When Dapper Laughs first came about on vine I thought he was pretty hilarious. In truth I thought he was parodying lad culture and mocking anyone that actually thinks as this supposed character 'Dapper' did.
However upon seeing him perform live and viewing his vulgar TV show in which he almost seemed like a schoolboy bully to some of his contestants (example: in the first episode and on twitter he mocked the guy he was supposed to be helping to learn to 'pull' by saying his face looked like an old woman's vagina, among other things. There was no punchline or comedy. It just seemed like the hot guys laughing at the less popular kid in a school playground) I started to doubt very much whether this was a persona and whether he knew the extreme lad culture he was promoting.
Having appeared on BBC 2's Newsnight and confirming the 'character' is dead and stating his career and life is under severe strain, I feel almost sorry for him. In fact I do. But only because of his own idiocy.
I'm a big fan of offensive comedy. Frankie Boyle makes me laugh and Jimmy Carr at his worst always cracks me up. These people are comedians and they tell jokes as jokes. They don't endorse what they say.
The problem with Daniel O'Reilly's character Dapper is that he doesn't, or didn't rather, seem to realise that with an extremely popular parody persona character comes great responsibility. Spiderman knows.
|Not even Spiderman can save Dapper. Just one episode|
of 'On The Pull' has him hospitalized
If what Daniel said on Newsnight is all well and true and his intention was always to mock lads who actually think like Dapper and make fun of men with that mindset, then why in God's name didn't he distance himself from the character's views?
When you make a persona you MUST let it be known that IT IS A PERSONA. You must take every opportunity to remind people 'hey hey, it's Daniel O'Reilly over here, just reminding you my character isn't for real. OK? OK. OK. Goooood' because otherwise it comes across like you are genuinely endorsing what you're doing as this character and suddenly the lines between what is perceived as fiction and what is perceived as fact are completely blurred and almost synonymous.
He claims he didn't handle how popular Dapper got very well. And he's damn fucking right. A TV show that borders on being a sexist? With no disclaimer or even a hint of genuine, purposeful, satire? How the fuck - HOW THE FUCK - are people supposed to know if they're watching a genius parody character or a genuinely bigoted sexist male who has simply garnered popularity through media sources like vine? HOW?
The result of these blurred lines (looks like they really are blurred here Robin) is people thinking Dapper is for real. And no, you don't have to be unhinged to think that. Why? Because Daniel's demographic, his target audience, is teens. Teenagers who, mimic, copy and obsess in order to try and find some form of expressive outlet. It's what teenagers do and it's why older people in their twenties watch him for a guilty pleasure and shake their heads while laughing at his outrageous satire and why teenagers take him seriously and try to become little Dapper Laughs. I do not think comedians are under obligation to try not to hurt people's feelings in any way. But when you are targeting a demographic that is SO OBVIOUSLY going to try and copy your laddish behavior, then you need to make sure you step 10000 miles away from that character and state very clearly it's all a joke. Fuck it, that's a basic rule when creating any character with negative connotations. It's not fucking rocket science here, Daniel.
I've seen people copying him in real life too. So don't argue that shit. It fucking happens.
Lad culture is very closely tied with sexism. And unfortunately vulgar lad culture is still alive and well today in the UK. So it's risky to create a character who seemingly endorses it and takes it to extremes. That's why Dapper Laughs failed. Because Daniel did not take care to make sure it was all perceived correctly and did not distance himself from the character. He did not take care and was not responsible when creating a character endorsing such issues.
I saw a tweet from a fan of Dapper's saying something along the lines of: 'anyone who takes Dapper Laughs comedy seriously must be mad'. I thought to myself: 'well how does one know if it IS comedy and not an actual bigot throwing their sexist views around for attention?'. And truth is, Daniel O'Reilly did not give us any reason not to assume he simply was Dapper Laughs and everything Dapper Laughs promotes.
Who is Daniel O'Reilly? Oh he's that Dapper Laughs guy.
|Mr. Thicke DEFINITELY knows|
Wrong. He is not. But how were we supposed to know? In the end both Daniel's real name and his character's became synonymous. And in the end his comedy, as genius as it was, was misinterpreted. Dapper Laughs as a character mocking lads, mocking lad culture and satirizing sexism in the UK is brilliant. Because Dapper is repulsive, vulgar, nasty and a sexist bigot. He represents the culture wonderfully.
However Dapper Laughs being Daniel O'Reilly for real without a disclaimer is simply repulsive, vulgar, nasty and a sexist bigot.
