Hugo Rifkind Hugo Rifkind

You shouldn’t watch Dapper Laughs. But you really shouldn’t let the likes of me stop you.

In an extract from this week’s Spectator, Hugo Rifkind finds himself defending the comedian Dapper Laughs…

As you’ll know by now, I’m big on thinking the right things. Should a thought strike me that m’colleague Rod Liddle would not describe as ‘bien-­pensant’, then I will of course shy away from it, in a blind panic, for fear that my pensée should be considered insufficiently bien. Right now, however, I’m having doubts about the catechism. The liberal elite may take away my badge.

Presumptuous as it may be, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that Spectator readers are not immediately familiar with the work of a comedian called Daniel O’Reilly, otherwise known as Dapper Laughs. He’s an internet phenomenon and — let’s not beat around the bush here — shudderingly grim. The humour is all of the ‘birds are all gagging for it, and if they aren’t have a go anyway’ variety, and he rose to prominence on something called Vine, which is a web video platform for people who lack the concentration span for YouTube.

Last week, after a convoluted fuss we have not the space to examine — but was broadly centred around him and everybody who likes him being terrible arseholes — an internet petition arose which called for him to be dumped by ITV, which had given him a series. And, while this was in the process of garnering medium-ish attention (50,000 signatures, or thereabouts) the Daily Mirror unearthed a video of him at a gig, telling an audience member that she was ‘gagging for a rape’. And ITV, badly spooked, gave him the shove.

Now I, too, would prefer to live in a world without the likes of O’Reilly on the telly.

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