The movie Moonlight Mile is a variation on this theme.

I'm not sure I know what I think about the joke itself, but he certainly enjoys enjoying its success.
posted by Caxton1476 at 9:26 PM on April 4, 2019


I've definitely thought it and I just showed the video to my partner who laughed and said she had thought it too... but then we've been together 29 years... through the joy, disappointment, anger and are now in blissful indifference. So maybe "convenient death" is a good next step?
posted by greenhornet at 10:22 PM on April 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


* Humbert Humbert nods approvingly *
posted by klanawa at 11:44 PM on April 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Heh, just watched the link with Mr. Jadepearl: we eyed each other suspiciously.
posted by jadepearl at 11:56 PM on April 4, 2019 [6 favorites]


I listen to and watch a shit-ton of standup - for the past few years, probably 3-4 hours a day. If we add in potentially non-funny monologue delivery like the Moth, that probably jumps to 5-6 hours a day. I listen to so much standup, that literally - I listen to standup that I don't like just to hear different forms of delivery. Of the stuff that I would describe as groundbreaking - that whole set is easily one of my top fives for last year. And yeah, it isn't entirely funny - it is entirely awkward. I don't think I wold have wanted to be in the room on a date, or have seen him live on tour with a date. It is the sort of set that speaks to a truth which forces the audience to rethink themselves and their audience. This isn't the pinnacle of anti-comedy like Nanette achieved this past year, but yeah... Sloss's second set (Jigsaw was released as a part 2 set) runs a line where 20,000 breakups sounds like a low number.

And the thing is, if you watch it as one contiguous piece of work, 'jigsaw' sneaks up on you. If you can make it past all the other stuff beforehand (there's a solid chance that something he'll say will - at a minimum - raise an eyebrow) you reach jigsaw with a solid dose of ethos pathos and logos built up... and yeah... if that clip makes you uncomfortable - understand he's *reached* his audience before he delivers those lines. 'Dark' spends its time cracking a joke, breaking a joke, and dissecting our bias - so by the time you've made it to Jigsaw you've past landmines of free speech, religion, abortion, rebellion, pedophilia, vegans, and disability... and yeah... you'll be listening to *every word* he has to say.

And it is that last part, that makes what he says as effective as it is.
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:14 AM on April 5, 2019 [22 favorites]


I've had the thought that *my* death might be more convenient than at least a handful of things besides a relationship. I've had thoughts about just jumping from clifftop vistas or concert hall balconies, just to see what it was like. Thoughts about saying shocking things, thoughts about doing violent things. Thoughts about fantastic indulgences.

And, yes, thoughts that maybe it'd just be more convenient if an SO just died. Even for relationships I deeply valued, relationships where I bore a thoroughly wretched grieving process when they ended.

I'm all for paying attention to your thoughts and avoiding falling into the trap of staying someone who is fundamentally wrong for you, but... you can have all kinds of thoughts that are ill-advised. Especially if you have a mind that always wonders if there's a shortcut or a better way. You get to decide if those thoughts are really saying something useful to you.

At least, you get to decide that sort of thing unless you outsource considerations along those lines to a comedian who's more interested in laughs and fame than rendering a studied and qualified opinion about your life choices.
posted by wildblueyonder at 12:18 AM on April 5, 2019 [9 favorites]


Recently, I had a fairly unpleasant breakup with someone who: a) has a benign breast tumor b) was cheating on me and lying about it c) was impoverished to the point that removing the lump in the next few months is unrealistic without my help & had job options that primarily involve things that would exacerbate the lump d) cheating on me with someone who doesn't have the money to pay for its removal either. What would have been a simple "you did WHAT?! goodbye" breakup became - am I sentencing this person I love(d) but REALLY don't like anymore to death if I leave?

