Not all live comedy is presented in this way. The Live Rooms in Chester is a rock music venue. Tonight, like in all of Dapper Laugh’s gigs on this UK tour, the audience remain standing, facing the stage as if watching a band. And Dapper’s support act isn’t another comedian, but a rapper.
O’Reilly’s ability to riff off an audience in character is admirable and worthy of any comedy club MC.
The crowd is largely working class, early twenties, with perhaps marginally more women than men. Those who only know Dapper’s work via the furore of the recent media backlash might be surprised to learn how popular the character appears to be with ‘the ladies’. It was the women who were consistently laughing harder and longer throughout the night.
Much has been said about how Dapper apparently promotes sexual violence. Even if you buy the spurious notion that a comedy gig, or indeed any art, can cause people to behave in a certain way, Dapper didn’t even come close to telling a rape joke. The humour is ‘blue’ but is far from the blatant misogyny of Roy Chubby Brown or Andrew Dice Clay. Dapper is a ‘lad’ not a pervert.
The fact is that Daniel O’Reilly has created a strong character, a well-crafted working class male stereotype who exists to be ridiculed. All he needs is some material.
Dapper has a unique story to tell. Exploding on to the live circuit direct from social media, the ITV show, the Newsnight interview, the single, the album, the relationship with tabloid papers, the mistakes, the bullying by self-appointed guardians of decency in comedy… instead we get extended and familiar rifts on condoms and fingering. What a wasted opportunity.
O’Reilly’s ability to riff off an audience in character is admirable and worthy of any comedy club MC. In fact, the strength of his audience work exposes how fragile his prepared material is. There’s a sharp comic mind on stage here, we need to see more of it on the page. With the right script O’Reilly could really be on to something.