Sunday, 15 March 2015

Not many Laughs Here

Two things that are not laughing matters
I notice that Dapper Laugh's posters don't mention that he is a comedian. That's just as well, because his miserably unfunny routines could be prosecuted under Trade Descriptions if he associated his liberal baiting nonsense with comedy. 

Campus, who are hosting Dapper's chance 'to connect with his fans' are optimistic: when a campaign was launched to get him off ITV4, no counter-campaign appeared. Other obnoxious characters, like the one who likes to compensate for his low self-esteem by racing about in fast cars, at least had support. Dapper had to go on Newsnight and apologise for being a tool.

They are also suggesting that the night will be 'student friendly'. I'm depressed that his lowest-common denominator ramblings would appeal to anyone, let alone the future graduates of Scotland. Still, I guess that needed some excuse, and 'gay friendly' or 'woman friendly' would be outright lies.

So, yes, Dapper is unfunny, sexist, witless and tedious: it would be a sign of an equal society when a woman, or a trans stand-up, could be as atrocious as Dapper, and still get gigs. 

In the meantime, trying to 'no platform' him is a tactical mistake. I know that 'freedom of speech' has its problems (Dapper being one of them), but a petition to ban him is more dangerous.

Above all, it suggests that a certain authority has the right to decide whether a performer is socially acceptable. I'm not sure who the campaign is asking to get Dapper out, but it has to consider: if the right to ban an artist is approved in principle - who will be next? Freedom of speech is one of those things that has to be universal, even for an ugly slug mentality like Dapper. 

Furthermore, I am not sure Dapper is the problem - he is just a symptom. Given the quality of his banter, I'd suggest that he didn't come up with the idea of 'being rude as humour', but expresses a deeper sexism that he only represents. Kick out Dapper - but Jim 'Nick Nick' Davidson is still performing. 

I'd like to propose a few more creative protests.

Organise a rival gig on the day when he is in town. Get comedians who are opposed to Dapper's sexism to make jokes about Dapper. 

Attend a Man For a Day workshop with Diane Torr. Turn up at Dapper's gig in male drag and stand at the front. Heckle him - maybe rewrite the song from Bridge Over the River Kwai, replacing the name 'Hitler' with 'Dapper'.

Dapper is doing a meet and greet, with a free photo opportunity. Make some t-shirts with appropriate slogans (maybe a finger pointing to the side and 'this insults women'?). Get that photo op action, then put the image on twitter. 

Vandalise his posters. This has already started, but remember Mark Thomas' top tip: wear a high-viz jacket, and no-one will question you. 

Of course, these are more direct actions, and Dapper might think he is being bullied. How about asking Dapper to share the bill with a female comedian, who could make jokes about male insecurity. I'd worry that Dapper's fan might be hostile, but there's only about six of them in Glasgow, right?

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