I wrestled with that for weeks, and my answer was that while I was pissed, heartbroken, and disappointed, I didn't want her to die. I was leaving, but I made sure she and her new partner understand that this needs to be taken care of NOW, and I offered the money to do it, and I went "over her head" and talked to her new partner about this too...she hadn't told him the severity of it, and he agreed to get his finances in order and take care of it, which finally allowed me to leave with a clean conscience. Was that maybe invasive and self-serving? Yes, but I needed it. I wanted to know she would survive far more than I wanted to be angry at her for hurting me for [unrelated breakup details that don't need to be aired here].

I've certainly had the thought "things would be simpler/different if [person] disappeared". I also know I will do everything I reasonably can to make sure people stay alive, even if someone is treating me like crap, because holy fuck I don't want to be the reason someone dies. I'm grateful that I got such a clear-cut opportunity to answer that question for myself, and I hope I never date someone who puts me in that position again. But, if they do, I'll be ready.

Funny, as I get older, I find that investing in relationships (not just romantic ones) is all I want to do.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 1:02 PM on April 5 [4 favorites +] [!]


Yes. I get the greatest satisfaction in life out of investing in relationships and (hopefully) improving others' lives because I'm there. As I get older and branch out into new hobbies, I'm finding that you simply can't do certain things (for example music) without healthy relationships that constantly challenge you. "KonMari" for relationships is one thing, eliminating the bad is one thing, but finding ways to say "yes" to the question "does this spark joy" is the greater part of the equation. All the space for joy in your life is worthless if you don't fill it.
posted by saysthis at 3:18 AM on April 5, 2019 [56 favorites]


So this is the comedian's version of Ask Mefi?
posted by clawsoon at 3:43 AM on April 5, 2019 [6 favorites]


See, I just jump straight to thinking of how convenient it would be if all of you died. Why think small?
posted by ckridge at 3:46 AM on April 5, 2019 [20 favorites]


brook horse: but my partner driving on the highway? ... I am unreasonably anxious about these benign activities that have a very very small chance of being fatal. It's a good thing we have unlimited texts

Y'know, you can raise your partner's fatality chances by constantly texting them while they're driving.

It's one of those things where your anxieties create the thing you're scared of.

Happy thoughts! :-)
posted by clawsoon at 3:51 AM on April 5, 2019 [8 favorites]


ckridge: "See, I just jump straight to thinking of how convenient it would be if all of you died. "

I'm not sure I could survive the dramatic fall-off in favorites.
posted by chavenet at 4:45 AM on April 5, 2019 [18 favorites]


But maybe the favorite economy would work better after the finger-snap
posted by each day we work at 4:57 AM on April 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


ckridge: "See, I just jump straight to thinking of how convenient it would be if all of you died. Why think small?"

We can get them for you wholesale
posted by capricorn at 5:11 AM on April 5, 2019 [9 favorites]


"If you are wise, however, this is precisely what you will avoid doing because the average Vogon will not think twice before doing something so pointlessly hideous to you that you will wish you had never been born—or (if you are a clearer minded thinker) that the Vogon had never been born."
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:35 AM on April 5, 2019 [7 favorites]


But Daniel does maintain that he’s not against love, he’s just not down for the “fake” versions of it: “You know those people that are so insecure in their relationships that they’ve gotta post on Instagram like, ‘Me and this one going for coffee’. It’s like, I know you’re not in love. I know because you’re so scared you’re boasting about it. If you’re truly happy about something you tend not to boast about it because it fulfills you. If you’re boasting about your relationship it’s because deep down you are not happy and you are rubbing your false happiness in other people’s faces to make them sad, and I will kill you. I will destroy you.”

So once you read a lot of in-depth articles (or watch enough documentaries or talk to enough defense attorneys), you find that even in cases with now-discredited science (Like Todd Willingham), there's always some cop banging his fists on the table, insisting that innocent people don't act that way.

