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Dapper Laughs No More

Dapper Laughs No More

12 November 2014 | Lloyd Hughes

Dapper Laughs. Or used to anyway. He’s not laughing now.

The questionable ‘comedian’ has come under sustained fire in the last few days for his brand of humour, which consists mainly of laddish ‘banter’ that’s primarily centred on misogyny.

Over the last year he’s been an Internet phenomenon, with his profile soaring thanks to social media. The Dapper Laughs Facebook page has more than 1.7 million likes, whilst his Twitter account has over 350,000 followers. The impressive size of this fan base led to him being given his own television show by ITV.

Quite how got he got to these heights of supposed popularity is beyond me. I’ve never watched his ITV2 show ‘Dapper Laughs: On the pull’, so I’ve no idea what it’s like. I have seen a few of his Vines here and there that have popped up on my Facebook timeline, but other than that I’ve not delved too deeply into what he has to offer. From the little that I’ve seen up until now, his ‘cheeky chappie’ persona hasn’t appealed to me. Although for many others, that obviously hasn’t been the case.

Now though it seems that he’s become a victim of his own success. By stepping into the mainstream, his misanthropic approach to women has fallen under the spotlight of public scrutiny.

The character had been coming into criticism for quite some time, but the opprobrium has come to a head in the last week or so following the release of a Dapper Laughs Christmas album, the proceeds of which would apparently be donated to the homeless charity Shelter. This attempt at good PR backfired hugely when the charity promptly refused any donations from him, ‘no matter how small’ (cutting!) after it was pointed out that during the course of the album he tells a homeless man that he ‘stinks like sh*t’.

It was also pointed out on the website UsVsTh3m, that the money raised through Spotify (in the unlikely event that tracks from the album would be listened to 10,000 times) would equate to £40. Hardly a princely sum.

From here things went rapidly down hill as Dapper turned to Twitter and Snapchat to urge his moronic followers to turn on the journalists at UsVsTh3m for their withering review, which led to a horde of misogynistic idiots bombarding them with abuse.

The right thinking side of social media then turned its own ire on Dapper Laughs, which, unsurprisingly, carried much more weight than an army of imbeciles without a three figure IQ between them.

Journalists leaped to the defence of their peers, sticking the boot into the rapidly retreating Dapper who’d probably realised at this point that he’d stirred up a hornet’s nest of eloquent vitriol that was threatening to overwhelm him.

Things got worse for the ‘comic’ once a video emerged online of one of his gigs where he told an audience member that she was ‘gagging for a rape’.

ITV were then subject to a 50,000 plus signature petition asking them not to commission a second series. The spiralling disapproval caused Dapper to attempt some belated PR fire fighting, releasing a statement on Twitter on the 8th November apologising to anyone he’d upset by ‘pushing the boundaries’.

This statement wasn’t enough and ITV announced that they wouldn’t be commissioning another series.

Realising that this was a PR disaster from which there was no return, Daniel O’Reilly, the man behind Dapper Laughs, subsequently appeared as himself on Newsnight last night where he ‘apologised’, saying that Dapper Laughs didn’t represent who he was and that the character was no more, cancelling his UK tour in the process.

Like a desperate mountaineer with a lifeless, dangling partner dragging him into the abyss, O’Reilly clearly hopes that cutting the rope on Dapper Laughs will allow him to save himself. It appears unlikely.

Having watched the Newsnight interview it’s hard to believe that ‘Dapper Laughs’ isn’t just an extension of O’Reilly’s actual personality, despite his claim to the contrary. Previously he’d sported a beard; for the interview he was clean-shaven. Gone was the brash self-confidence of his Vine and stage ‘persona’. He looked shaken by all of the negative attention that he’d received, stuttering through the interview, struggling to communicate, all of his bravado gone. However it seemed to be more of a case of self-pity rather than genuine apology.

I suspect that he doesn’t truly understand why so many people have been offended, and probably regards it as ‘just banter’. In the past he’s admitted that the character was an extension of himself, so his revised comment on the matter doesn’t stand up to too much scrutiny.

It’s been a spectacular fall from grace and one that he’ll struggle to return from. I’m sure that he’ll attempt redemption through an appearance on reality television at some stage in the future, but for now his public image is shattered and he’s been ran out of town. I doubt he’ll ever be of any public consequence again.