In my blog yesterday, comedian Lewis Schaffer gave his view of the recent kerfuffle about ‘offensive’ and ’sexist’ comic Dapper Laughs whose career appears to have imploded after criticism from the media and other comedians.
A couple of days ago, while he was picking a lock (that is true) comedian Chris Dangerfield told me he was angry about several things.
So I had a chat with him yesterday.
Basically, like setting off a firework, I started it off then stood well back.
WARNING: As this is a blog involves Chris Dangerfield, some people may find the language and opinions offensive. If this is likely, then do not read it.
“How are your armpits?” I asked.
“I use that Magnum 24 Hours,” Chris told me. “Look, I don’t know what it’s called. Mitchum? It just stops your body functioning normally so you can’t get rid of all the toxins that will poison you and your body doesn’t smell for years. And, when you don’t bath ever, like me – Don’t put that in your blog. I’m actually very good at bathing. But it’s a heroin thing. The feeling of water on your skin is not that good.”
“I dunno. Odd, though. It’s almost alright once you’re in, but getting out is a bit prickly. The water’s just unwanted.”
“So,” I said, “at the moment, some comedians are talking about forming their own trade union and having people sign a Code of Conduct.”
“I got into comedy for a love of performance,” said Chris, “for a love of challenging things, for some kind of dissident voice in a world where there aren’t many left. And now comics are policing comics. All those fuckers that signed that fucking thing. Half of them ain’t even comedians. Who are these people? They’re blatant opportunists. Oh, I’ll sign it! I’ll sign it to be on the same list as some other Nobody comic! Jesus! It’s all bullshit! It’s an awful, awful situation.”
“I think originally,” I said, “it was because people were pissed-off because they were not being paid by Jongleurs, but now this ‘code of conduct’ thing has got muddled-in with the Dapper Laughs thing. Did you read my blog today where Lewis Schaffer talks about Dapper Laughs?”
“Comedy is almost the last free speech,” said Chris. “It’s an interesting framework. Once you label it ‘comedy’ you can kind of do anything… But these fools recently who had anything to do with that whole censorship thing.”
“What?” I asked. “Dapper Laughs?”
“Yes. They’re doing the dirty work of comedy’s biggest enemy.”
“Which is?” I asked.
“Censorship,” said Chris. “Comedians play with language. Comedians play with morality. They can play with what’s right and what’s wrong. They can turn it on its head. That’s what we do. It’s an amazing, exciting thing. It’s certainly what got me involved. And suddenly they’re all twits.
“Look, I don’t give a shit about the bullshit personal private greedy agendas of these liberal fucks who draw arbitrary lines to serve their own agendas – and that’s what they’ve done. That’s why they’re not talking about Russell Brand, Doug Stanhope, Bill Burr. But Dapper Laughs – some working class shitbag from nowhere who has said a couple of pretty unfunny things – he’s a target. He hasn’t said anything anywhere near as ‘bad’ as any of that other lot. I don’t care what they say, myself. I love it. But, if you look at the criteria these people have used when talking about Dapper Laughs, then these people – Brand, Stanhope, Burr – are far ‘worse’. It’s all bullshit.”
“But,” I argued, “Dapper Laughs telling the woman in the front row of the audience that she was ‘gagging to be raped’ is way beyond acceptability.”
“Why?” asked Chris. “Did you see the clip? If she had seen his material and chosen to go to that show, there is a certain expectation. In context, it’s fine. Absolutely fine. A comedian can’t offend anyone. People offend themselves. How do you offend someone? If there was an objective ability to offend, the whole world would be offended by things. The reason why one person can be offended while another person isn’t is because offence is in the ears of the beholder.
“I could give you ten or twenty comics who have said things along the same lines as that, but they are not getting attacked because there is the elephant in the room here about class. And the massive jealousy that Dapper Laughs had not ‘earned’ his TV series and his success because he just became famous through a technology (Vine on the internet) that other people have failed to use in the same way. It’s a disgrace. It is so disappointing.”
“At the Edinburgh Fringe,” I said, “you had walk-outs in your Sex With Children show which none of us could understand given the title, the poster and the publicity.”
“It’s the same as Dapper Laughs,” said Chris. “This selective understanding of his act. “If you watch the Vines, there’s this massive homosexual undercurrent.
“He will talk to a woman in the street and then turn away and say I want cock in my bum as if he can’t hold it in, as if he’s got these desires and they over-run his heterosexual desires.
“And that’s not once or twice: it’s frequent, this homosexuality. And also his failure with women. He is a failure; he doesn’t do well with women. That’s the main thread of the Vines. None of that gets talked about.”
“But,” I started to argue, “his critics would say…”
“They’re opportunist cunts,” said Chris, “and I hate them all and they have made me SO disappointed. Comedy in this country was shit, but now it is shit and celebratory in its sense of shit. I would have thought an act that puts you in the position of the male gaze – for all its stupidity and ignorance – is essentially feminist and yet everyone is Nweugh Nweugh Nweugh complaining about it. Why aren’t they complaining about Russell Brand, Jim Jefferies, Doug Stanhope, Sarah Silverman? They’ve all offended people.
“Vonny Moyes. She’s a writer. She writes for The Skinny. Done a lovely interview with me. Done a lovely review of my show. But, when Dapper Laughs pulled his show and was bullied on Newsnight where they were quoting bits of his show out of context and the poor lad looked like he was going to start crying, I put on Twitter: Oy! Dapper. If you’re jacking that character, I’ll have it. And Vonny Moyes said: It’s not so funny when you’ve been on the receiving end of rape.
“Well, actually, I have. I have. And that’s nothing to do with the debate. People have been on the receiving end of war. I don’t see these people moaning about war jokes, of which there are millions.
“The whole Dapper Laughs thing has been opportunist at best. People like that prick Xxxxx Yyyyy has seen something and got jealous because he’s a failed, shitty comic who had an awful TV show. Everyone thought it was crap; it was rubbish. He saw Dapper Laughs’ show and was jealous and thought: How can I get part of this? Oh, I know, I’ll complain about it.
“Who is he to tell all these people – these millions of people who found Dapper Laughs funny – that they’re wrong. And then some cock from the Huffington Post is saying: We should not have banned this show. We should have used all his followers and educated them.
“Them? Them? What? He means people he thinks of as working class idiots. Well, they don’t want to be educated; they want to be made to laugh. They didn’t go see Dapper Laughs as part of their schooling. The cheek of it! Fuck you! I was angry. Now I’m just disappointed.”
“You are getting more mellow with age,” I suggested.
“It must be the quality of the smack I brought back from Cambodia,” said Chris Dangerfield.
… TO BE CONTINUED …
The Newsnight interview with Dapper Laughs is on YouTube and includes clips from both his ITV2 series and his live stage show.