No matter how keenly you observe the human condition, your pronouncements--once they become prescriptive--are just wrong. Once you make it about how you will show how right you are, that no-one does that, you just sound angry that someone isn't you.
posted by crush at 6:41 AM on April 5, 2019 [32 favorites]


Crush, are you calling out Sloss, a Scot, for using a 'No True Scotsman' argument? That's Oscar Wilde-level discourse, man.
posted by zaixfeep at 6:55 AM on April 5, 2019 [14 favorites]


But Daniel does maintain that he’s not against love, he’s just not down for the “fake” versions of it: “You know those people that are so insecure in their relationships that they’ve gotta post on Instagram like, ‘Me and this one going for coffee’. It’s like, I know you’re not in love. I know because you’re so scared you’re boasting about it. If you’re truly happy about something you tend not to boast about it because it fulfills you. If you’re boasting about your relationship it’s because deep down you are not happy and you are rubbing your false happiness in other people’s faces to make them sad, and I will kill you. I will destroy you.”

Yeah, this is what someone who is not happy thinks about people who are happy. That is exactly the opposite of the truth. When you are truly happy you absolutely tell anyone who will listen because it fills you and it overflows you. I post about my wife on social media so that my friends who aren't wizened stumps of humans can share in my joy, and I hope they do the same for me.

If the sight of other people being happy makes you unhappy, it's not because they're trying to "rub false happiness in your face to make you sad," it's because YOU'RE UNHAPPY.
posted by skullhead at 6:59 AM on April 5, 2019 [26 favorites]


And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which YOU'RE dying are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you 'cause I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it's a very, very
Mad world
Mad world
Mad world
Mad world

posted by srboisvert at 7:06 AM on April 5, 2019 [10 favorites]


Standing amongst the relationship carnage that he helped create, Daniel does start to wonder what his next show will inspire. “I’m genuinely tempted to see if I can make people kill people,” he says. “That’d be cool. I’ve not picked what sect of society I’d like dead yet, but now that I know I have the power…”

You know, a few years ago I would have been all "that's pretty funny, he's just riffing on the ridiculous idea that a white straight guy could inspire murder through dark humor! Just imagine seriously trying to make people kill others!" And now I think, "great, he's probably secretly alt-right or fake-alt-right and he'll start actually getting people killed and think it's fun, probably women and minorities". I've started taking edgy straight men at their word when they joke about this stuff now - if they say they're thinking about trying to incite murder, I assume they are.
posted by Frowner at 7:10 AM on April 5, 2019 [54 favorites]


When you are truly happy you absolutely tell anyone who will listen because it fills you and it overflows you.

You're mixing your second-persons and your first persons there. I get that this may be your version of happiness, but everyone who's ever known me through my two marriages is very aware that the less I'm talking about my relationship, the better it's going, for me. My (current) spouse is more like you, and we each understand that about the other person, and that's fine.
posted by Etrigan at 7:13 AM on April 5, 2019 [12 favorites]


We just need some George Jones to cheer us up.
posted by clawsoon at 7:14 AM on April 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


I listen to and watch a shit-ton of standup - for the past few years, probably 3-4 hours a day

MonkeyPuppet.gif
posted by Damienmce at 7:14 AM on April 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


George Jones? I think the sardonic Sloss is more in line wth fellow Scot Shirley Manson.
posted by zaixfeep at 7:25 AM on April 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this is what someone who is not happy thinks about people who are happy.

One of the hardest parts of the human condition is how telepathic we all are!

The interview link definitely isn't great--mostly it seems like it's not an interview, but an out-of-delivery-context bit of his set. (Whether that's the interviewer or interviewee's fault, who knows!) The full set on Netflix ("Dark" and "Jigsaw") is pretty great in my books, but doesn't really come across in short snippets.
posted by Drastic at 7:49 AM on April 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


This doesn't work if you have kids. Your partner, if you start to be unhappy with them, is still a necessity for your kid, so you come to think of them like taxes, or getting your teeth cleaned, or a mammogram: not really pleasant, would prefer to never have to deal with them again, but necessary.

