Let me start this post by saying that I am NOT a fan of the Dapper Laughs style of comedy. It is however, in one form or another, comedy and people need to deal with that!
For those of you who don’t know – Dapper Laughs is a character created by Daniel O’Reilly. His content focuses almost solely on “lad culture” and “pulling women”. He got “big” when his videos (published on 7 second video site – Vine) went viral. He was quickly picked up by ITV for a reality style TV show following a largely successful tour of the UK. He has recently been accused, in the press and on social media, for “inciting rape” and “promoting sexual assault” via the content of his videos and TV show. It is worth noting however, that he has never directly condoned rape and most mainstream media outlets have spun his jokes to generate content and news (who’s surprised there?).
I actually feel genuinely sorry for this guy. Yes, I understand that his brand of comedy can be considered offensive and Yes, some of his jokes are in bad taste. But anyone who thinks this guy deserves to be lynched in the media and have abuse thrown at him (feel free to check twitter) is an idiot. He has subsequently had to retire the persona and if anything is wrong out of all this, it is that. It’s not that i’m sad I can’t watch any more Vines, it’s that this guy has been verbally battered into quitting his job as an entertainer by people who don’t find him funny, without any fact checking at all. His jokes have been spun out of context, people have seen that and jumped on a bandwagon.
This guy never set out planning to piss off women, offend people or whatever non-existent agenda people are saying he has, he merely made a few video’s on Vine for a laugh and they got millions of views. The Dapper Laughs view count on Vine currently sits at 146,856,921 views. For people to say that no one finds him funny is wrong. He has over HALF A MILLION followers on his Twitter account and i’m willing to bet they aren’t all blokes.
People have said he should have never been given his own show. If you are working in a broadcast department, and someone comes up to you and says “Hey dude, theres this guy on Twitter with 596k followers, his videos have more than 140 million views but his content is a bit ‘laddish'” the majority of people would think there is certainly a market for a TV spinoff. This doesn’t even take into account the fact he has SOLD OUT gig venues around the country. I worked one of his shows (on the bar of a venue he performed at) and the room was packed. The male:female ratio was about 80:20 and a lot of those girls were laughing their asses off.
The “lad culture” debate is a different topic. I see how this can influence that, especially now that is has become so popular, but this isn’t the reason for it. Our “lad” culture problem stems a somewhat from universities. It is well documented that university students drink copious amounts and raise hell across cities during “freshers” week and that plenty of students, male and female, put themselves in precarious situations. I have seen plenty of blokes in various sports societies do questionable things, just to show off to their mates but similarly I have seen girls do things just as bad to show off to the lads or to try an impress a certain bloke etc.. This isn’t the main problem with “lad” culture just one I feel qualified to discuss. I do completely understand why students in Cardiff petitioned to stop him from performing there but I feel a boycott would have served better. Who are they to decide for the masses?
The most prevalent subject from all of this was “popularising rape”. It has been said in recent days that Dapper Laugh’s “rape jokes” condone rape, say it’s cool or tell people that a “if a girl says no she is joking”. Do we seriously think that? There are comedians who have said much worse things than him. Frankie Boyle for example, or Louis C.K. These guys haven’t had to change their style or retire. I try to stay off the topic of rape, simply because I don’t want to upset anyone, but at the end of the day If someone rapes someone, it won’t be because they watched a Dapper Laughs video. If we want people to think of rape as bad, and I think it’s safe to say the majority of population do, we need to educate. Films and Games are blamed constantly for murders, but we all know that they aren’t the reason for the murders, it’s the individual.
I have gone on a bit here, I know, but it’s been winding me up for a few days. Leave the guy alone and let him get on with his stuff. If you don’t like it; don’t watch it, its that simple. I hope this doesn’t set a precedent for the future. For me, this has gone on for too long and has gone too far. Take a look at his interview on BBC’s Newsnight, he looks a broken man.
Maybe, he should have made the fact it was a character/persona and not a version of him self clearer and should probably have chose his jokes better. But you don’t treat anyone like this.
“I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.”
― Oscar Wilde