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'I've never written a joke about rape' says controversial comic Dapper Laughs ahead of Belfast gig

By Claire Williamson

Published 24/09/2015

Comedian Daniel O'Reilly said the media storm surrounding his controversial character Dapper Laughs had wrecked his life (BBC Newsnight)
Comedian Daniel O'Reilly said the media storm surrounding his controversial character Dapper Laughs had wrecked his life (BBC Newsnight)

A controversial comedian lambasted over footage which appeared to show him make a "rape joke" has said the comments were "completely taken out of context" as he prepares for a Belfast gig next month.

Dapper Laughs, also known as Dan O'Reilly, is famed for his "lad humour".

The comic's ITV2 show ended in November after one series and his UK tour was cancelled last year when a video emerged which showed him telling an audience member that she was "gagging for a rape" during a live show.

Over 60,000 people signed a petition calling for ITV2 to scrap a second series of O'Reilly's dating show Dapper Laughs: On The Pull.

Appearing on Newsnight on November 11, he told presenter Emily Maitlis: "It's completely ruined everything that's going on with me as a comedian. The bad press and everything that's happened - it's wrecked my life to a certain extent.

"I am not going to allow Dapper Laughs to represent me. I want the people out there to know that not only am I going to stop it, I am going to help it not being promoted."

A number of comedians also signed an open letter opposing his style of comedy.

However he has since resurrected the character and today reiterated that the "rape joke" was "taken completely out of context".

He plays the Limelight in Belfast on October 20.

Speaking to BBC Northern Ireland Talkback Dan said he has "never written a joke about rape".

He said "You have professional comedians that are some of the most televised like Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle that actually write jokes about rape. They have a beginning middle and end structured around rape.

"I've never written a joke about rape. I don't talk about rape, I don't talk about sexual violence I don't talk about harassing women. My act takes the mick out of lad humour.

"And now one bit of footage that was taken completely out of context now sells newspapers with 'pro rape comic Dapper Laughs'."

Dan told BBC Talkback that the incident happened following someone shouting from the crowd.

He said: "What actually happened was I was on stage and I was a bit infuriated by the current media attention I was getting about my tv show where people were saying it was promoting rape culture.

"One of the girls at the front said, 'My mate  Lucy loves you, she's gagging for rape'

"I said, 'what did you say? She's gagging for rape?' and the way it was shown looked I came over to the side of the stage and said that.

"I just want to make clear that I've never ever had one complaint from the 20,000 odd people that come to see me live last year."

"I've only had complaints from people that have been told by journalists to complain about it."


The backlash prompted his TV show to be cancelled which then prompted the comic to go on Newsnight where he retired the Dapper Laughs character.

The move also came as he found out his dad had been diagnosed with cancer.

He said: "When the position came up and the TV show got cancelled and the tour got canceled and all this footage came out. At the same time I was gong through a good week's worth of turmoil.

"My mum turned round to me and said your dad has been diagnosed with cancer it's not all about you. My dad had been hiding it.

"I put my hands up and said it's not about me anymore I can't handle it."

Dan said once his dad was in remission he urged him to carry on.

He said: "That's why I decided to come back I was essentially forced to quit."


Dan said his own family had been affected by sexual violence and said it's not something he finds funny.

He said: "I wouldn't go on and joke about the things that they think I do.

"I completely understand why a local rape crisis group or groups would be worried about it.

"My family itself has been affected by sexual violence, it's not something I find funny so I wouldn't go on stage and joke about it. I don't write jokes like Jimmy Carr or Frankie Boyle about rape.

"That was I've learned from it. I wouldn't discuss subjects like that. There are lines in comedy but you have to remember it's up to the ticket purchaser, it's not up to someone else to tell someone what they should and shouldn't be allowed to watch."


Looking to the future Dan said he aims to be more "responsible" with his comedy content.

He said: "I made some mistakes in the past and you have to be responsible with the amount of exposure you are getting. Especially with young lads and people growing up, this time around I will be careful but I wouldn't say I'm misunderstood, I just think I didn't play the media game correctly."

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