(unless you have a nightmare abusive kind of partner but we seem to be firmly in the realm of "banal relationship unhappiness" here).
posted by emjaybee at 7:56 AM on April 5, 2019 [5 favorites]


emjaybee, I think I found myself veering headlong into that territory and made a hard course correction. I don't want to be my partner's unpleasant necessity.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 8:27 AM on April 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


Y'know, you can raise your partner's fatality chances by constantly texting them while they're driving.

I don’t do that, I extract a promise that they’ll text me when they get home/where they’re going prior to every car trip. Don’t worry, I am so worried about texting while driving that if I don’t catch their “all right I’m heading over now” text immediately, I refuse to reply to the text on the off chance they’re on the road already and the notification distracts them while driving. I’ve got all the anxiety angles covered.
posted by brook horse at 8:53 AM on April 5, 2019 [13 favorites]


I don't want to be my partner's unpleasant necessity.

Reminds me of this advice from Sir Edward Boyle: "We should look at ourselves in the mirror every morning and recite: 'I know I'm an evil, but am I a necessary evil?'".
posted by Paul Slade at 9:03 AM on April 5, 2019 [17 favorites]


brook horse: Isn't that the whole "giving hostages to fortune" thing that I thought was Shakespeare but seems to be Francis Bacon. Once you care...
posted by aleph at 9:32 AM on April 5, 2019


How is this a joke, exactly? I mean literally, what is the punchline and how is it funny?

I mean... it's a thought... that lots of people have... there is nothing particularly novel or new here and there is no real twist to create humour.

It's not a garden path joke, it's not a real setup, there's no irony or wit.

Seriously, what is the joke?
posted by Cosine at 10:06 AM on April 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


Seriously, what is the joke?

The "joke" is simply in saying it out loud, but the "funny" is in the delivery, surely abetted by the show up to that point as suggested above.

A friend of mine once said to a would-be groom who's impending marriage he wasn't all that certain of, "well, I guess you can always get a divorce if things don't work out." he didn't mean it in a bad way, and its certainly true and something everyone is aware of, but its something that just isn't said for reasons of etiquette, hinting that there needn't be any commitment if you don't want it even at the very moment you are sorta committing to a lifelong relationship. (Sorta meaning the unavoidable awareness of the out makes marriage known to be more tenuous than we pretend.)

The joke is like that, which is mundane and not really very deep, but for some reason it evidently triggers awareness of the connection between people's lived status, and the emotional point they are at in a relationship and that they can and maybe should leave it. Fascinating in its way for how well it works, even as it isn't really saying anything people don't already know, it just takes it to an extreme to makes its point, imagining death rather than risk emotional pain. But like so many comedians, Sloss sounds way too impressed with himself for the alleged profundity of the thought, but I haven't seen the show or anything else with him, so I can't say for sure that's what he is like, even if that is how so many comedians seem to be.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:28 AM on April 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


A lotta times humour just involves going up to the edge of a social cliff and dancing along it. If your social cliffs are located in a different place from the comedians, you won't find it funny - it'll either be boring or beyond the pale.

The Office seems like a good example of this - no jokes, just constant dancing along the edge of social cliffs. I can't stand to watch much of the show myself, but lots of people find it completely hilarious.
posted by clawsoon at 10:42 AM on April 5, 2019 [6 favorites]


I mean, it does touch on something relevant - there's a cohort of people who are not emotionally honest enough with themselves, about relationships and many other things. It's something I find really hard to relate to, but apparently is very common.

Really there's no way to critique that practice, that doesn't make you sound like an Edgy McEdgerson. That and the fact that people don't generally take well to being told that they seem to be sleepwalking through life and/or treating it like a box-ticking exercise.
posted by gohabsgo at 11:42 AM on April 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


I mean, it does touch on something relevant - there's a cohort of people who are not emotionally honest enough with themselves, about relationships and many other things

See, that does seem to me to be what people are taking from it, but that's not necessarily the only way to view it. If you go into a relationship saying I can get out of it anytime, then there's part of you that isn't entirely committed to the relationship as your keeping one eye on the door, so to speak. That might be fine, and there are obviously relationships no one should have to stay in, but the framing around the thought controls the response. That's the case in the joke as well, by linking "wished" death to not wanting emotional pain it makes the latter seem ridiculous as if the imagined death is of equal relevance as the imagined emotional pain, which makes the latter seem of so much less importance. It makes trying to maintain a relationship in moments of dissatisfaction appear foolish and dishonest.

