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How quickly things have changed in the space of a month for Dapper Laughs. What started with the dawn of a brand new TV career ended with a whimpering appearance on Newsnight. But what should we make of the rise and fall of Dapper Laughs? Surely, if a misogynistic comedian who trivialises rape and ‘lad’ culture has retired, then common sense has prevailed? Well no, not exactly.
If common sense had prevailed, then I wouldn’t be writing this article, Dapper Laughs would still be happily making his cringe-worthy six-second videos, and ITV’s complaints box would only contain letters asking why they continue to allow Adrian Chiles’s face to be shown on TV.
Let’s start with the man himself, Dapper Laughs. I continue to call him Dapper Laughs and not Daniel O’Reilly because it takes more than a shave, a sad face, and a turtleneck jumper to convince anybody you were merely “playing a character”. Dapper Laughs’ content was undoubtedly crude, misogynistic and brainless, but it was never meant to be taken seriously. Most of the Vines he made were, to be honest, pretty harmless – at least for anybody with any sense. How much damage can you do in a six-second video?
What’s dangerous is stupidity, something it appears that O’Reilly has in abundance. Making rape jokes in response to being accused of misogyny is downright idiotic if anything else. Nobody is to blame for the destruction of his career as much as himself. Had he merely fought the accusations in a way befitting of a man playing a character, he would have probably survived this entire ordeal.
It would be great to know exactly what the geniuses at ITV were thinking when they commissioned Dapper Laughs to have his own TV show. You can imagine it now: them praising their own brilliance at the fact they’d managed to snag a guy who comes with his own ratings boost in the form of 600,000 Vine followers. Did they honestly think they’d uncovered the next Sasha Baron Cohen? No, he isn’t even a Keith Lemon – at least he puts on Leeds accent and wears a ginger wig when in character. Dapper Laughs has no shield, no mask to hide behind, he doesn’t have a Borat, a Bruno or a Bo Selecta. ITV surely should have seen this coming. It’s one thing making a dick of yourself in front of your iPhone; it’s another thing when you do it representing a huge media corporation. 60,000 signatures on a petition, a media backlash, and they were gone before anyone could say “moist”.
Ironically Dapper Laughs’s destruction came via the hands of social media: the very beast that built him up to potential stardom, crushed him with equal aplomb. I’m sure you’re all aware of the fragility of internet success. A single tweet, video, or status and the chain reaction explodes into life. It took one article to signal the beginning of the end for Dapper Laughs; one article for the people who had shared, laughed at and enjoyed his videos to jump on the internet’s infamous bandwagon of hypocrisy. As the momentum gathered pace, it seemed everyone suddenly had an opinion on the matter. Then came a petition, then the backlash. I am in no way defending the ‘comedy’ of Dapper Laughs, but it seems suspect that the entire nation had a eureka moment at exactly the same time, doesn’t it?
Then comes the BBC, bastions of truth, helping us to get to the bottom of the issue once and for all. Stick him on a primetime spot, interview him and make him uncomfortable until the public get the truth! Ratings? The BBC don’t care about ratings! Oh wait, yes they do. That’s why Dapper Laughs – sorry, Daniel O’Reilly – was being interviewed on Newsnight. A guy who makes six-second videos, on Newsnight.
The entire affair stinks from start to finish and it’s one that nobody should come away from with any credit. If we’re to put a stop to these seemingly endless, tedious media ‘outrages’ it’s about time we take responsibility for our own actions, and the consequences they come with.