ITV has severed its links with a sexist internet star who has been described as “the new Jim Davidson”.
Comedian Daniel O’Reilly, who created the bawdy character Dapper Laughs, has belatedly apologised for “sexist” humour aimed at homeless women on his Christmas album Proper Moist. The charity Shelter branded the content “deeply offensive”.
The Daily Mirror yesterday published video footage of the comedian making jokes about rape in his live stand-up routine. The outburst, at a sell-out show at London’s Scala in October, appears to have been a riposte to a piece on The Huffington Post by Lee Kern, who described the TV show as a “woeful, misogynistic celebration of banter-based cretinism that is sadly having a renaissance among the confused, the intellectually frightened and the simpleton”. He said ITV2 was offering a “rapists’ almanac”.
In his stand-up act, O’Reilly told the audience: “I filmed six episodes, half an hour each. If it was a guide to rape, I would have done one five-minute episode, come on and go ‘Oi Oi, I’m Dapper Laughs, go down the shops, get some rope, bit of duct tape, rape the bitch, well done, see you later’.” He later approached a female member of the audience and announced: “She’s gagging for a rape.”
When ITV commissioned the recently finished six-part series Dapper Laughs: On the Pull for its youth-orientated ITV2 channel, it was presented as another example of a successful video-blogger or “vlogger” crossing into mainstream media.
But Dapper Laughs, who became popular on the video-sharing app Vine, is very different from other star vloggers such as Zoe “Zoella” Sugg, with her beauty channel, or Dan and Phil, the homely young comedians recruited by Radio 1.
Social media has recently been in uproar over a viral video that showed a young woman being “cat called” by men over 100 times in ten hours of walking the streets of New York. Meanwhile, Dapper Laughs seeks to amuse by walking British streets making quips to strange women about his penis and using his catchphrase “proper moist”.
In his apology for the homeless joke – in which he wonders if a woman’s “top was low cut or just ripped” and asks “your place or mine?” – O’Reilly said: “I think it’s important that if we overstep the mark and cause upset that we apologise. I’d like to say sorry to those people who I have upset.”
An ITV spokesman said that in the light of comments made by Dapper Laughs outside of the TV show the broadcaster would not be commissioning a further series from the comedian. “We have given careful thought to the recent criticism of the character Dapper Laughs, which has focused on his activities outside of the ITV2 programme, [for which the] content was carefully considered and complied. We have taken the decision that we will not be considering this show for a second series.”
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The idea of creating a reactionary character so that it can be the object of an audience’s ridicule is a long comedic tradition. But Steve Bennett, editor of comedy website Chortle, said there was little indication from O’Reilly’s live audiences that Dapper Laughs was the butt of the joke. “He’s reinforcing the behaviour rather than knocking it,” he said. “Dapper Laughs is trying to be a new Jim Davidson at his worst.”
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