DANIEL SLOSS wants you to know that he is not a sociopath. No, really, he says. “I’m not and know for a fact that I’m not,” the comedian tells me in a bar in Edinburgh’s west end. “I have extremely high levels of empathy.”
And yet people keep accusing him of having none. It’s what you get when your stand-up routines qualify as “challenging”.
Take his show at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. It culminated in a riff on why he thought most relationships were based on a lie, an idea he reiterates to me today. “I believe that 90 per cent of relationships are fear-based,” he says. In short, it’s not about love, he argues, it’s about being scared of being alone.
After the show last year people tweeted and Facebooked him to say they had broken up with their partner as a result. “I had a guy come up to me in the street the other day and said he had seen the show with his girlfriend. ‘Well, my ex-girlfriend,’ he said.  
I asked: ‘Did you break up with her because of the show?’ ‘No, she broke up with me because of the show.’ Whoops,” he laughs.
Successful relationships that last, he suggests, are “an astonishing statistical anomaly but none of us is willing to admit it.” Hmm, I’m not sure of the evidential truth of that statement, but let’s run with it. “The reason I get called a sociopath is I value logic over emotions because that’s logical.
“But if you’re coldly logical about things and you take emotions away people say: ‘That’s sociopathic.’ I go: ‘No, I’m admitting they’re useless.’ Because let’s be honest, outside weddings and poetry, emotions are f***-all use. They make you feel nice, but for a society they don’t do anything.”
Daniel Sloss, comedian, contrarian, Fringe veteran at the advanced age of 26, it might be noted at this point, has been single for a number of years now.
It’s Wednesday, a week and a day before Sloss’s new Fringe show opens. The posters are up all around the city and he’s ready to go. “It’s my favourite time of the year,” he says as he sips his water (nothing stronger this afternoon).
“I spend the rest of the year travelling. It’s August, it’s the best festival, it’s the biggest festival and all my friends who I’ve spent the rest of the year visiting around the world all come to my city … and develop an alcohol problem.”
This year he may or may not split any couples up, but he will be talking about death and why sometimes it’s a good thing. There may be other lines in it that will shock or offend. If nothing else there will be swear words (in the interests of conciseness just assume that in almost every quote in this interview effs and jeffs have been removed for speed of reading).
Sloss is the former teenage comedian who broke through at 17 and got himself on to Sunday Night at the Palladium and The Michael McIntyre Roadshow before spending the next 10 years reinventing  himself while shrugging off the TV-friendly mainstream audience as he went.
And now – “NOW” being the name of his latest show – he’s ready for his ninth Edinburgh solo gig.  In the last few years he has been on Conan O’Brien’s American chat show no fewer than seven times, has learned he can sell out gigs in Estonia and Latvia of all places, and had a gun drawn on him in the US when his anti-religion jokes went too far for one audience member. And he’s someone who could not be said to be guilty of what he calls the “faux humbleness” of so many British comedians.
“I am allowed to say I’m good at this. Not everyone agrees with me and I’m absolutely not for everyone, but I’m pretty good at what I do and I do love it.”
Good, not great, you notice. He doesn’t think he’s that yet. But he wants to be.
“I’ve always said I want to be one of the greatest comedians in the world. I know it’s a long, long journey. I probably won’t be able to comfortably say it until I am about 45.”
Hmm, last time we talked, Daniel, you said it would take you until you were 40. “You can tell it’s a lot further away,” he laughs.
He laughs a lot. On the page his conversation and self-belief can come across as arrogance. But there’s an element of performance about it too.
He was always self-confident, of course. You don’t get on national TV in your teens if you’re not. But his approach has changed dramatically over the years. The younger Daniel Sloss told jokes about his everyday life. That’s not what he is interested in now.
It’s not that he’s against comedians finding humour in the minutiae of daily existence. “I still love the Michael McIntyres, the John Bishops, the Micky Flanagans. There’s such a skill and an art to what they do,” he says.
But it’s not what he most likes watching or performing.
“I liked the comedy that caught me off guard. I remember watching other comedians like Jim Jefferies and they made me think. I was laughing and laughing and laughing, but it was a brilliant argument.”
Exposed to boundary-pushing Australian and American comedians like Jefferies, Bill Burr and Louis CK, he realised that was what he wanted to do too. He doesn’t want to shy away from saying what he believes. And he wants people to keep coming back to see him to hear his latest opinions. “Even if that opinion is wrong – which is probably is – they still want to see how I can twist it round to my logic.”
There’s that word again. Logic. Frankly, 2017 can’t be the easiest time to present yourself as logical when the world seems to have given up on it.
“Emotions now have currency and logic doesn’t,” Sloss agrees. “It’s absolutely of the moment.
‘I like Donald Trump because of what he was saying.’ ‘I like these Brexit people. They speak what’s on their minds.’
“And it’s not just with the right wing. It’s the left wing too: ‘That statement upset me.’ Whose problem is that apart from yours?  Well, grow up. It doesn’t revolve around you.”
These days, he says, people are so proud of how little in control they are of their emotions. “It is not an admirable trait. Any part of your life where things are genuinely important you do not want an emotional person there.
“You don’t want an emotional lawyer. You don’t want an emotional doctor. You don’t want an emotional politician, but for some reason those are the ones we get because it sells.”
All of that said, Sloss at his best is far from emotionless. Two years ago he did a show – Dark – about his sister Josie, who had cerebral palsy and died when she was seven and he was 10. It was one of the most powerful shows on the Fringe that year. “Dark was the first time I felt like myself on stage,” he admits. “It’s not my jokes that are getting laughs any more. It’s me.”
Last year’s show only started flying, he adds, when his flatmate Jean pointed out that he was accusing the audience for staying in relationships out of fear, when in fact he had been guilty of the same thing in the past.
That statement was, Sloss says, a game changer for him. He hopes he has stopped pointing the fingers at others now and learnt to point it at himself.
Daniel Sloss grew up in East Wemyss in Fife and from an early age, in love with Jack Dee and Ed Byrne, he wanted to be a comedian. His mum Lesley got him work experience with Frankie Boyle and he made his stand-up debut aged 16. By 17, he was a finalist in So You Think You’re Funny? Five years later he was releasing his first live DVD.
The 2017 version of Daniel Sloss does not have a lot of time for his younger stand-up self. “None of him is me any more. Your body replaces all your cells. I’m literally not the same comic. But I’ve still got the memories of that guy.
“He was confident, he was young, he was precocious. His hair was s***. He thought he knew everything about the world.
“But then again,” he adds, “the 33-year-old me is going to be saying the same things about me. If you don’t hate the comedian you were four years ago, you’ve not improved.”

Daniel Sloss: NOW opens at Venue 150 at EICC, Morrison Street, Edinburgh, on Thursday at 9pm and runs until August 27 (except August 14 and August 22).