1. This is Dapper Laughs. He makes Vines about how big his penis is and how women can’t resist him. Also, somehow, he’s he’s just been given his own TV show.
Dapper is the alter ego of Daniel O’Reilly, a comedian from Clapham, south London. He’s the epitome of Britain’s lad culture: the leering, always-up-for-it, banterrifc swagger of young men on a night out – the kind who use the phrase “Oi oi!” and shout sexual advances at women (but don’t have the confidence to seduce anyone).
He’s the first British Vine star to break out of the medium and find mainstream success.
Which is surprising, given the NSFW nature of what he does. In his Vines, he’s either asking women for sex, telling followers how to get rid of one-night stands the next day, advising women how to give better blow jobs, or just generally acting like a walking hard-on.
2. He likes to post “six-second sex secrets” about what girls really like. Dapper’s catchphrase is “proper moist” – a phrase meant to describe how turned on women are by him.
3. He Vines about how annoying it is when your one-night stand won’t leave in the morning.
4. Then there are the blow job tips.
5. But whatever anyone thinks of him, Dapper is a very modern media phenomenon.
All these things are about Dapper are true:
– He has the same management company as ex-Westlife singer Brian McFadden, 84 World. It’s co-run by Dan Parker, who spent eight years looking after pop stars’ careers at Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment.
– His stand-up tours have included numerous sell-out shows, including six sold-out gigs in Manchester and London in October. He has, obviously, played in Kavos.
– He plays the comedy tent at the V Festival this weekend.
6. Who is O’Reilly? He’s originally from Woking in Surrey, and spent some years performing on cruise ships. These are early publicity shots from his professional showbiz profile.
His biog says: “I’m a presenter / actor / comedian / model, most of my initial experience has been on cruise ships where I perfected the art of presenting cheesy game shows and performing in my own stand up comedy show ‘the life of Reilly’.
“I have done professional modelling and acting in a movie, I enjoy stand up performing and writing. I’m an out going “cheeky cockney chappie” type, very comical and playful, professional and quick witted.”
His profile also mentions that he attended Brooklands Performing Arts School from 2000 to 2002 and has done warm-up gigs for Paul Daniels, among others, and appeared in a short film.
He may well be a word-of-mouth, social-media success story, but his roots are in traditional showbiz much more than people may think.
7. As this Vine illustrates, he’s come a long way since then.
The live shows are essentially extended versions of his Vines: stories about sexual conquests, the problems of having a “big dick” and so on.
8. And to top it all, Dapper is headed for the mainstream. He’s hosting a new show on ITV2 called On the Pull.
In the press release, ITV seems terrifically pleased with itself to have captured an up-and-coming talent with such an rogueish edge.
Kate Maddigan, ITV’s head of comedy commissioning, says: “Dapper Laughs is brilliant new talent so I’m excited to bring him and his risqué brand of humour to ITV2.”
Chris Graves, executive producer at production company Big Minded, says: “Dapper’s a naughty little rascal with a bodacious approach to pulling! We’ve watched him explode online and are delighted to bring him to the ITV2 audience.”
Dapper is what TV producers are desperately seeking: a charismatic talent (in the eyes of his fans) with a ready-made fanbase who sticks two fingers up at taste and decency. This makes him ideal for ITV2, which targets the 20–35 market.
9. In his earlier Vines, he seems to be working as an estate agent in Clapham, and his colleagues are often featured as extras.
10. This, his first Vine, was uploaded on 3 July 2013. His posts have gotten more slick and noticeably less outrageously offensive since then.
11. For examples, older skits of his include: “Just show her your penis. If she cries, she’s just playing hard to get.”
12. “Get your gash out then.”
Dapper is fond of the term “gash” and even coined the phrase “gashtag”.
13. “Girls have periods. I call that ‘blow job week’. What you need to do is get four girlfriends – then it’s four weeks of blowies.”
14. Three months ago he repeated a line from Forrest Gump to two young people in Brixton, south London, who weren’t impressed.
15. This song includes the line: “If she’s looking at me and playing with her hair, by the end of the night she’ll need a wheelchair.”
16. He likes the Vine format of approaching people in the street and surprising or bewildering them. In case you were wondering, he has been punched in the face. He said in an interview:
I’ve been getting into trouble since I was a kid. When someone gives me a slap now it doesn’t faze me. I think the worst that can happen is that I’m going to get a punch. It’s not really that bad and for the comedy, I love it. I’ve been knocked about a few times doing Vines. But I’ve never been slapped by a bird! So yeah I’ve had a couple of punches… I’ve always been the one with the big mouth.
I done a Vine in Brixton a little while ago and there were four or five geezas standing there, they were like heavies and I was like ‘Hi, is this the book club?’, and one of ‘em chinned me. Like in pubs and that when I’m trying to do Vines at night. But you know what, it’s all part of the game. It makes it interesting.
17. In 2014 he started to do Vines featuring famous people, including Louis Walsh, filmmaker and actor Noel Clarke, Ashley Cole, and Hollywood star Terry Crews.
18. And Danny Dyer, his spiritual lad cousin.
19. At his worst, he’s a boorish sex pest hiding under the thin ironic veil of his character. But at his best he can be quite funny, and has natural comic timing.
20. Here, he gives a beer to a London Marathon runner.
21. Occasionally his Vines give a glimpse behind the laddish facade, showing the insecurity that seems to be lurking just beneath his grotesque alter ego.
22. He makes some valid observations about British “lad” culture.
23. And how men can exaggerate their sexual exploits.
24. He has his supporters, but not everyone is a fan.
28. Established comedians trying to make a living from comedy weren’t impressed by the speed with which he was offered a TV show.
30. He has responded to the charge of his Vines being sexist with this one, where he says: “From the bottom of my heart they’re about comedy and not about getting girls moist.” Although he says this with his arse out.
Or as he says in the caption: “My Vines are about creativity, comedy, expression, freedom, improvisation, not getting girls #moist.”
There’s no doubt that O’Reilly sees Dapper Laughs as an exaggerated version of himself and that he justifies everything he does in the name name of comedy. Whether he truly believes he is a sexual legend and that to ask people for sex in the street is acceptable remains to be seen.
Dapper / O’Reilly declined to be interviewed for this article and didn’t answer questions about accusations of sexism. His agent told us that he’s busy making the new TV show and also performing at V festival this weekend.
31. But it doesn’t really matter what critics think – he’s proven he can build an audience without the kind of critical support, and some would say hard work, that many comedians rely on.
His fans see Dapper as a loveable rogue who pushes the boundaries of what’s acceptable – like a homemade Leigh Francis, who has for more than a decade played the lethario character Keith Lemon in Celebrity Juice, which feels tired and outdated in comparison.
He’s a “lad” that attracts young women to his shows (his management told us the gender split in his followers is 50:50) and makes people laugh by saying out loud the kind of thing they would only say in front of their best friends on a boozy night out.
In a sense, this is the subculture of Vine breaking free and being let loose on an unsuspecting mainstream live and TV audience. But in another this is mainstream entertainment borrowing from the “lad” subculture that has seen The LAD Bible grow to 3.4 million Facebook fans and stag dos become a multi-million-pound international industry.
Dapper Laughs exists because a TV executive or a marketing guru could not have invented him.
We originally said that the line from Forrest Gump was from a black character, but in the film it’s said by Forrest Gump, who is white.