Dapper Laughs, an (alleged) alter-ego created by Daniel O’Reilly, became a huge hit on Vine. Known for his catchphrases such as “she knows” and “proper moist”, his often crude “LAD” antics gained almost 600,000 followers on the six second video sharing service and gathered over a million likes on Facebook.
In July 2014, it was revealed that the Internet sensation would be hosting a brand new television series that combined “brave comedy sketches with real life situations, as Dapper immerses himself in the Great British pastime of pulling”.
Titled “Dapper Laughs: On The Pull”, the television programme followed the comedian as he taught young adults (predominantly males) how to ‘pull’ the opposite gender. The first series pulled an average of 120,000 viewers per episode.
On the back of the series, Dapper Laughs unveiled he would be going on a nationwide tour in early 2015, with two dates scheduled in Wales. However, the comedian was forced to cancel his Welsh tour dates on Friday, November 7th, 2014, after nearly 1,000 people signed a petition demanding Cardiff University Student’s Union to cancel his performance because of its “sexist and inappropriate” content.
On the same day, Dapper Laughs also released the “Proper Naughty Christmas” album, with proceeds from the record being donated to Shelter – the housing and homelessness charity. The comedian faced backlash from social media users, with songs on his Christmas album being branded as “sexist and offensive” to homeless people.
As a result, Shelter rejected any donations from the star. In a statement, the charity’s CEO Campbell Robb said: “The fact that 90,000 children will wake up homeless this Christmas is no joke. Dapper Laughs’ brand of ‘comedy’ – which is deeply offensive about homeless people, not to mention many others – is something we felt it was important to take a stand against.”
Shelter’s stance against Dapper Laughs resulted in an increased amount of donations to the charity. Campbell Robb added: “The support from the public has been overwhelming and we’ve seen a fantastic rise in donations as a result, meaning Shelter can help even more people this Christmas.”
On Monday, November 10th, 2014, a video emerged of the comedian telling a female member of the audience that she was “gagging for a rape” and a petition was called on Adam Crozier (ITV2’s chief executive) to cancel “Dapper Laughs: On The Pull”.
Later that day, ITV said that they would not be considering a second television series. A spokesman confirmed: “’Dapper Laughs: On The Pull’ features an established internet comedy character created by Daniel O’Reilly. ITV2 commissioned a show in which this character is placed within a recognisable TV format, a dating advice show.
“Comedy is subjective and we realise the content of the show might not be to everyone’s taste. We regret that any of our viewers were offended. However, as with all of our shows, the series content was carefully considered, complied and deemed suitable for broadcast.”
On Tuesday, November 11th, 2014, it emerged that the Dapper Laughs UK tour had been axed as Daniel O’Reilly was retiring his alter-ego. The retirement was confirmed during an interview with Emily Maitlis on BBC’s Newsnight, in which O’Reilly said: “It’s a shame it went so far.”
It was clear from his Newsnight interview that Daniel O’Reilly was regretful over his actions as Dapper Laughs, apologising for the comments he made and how it had “ruined his life”. Not to mention the fact the comedian appeared on the BBC programme clean shaven, wearing a black turtle-neck jumper in an attempt to dissociate himself as far as away as possible from the character he created.
[youtube_sc url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBt3fr5viAE” title=”Dapper%20Laughs%20Newsnight%20Interview”]
Who can blame him? In the space of five days, Dapper Laughs dominated headlines for all the wrong reasons and was subject to a huge backlash on Facebook and Twitter – a cruel irony for someone who owes his success to social media.
The reality is that it’s unlikely that Daniel O’Reilly will ever return to the spotlight again, even as a new persona. Aside from taking his character too far, O’Reilly’s mistake came in failing to differentiate himself from Dapper Laughs. Had he truly separated himself from the character (rather than as a last ditch effort), people may have been ever so slightly more forgiving of him. Only slightly more forgiving though.