Misinterpretation can easily end your career. And making sure misinterpretation doesn't occur is the biggest benefit to your career.
I saw the footage of Daniel O'Reilly's Dapper saying a female member of the audience was 'gagging for a rape'.
Before he said this he was also giving an example of how he and his TV show are not a rapist almanac as suggested by some journalists. I totally understood the point of this section and why he said that to an audience member. If you see the full clip you can clearly see he's sarcastically mocking journalists calling him out for endorsing rape. So the 'gagging for a rape' joke was simply poking fun, sarcastically, at journos. And it works. But it also doesn't.
See here, again, is where Daniel O'Reilly fucked up.
By defending himself on stage and getting Dapper to respond to critics in the manner he did it was, again, blurring the lines that were already borderline non existent to the public, about whether Daniel endorses Dapper Laughs.
The moment you get your vulgar, horrible, sexist, lad, bigot of a character to justify themselves, you know your character has failed.
It seemed, when Daniel did this on stage, that he was no longer approaching this comedy as character Dapper but bringing his own views - the views of Daniel - into it.
Le'ts make this clear: there must be a fine line between what you, the comedian thinks and what your character thinks. Daniel thinks this. Dapper thinks this. As an example: Daniel disagrees with sexist views. Dapper endorses them. Daniel disagrees with harassing women on the street. Dapper thinks the opposite.
So when Dapper responded on stage to critics he seemed to be airing Daniel's views, not his own.
Ask yourself this:
If a character is fictional, why must they, and why would they feel the need, to answer critics and respond to the naysayers? They're fictional. Don't exist. They're parody. They're satire. They DON'T HAVE TO JUSTIFY THEMSELVES BECAUSE THEY ARE THERE FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMEDY AND ANYONE CRITICAL OF THEIR VIEWS MOST LIKELY DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THEY ARE NOT REAL.
*Wait, repeat that last bit.
'If people are critical of your parody character for what they are saying, they are most likely not aware it is fiction.'
Uh... Yeah. That's the problem we had with Dapper. We didn't know for sure he was fiction.*
So when Dapper justified himself and mocked critics what was really happening is Daniel O'Rielly took over and was venting his frustration at his comedy not being appreciated for what it was to the audience.
This was all unnecessary. If Daniel had simply taken the steps to make sure people knew it was all a gag and a satire, mocking look at lad culture from the beginning he wouldn't be axed right now. And if he remained professional and didn't confuse his own rants about critics with Dapper Laughs on stage, well, we wouldn't be here. Truth of the matter is Daniel clearly didn't know what the fuck he was doing. And his ignorance and lack of professionalism has lead to a career downfall.
I want to see Daniel make a comeback. Maybe do comedy AS HIMSELF this time (assuming he isn't actually Dapper Laughs in real life in which case he can fuck off) and then maybe, once he's learned how to deal with success and being influential, he can bring Dapper back and do it properly this time. Because I'll tell you what, Dapper Laughs may have caused a storm but he's a prime PERFECT example of what is wrong with lads in today's society. He perfectly portrayed how vulgar the culture is. What a waste that his lack of care caused it to be misinterpreted as endorsement for Dapper's behavior.
So I do feel sorry for Daniel. He's the victim of his own stupidity. I won't forget him getting up on stage (Dapper Laughs that is) at V Festival 2014 and slating condoms and contraception and pretty much promoting not wearing protection. Now if Daniel had made clear that Dapper was a satire parody character mocking lads, hell, it would've been funny. But he didn't make that clear. And instead you had a tent full of teens and lads looking up at a guy who was seemingly endorsing not wearing condoms and thinking 'this guys got it right'. How very sad indeed.
We were never given a look at Daniel. He never seemed to come out of character and let us see the guy behind the gags. Maybe that was where part of the misinterpretation problem started. To everyone Daniel just seemed to be Dapper. And maybe he let the success go to his head and
actually did become Dapper. Either way there was potential here that is now wasted. And this man's life has gone from 100-0 so fast I can barely believe it. Maybe we should all take a second to forget Dapper. Forget Daniel. And forget influence. And remind ourselves exactly what values we should be aspiring to. Do you really want to be known by your friends as the guy that shouts at women in public and openly endorses outrageously disrespectful and sexist behavior? Or do you want to hold yourself and others to higher values that show respect and a caring nature towards women and your fellow men? Dapper is fine for showing what is wrong with society. But he absolutely should not be taken as setting an example.