Just when you thought the only thing moist at Christmas would be a bit of breast – turkey breast, of course – the polarising Dapper Laughs made a shock return on Christmas Day, posting a new video on YouTube, a mere six weeks after the character was apparently killed off on Newsnight.
The comedian – real name Daniel O’Reilly – was forced to abandon his alter-ego last month following a media barrage that resulted in his ITV2 show, Dapper Laughs: On the Pull, being scrapped after one series due to accusations of sexism and misogyny. A leaked excerpt from one of his shows also appeared to show a lax attitude to rape.
My immediate reaction on hearing of his return was one of delight. Not because I find his comedy particularly entertaining, but because it meant the attempts of the professionally offended to shut down the latest thing they don’t like, had failed. And they had done so spectacularly.
The brigades that spend so much of their time campaigning for diversity, tolerance, or whatever buzzword is in fashion, never seem to be able to heed their own advice. They, in their great wisdom, believe it is their duty to police – through the agent of offence – and their shouty and aggressive personas have allowed them to do so. The hypocrisy surrounding their so-called “tolerance” is staggering. Dapper’s unexpected comeback was the proverbial, and extremely satisfying, “up yours”.
If you personally find something offensive, the solution is not to oppress it. Instead, you should ignore it. There are many things and people I find offensive. Muslim hate preacher Anjem Choudary, Loose Women, and journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to name a select three. Choudary’s obscene tirades, the anti-male sentiments on Loose Women on daytime television, and Alibhai-Brown’s mock outrage are things I believe the world could do without, but it is not my place to stop them. I don’t like them, so I don’t watch or listen to them. It really is quite simple.
Freedom of speech is something we cherish, it is a cornerstone of liberty. The recent furore over the release of The Interview – the American political comedy which sees two journalists plot to assassinate North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un – highlighted its importance, but also the glaring double standards often applied to it. So many call on it when looking to make a point, yet quickly forget about it when it doesn’t suit their agenda. I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that. Barack Obama, would you be so vocal in professing your love for free speech if the plot was to assassinate you?
We live in what should be a free society, and however much something may be hated, those who wish to access it should not be prevented from doing so. The 60,000 or so who signed a petition that ultimately saw Dapper Laughs’ show axed, were given preferential treatment over the hundreds of thousands of his followers across social media who provided the traction for the programme to be made in the first place.
I care not for the feminist uproar over Dapper Laughs, but by all means bra-burners, express your views. The beauty of free speech is that you can say whatever you want, but it doesn’t mean anyone has to listen to you. If you enacted the same thought process towards Dapper, he might not bother you so much.
O’Reilly’s act is comedy, he doesn’t condone sexism or rape. The intelligible are more than aware of that, and the world shouldn’t have to cater for those who aren’t at the expense of others. I dread to think of the reactions from the “offended” parties if the likes of Bernard Manning and Richard Pryor were around today. It would dwarf anything from Dapper Laughs. Which makes the media witch hunt even more concerning. Modern day comedy is already bland enough, where will it stop? What is the tolerant brigade’s utopia?
I hope we will never find out, and with small victories like that of Dapper Laughs, I maintain the belief that freedom and liberty will prevail. Oppressive governments past and present have shown the ability to silence citizens without the need of us to turn on each other.
Dapper, I may not be buying a ticket for one of your shows in the near future, but I congratulate you for what you have done. Your alter-ego has triumphed over the apologetic mess we saw grovelling on Newsnight, now go and cause mayhem!