Dapper Laughs: How one Vine sensation became the UK's biggest new comedian
Alice Jones asks if the everylad figure can offer something different from the dominant strain of middle-class comedy forged in the JCRs of Oxbridge
What does it take to become a comedian? Talent, wit, a winning way with wordplay? Top timing, tight trousers, silly hair? Or maybe all you need is a smartphone. That’s all Dapper Laughs had and all of a sudden, he is the biggest new comedian in the country, no club nights nor panel show appearances required.
If you haven’t heard of Dapper Laughs, he’s a sort of one-man stag do of banter, beer gardens, cock and fanny jokes, and falling over. His real name is Daniel O’Reilly and he lives in Clapham, south London but further information is hard to come by. The “About” page on his website is simply a collage of his favourite words – rascal, moist, ‘propper’, knickerdropper, and so on.
Until now he has been mainly an online phenomenon. And phenomenon is the word. His Vines - six-second, grinning video selfies in which he shouts chat-up lines at pretty girls or old women in parks, on the pavement, in the airport or from his car; or films himself running into lamp-posts or tripping over golf clubs; or captures strangers as they sleep on planes, or walk around with breasts - have a following of over half a million people.
He has almost a million fans on Facebook. This summer he has had a weekly residency at Bamboo in Kavos, Greece and later this month will share the comedy stage at V Festival with the likes of Alan Carr, Simon Amstell and Adam Hills.
In February, his first single, “Proper Moist”, a WKD-fuelled tribute to “Blurred Lines” – sample lyric, “She wants a little kiss/ And I ain’t gonna stop her/ All it takes is one glass of knickerdropper” - made it in to the iTunes Top 10 without radio play, reviews or musical merit. His latest, “Take it to the Base”, is about summer holidays and oral sex. A self-styled lothario of Lambeth, much of his material revolves around pulling, shagging, being rejected or rejecting others. He has a simple, if lubricious, catchphrase; for those who haven’t worked it out yet, it’s “moist”. He sells t-shirts - #ProperMoist for boys, #NaturallyMoist for girls – and people buy them. The first two nights of his autumn tour, #SociallyUnacceptable, at London’s Scala, have already sold out.
Now, unsurprisingly, the Rayban-ed banter merchant has landed his own television show, on ITV2, Dapper Laughs on the Pull. “We plan to take what he’s been doing so successfully on Vine and Facebook and supersize it”, said Kate Maddigan, commissioning editor at ITV this week. The show will see him “out and about and causing trouble” offering the public advice on finding love, or something more short-term. The show’s executive producer, Dan Baldwin said, “I actually believe he is the new Cilla Black.”
Dapper’s rise is remarkable – proof of the democratic nature of comedy and the power of social media. An everylad figure, purveyor of the humour of pubs and clubs up and down the land, his appearance on television might at least offer something different from the dominant strain of middle-class comedy forged in the JCRs of Oxbridge.
It will also, if ITV2 simply “supersize” Dapper’s Vines as promised, offer plenty of unsavoury gags about women, gay men, sex and, of course, your mum. Do they deserve a home on a mainstream channel or is ITV2 just giving people what they want? Dapper’s last blog suggests that a higher profile may see him tame his act in future, though not completely. “Moving away from the normal banta… this is going to have a bit more about it… How funny it is to completely do what you please as and when, how as a new generation we use social media to interact”, he writes. “As well as a little bit about smashing birds and smacking ginger kids. Standard.”
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