It may be that there is no good reason to continue a relationship and ending it is the right thing, but there can be dissatisfaction in many relationships which can be worked through if the desire is there. The joke short circuits that by making leaving seem more responsible than staying by contrasting death to pain. It feeds into the notion of relationships needing to be either perfect or temporary, ready to be dropped at any dissatisfaction, like one might a TV series you were bored with. That's fine and may indeed be the right call for some, but it isn't the only call and thinking in those terms has consequences for relationships more generally and perhaps not all for the good.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:12 PM on April 5, 2019 [8 favorites]


Seriously, what is the joke?

We tend to find humor in shared discomfort. Brains are weird.
posted by rocket88 at 12:23 PM on April 5, 2019


I was going to write something trying to be witty but then realized when my ex died it actually hurt a whole fucking lot, to the point I had to take some incompletes a semester in grad school. The joke is sort of only funny because it's so edgy, really--like, I did laugh, and the delivery is skillful, and then I remembered my own experience and was like NO
posted by angrycat at 12:38 PM on April 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


Well stated, gusottertrout.

I noted Sloss' Jigsaw discussion of the staggeringly low odds of relationship success back in December. He felt that if we had the same odds of surviving a medical procedure, we'd never let a surgeon touch us again. He sounds to me like he's given up on them. I have been where he's coming from. It's clean, well-lit and without joy or purpose.

My takeaway is that relationships are worthwhile but unavoidably fragile. We should therefore commit to and invest in them if we choose, but not allow the inevitable loss/waste of that investment to destroy or define us. Hope for the best, expect the worst, as Mel Brooks said.
posted by zaixfeep at 12:40 PM on April 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


Rocket88: If brains are weird and cats are weird, then are all brains cats? :-)
posted by zaixfeep at 12:49 PM on April 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


eliminating the bad is one thing, but finding ways to say "yes" to the question "does this spark joy" is the greater part of the equation. All the space for joy in your life is worthless if you don't fill it.

This is The Drop. Flagged as fantastic.
posted by wildblueyonder at 12:56 PM on April 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


Not that edgy : I've thought that way literally for years, and I must say with my parents to begin with... "tout le monde n'a pas la chance d'être orphelin...".
posted by nicolin at 1:01 PM on April 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


Sloss seems more of a storyteller dissecting the art of the joke than a joke-teller, if that makes any sense. It really helps to watch his full routine (ideally starting with "Dark" because that gives you a good idea of how his brain works, plus the story about his sister was, indeed, brilliantly told). He's brash and maybe not for everyone, and he knows he's brash and maybe not for everyone, but it's the kind of stand-up that's stuck with me longer than other random comedians.

I like his concept of the jigsaw puzzle much more than the linked snippet of his routine (which perhaps makes a little more sense in context since he builds it up with an explanation of how he was in a pretty toxic relationship). The idea is that if you're trying to destroy your own jigsaw puzzle to fit into someone else's and it makes you miserable, then maybe you should stop doing that.

Instead of trying to change yourself in order to make someone else happy just so they stay in your life because you think that will magically complete your jigsaw puzzle, his suggestion is that your jigsaw puzzle is complete is when you fill it with what makes you happy -- maybe that's a person, or maybe that's your career, or a hobby, or whatever. Sure, it teeters on the "you can't find love until you love yourself" but the emphasis is more on the "love yourself," and maybe you'll find love, or a few loves, or just a lot of friendships, or maybe none of the above -- the important thing is that you love yourself.

