Dapper Laughs Live: The Res-Erection | DVD review by Steve Bennett

Dapper Laughs Live: The Res-Erection

Note: This review is from 2015

DVD review by Steve Bennett

Whoever would have thought the guy who made idiotic, laddish Vine videos lasting no more than six seconds would ever have his own full-length stand-up DVD? But notoriety sells, and the fame – or infamy – generated by his sexist banter, its powerful backlash, and his lie about quitting by public demand have made Dapper Laughs a depressingly marketable commodity.

He's a feminist now, of course, though you might be forgiven for thinking his assertion to campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez had all the sincerity of that cynically self-serving Newsnight interview. On this DVD, comedy's new equality ambassador 'jokes' of Emily Maitlis: 'The whole way through., I was thinking "You fucking want it don't you?'

That sums up his one-dimensional, sexually aggressive, nasty-taste-in-the-mouth attitude to women perfectly. Elsewhere in the show he shouts out to all the single ladies, then calls them 'slags', or tells us that his Mum has 'cracking boobs'. Stand aside, Andrea Dworkin, feminism has a new queen now.

It's all 'banter' isn't it? Just his 'character' having a laugh? And if you don't join in, you're sour-faced, hating him for being a working-class comedian, as the drama school graduate has complained in various interviews.

Working class comedy used to be Les Dawson and Porridge, Only Fools And Horse and Billy Connolly. Surely it's more offensive to that demographic to conclude that all they deserve is this sort of formalised cat-calling?

His suggestion that he would be treated differently if he was middle-class doesn't hold up to much scrutiny. With Al Murray's crowd, none of them really hates the French, not in their hearts – it's a sort of sporting badinage with a group on an equal footing. There's a very good reason the Pub Landlord doesn't try to work with the hatred towards other ethnic groups because the prejudice is just too real.

Yet Dapper's 'banter' is the exact-same everyday sexism many in the world practise, unironically 'ironic' or not. When Dapper's 'punchline' is saying: 'Get your gash out,' and the audience cheer, how is that different from a dick shouting the same thing from a car and his mates sniggering, as the woman clutches her coat tighter, hurries her pace and tries to suppress the threat and intimidation she feels.

Mini-Dappers can be found in Tiger Tigers across the nation. And yes, some women are quite happy being part of that sort of banter in certain circumstances, but many aren't. It's the times that it's not acceptable that Dapper seems to evoke, since it's him, the bloke, deciding it's acceptable and the girls are 'proper moist' for him. He confuses braggadoccio with charm.

And if Dapper is a 'character' – as an opening filmed skit stresses very deliberately –  it's probably worse. He's being a sexist twat as a career move: comedy's equivalent of Katie Hopkins.

To give him his due, this sort of banter is not the thrust of this show. There's a lot about the backlash against him, which doesn't add much to the countless interviews he's given as the alleged victim. Then there's some crappy 'where are you from?' audience work and, in the second half, he tries a more general observational routine about sex.

In this, he is like the least inspired of open spots, going for the most obvious of below-the-belt subjects and giving them the most obvious of commentary. He talks about having smelly fingers after fingering a girl, getting early sexual thrills from the Littlewoods catalogue and porn mags found in bushes, about quelling an inappropriate boner.

This stuff is not controversial nor reckless – despite the DVD sleeve hailing him as 'one of Britain's edgier comedians' – it's just boring.

Dapper Laughs DVD You can hear this sort of stuff in the county's bigger comedy clubs every weekend – and Dapper's a pretty weak example of it. While the sort of journeyman 'Jongleurs' comics are never going to be a critic's favourite, the club stalwarts at least have the craft – years, if not decades, of honing the material to give it punch. Dapper's a novice and it shows.

The verb 'coming' provokes a titter of double entendre, he'll call the Cornish 'fucking wankers' as a punchline, and will constantly refer to the bloke with glasses 'Harry Potter'. It's genuinely hard to see what Dapper is doing that hundreds of thousands of lads do in their everyday interactions. What's he offering, apart from wish-fulfilment? Maybe other lads' banter will get them on stage one day, too. Please god no.

Before the Vines, Dapper, under his real name of Dan O'Reilly, was a cruise-ship entertainer, and in one of the DVD extras he hauls a bunch of audience members on to the stage to play the 'yes/no' game that was a staple in his repertoire. Some of the blokes are so pissed they can barely stand – this is his demographic – while he gets to flirt with the girls who are, of course, 'gagging for it'.

And just when you think Dapper's material couldn't get dodgier, he does the Indian accent and head wobble. Still, it's OK, he reassures us, 'because my granddad's Indian'. Presumably the fact his two grandmothers are women excuses the sexist claptrap too… although he neglects to inform us of whether their tits were 'cracking' or not.

Hopefully this is the peak of Dapper's career, and he can live out the rest of his prime making guest appearances to stag parties in market-town nightclubs with names like Crystals or Mystique, that seems to be his level.

I did get one slight smile from the show… Dapper performs in front of his name in lights, just like Michael McIntyre. But in a set design worthy of Spinal Tap's Stonehenge, they are a bit too small, making him look like a kid playing at stand-up. He knows.

Dapper Laughs Live: The Res-Erection has been released on Platform Entertainment, priced £12.99. Click here to give the money to the Fawcett Society instead.

Review date: 30 Nov 2015
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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