It's not a perfect metaphor -- then again, it wasn't a perfect metaphor when his father told it to him, either. But it's still thought-provoking in a TED-talk way (and people blaming him for making them think critically about their own relationships is mayyyybe giving a random comedian too much credit, but I guess you gotta do what you gotta do).
posted by paisley sheep at 1:30 PM on April 5, 2019


The joke that has ended thousands of relationships

Seriously, what is the joke?

You are right, it is not a joke, just a rhetorical question.
The laugh here is from a mixture of shock and recognition, but it wouldn't work out of context. Once the comedian is into the act and the audience is used to laughing it just takes a slight amount of shock or surprise to make them laugh again.
posted by w0mbat at 2:17 PM on April 5, 2019


Cosine: How is this a joke, exactly?

It's got a 90-minute-long set-up, kind of hard to explain satisfactorily without the shared background of having watched up to that point.
posted by tzikeh at 2:34 PM on April 5, 2019


Seriously, what is the joke?
How is this a joke, exactly?

This isn't a joke. This is a punchline for what is probably best described as a anti-comedic relationship deconstruction. As I said earlier, this is closer in line to Nanette than a setup->punchline set like Steven Wright, Jimmy Carr, or even long prose funny like John Mullaney. This is a cathartic self realization foisted on an unsuspecting audience after single-mindedly bringing them through 'Carlinesque' observations of his life an the human psyche, one that makes you feel for Sloss as well as with him... All the while he push/pulls his audience into deeper and darker observations of internal demons and dysfunctional relationships.

This is akin to Steve Martin and Andy Kaufman sometimes going on stage and bombing not for the sake of a bad set, but intentionally bombing because they've turned the game into a 'comedians comedy show' and the audience is the punchline - not the other way around. The whole 90 minute setup of this brings you to the point where someone who gives an absolutely poisonous and toxic - and in many cases accurate - view into the psyche of relationships. This is *every* DTMFA answer on AskMe released in one go after a walk through the theater of the absurd...

This is in line with Bo Burnham burning out on comedy and reigniting his career with his dance monkey dance deconstruction of what the audience expects of him. Sloss isn't doing insult comedy like Anthony Jeselnik or telling funny stories about his fucked up family with the intent of sowing humor and revolution like Christopher Titus. He isn't going for base haha I can laugh at you superiority humor like Daniel Tosh. Sloss has a point and a message and at the end - you get it... and it makes the set go from 'he cracked some jokes' to 'he broke up relationships'.

And yes, this is straight in line with what seems like a consistent Scottish psyche, whether we talk about Oscar Wilde 'No True Scottsman' (perfect comment) or whether we talk about my neighbor up the street that tells a great story about her walking home from school in Scotland with her best friend everyday and the fun they had, and then footnoting it with the day she is sick her friend is abducted from the side of the road and murdered. It really happened, but she tells it to you like it was a joke. And she references it now like the 'And that's why you don't do such and such a thing' running gag on Arrested Development... I mean - 90% of the time her humor is solid, but that last 10% is like holy shit trauma scary as hell (and still darkly funny)...

So yes.... This is definitely in my top five comedy specials for 2018 (probably 2 or 3), and I'd have to really work hard to figure out where this sits in my all time- definitely a top 10. (which actually my top for last year won't fit in... this set is more memorable and rewatchable - even if it makes me squirm).
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:40 AM on April 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


I have been where he's coming from. It's clean, well-lit and without joy or purpose.

"It was all a nothing, and man was a nothing too."
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:08 AM on April 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine once said to a would-be groom who's impending marriage he wasn't all that certain of, "well, I guess you can always get a divorce if things don't work out."

Someone once said to me, when asked his opinion of our mutual friend's recent marriage, "Lisa will make an excellent first wife for Steve." A sick burn, but the kicker: that was 30 years ago and against most of their friends' expectations they are still together and the happy parents of four terrific kids.

And so the friend was correct in that Lisa is still Steve's first wife.
posted by carmicha at 8:59 AM on April 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


I don't want my wife to die, but I want her to die first because I can't stand the thought of dying and leaving her alone and sad.
posted by straight at 9:14 AM on April 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out if I would be more or less unsettled if, instead of taking obvious glee at smashing things, he framed his work as helping people make progress on themselves.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:22 AM on April 6, 2019


Wet towel/snowflake moment:
If you are someone who suffers from a mood disorder and occasionally gets the desire to torpedo everything good in your life because of course everything could be solved by everyone and everything in your life disappearing this is like...not a great perspective to be feeding into your head...
posted by aloiv2 at 1:08 PM on April 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Wet towel/snowflake moment:
If you are someone who suffers from a mood disorder and occasionally gets the desire to torpedo everything good in your life because of course everything could be solved by everyone and everything in your life disappearing this is like...not a great perspective to be feeding into your head...


Counterpoint: Yeah, like *not* hearing this joke is going to save us from thinking that way.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:45 PM on April 6, 2019


Wasn't that bit an old SNL skit?
posted by bongo_x at 3:47 PM on April 6, 2019


I've certainly considered the benefits of other people's partners just dying. Does that count?
posted by Devonian at 7:17 AM on April 7, 2019


And now I think, "great, he's probably secretly alt-right or fake-alt-right and he'll start actually getting people killed and think it's fun, probably women and minorities". I've started taking edgy straight men at their word when they joke about this stuff now - if they say they're thinking about trying to incite murder, I assume they are.

I favorited half the comments in here after mine, but I wanna come back and tell y'all what matters. Or at least, what matters to me, in my calculus, and of all the so many quotables in this thread, I wanna quote this.

To me, in my drinky state, everything and everyone are stupid and wrong if they don't acknowledge that Sloss sounds exactly like this. IS he this? No, I don't think so. But you know what? Your (generalized your here) priorities are wrong if you don't hear this and find it disturbing. People are out there catching bullets for edgelord lulz, and yo, shit's real. On top of the emotional trauma we inflict on each other. If you aren't doing something about it, what the fuck are you doing?

We live in a universe where a stand-up comedian's observations on life can shatter love. That means we need to work a lot harder on love. This post, this clip, this phenomenon, deeply affected me, probably because of the timing of the breakup thing, but damn yo. My life has to be about other people living, or why am I at all? I hope you, dear reader, take a moment of your day and look around to find something life-affirming in the things you do. And no, that thing? Really examine it. Really look at it. You don't wish [person] would die. Even Trump. You want him maybe jailed? I do. But examine it. You want everyone to live and be happy and not traumatized assholes. That's the only correct answer. If you've found how you support life and love and happiness, after your search, high-five yourself.

Shit's real. Help.
posted by saysthis at 11:32 AM on April 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Perhaps Sloss should have phrased his statement better, like 'disappear to a happier place with no bad memories' (always my go-to wish) rather thn 'die'. That change doesn't fit his persona at all nor his intended audience, but it would indeed be a hell of a lot less triggering for many.

Personally, I've had and seen a lot of love. Clingy, insecure, paranoid, constantly-checking-up-on, shreiking, self-serving, gaslighting, gimme-a-beer-from-the-fridge, taken-for-granted, I-am-going-insane-and-taking-you-with-me love. I can do without those kinds of love.

Sloss didn't shatter love, he only shattered misery and inertia pretending to be love. Thanks to Daniel, I will never again fight to resuscitate a relationship whose mere existence makes my partner miserable. And I now give my love without hope or expectation of reciprocity. It feels awesome.

Sloss is a damaged guy struggling to scrape the scales off his eyes and make peace with what is rather than what he'd like to believe. I'd compare him more to a Greg House - miserable, manipulative, provocative, truth-seeking - than alt-right.

Let's not turn one slightly popular dark comedian, who may fade into obscurity at any point, into an existential threat, please?
posted by zaixfeep at 4:42 PM on April 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


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