The comedian behind Dapper Laughs, Daniel O'Reilly, has said his controversial “character” is “gone”.

During a contrite appearance on Newsnight, the polo neck-clad comic said: “I kind of got a little bit carried away with it to be honest with you”.

“I was creating this character and pushing the boundaries with this character”, he said. “I thought the people viewing it were saying ‘this is ridiculous’.”

He insisted Dapper Laughs (who had lines including “show her your penis, if she cries, she’s just playing hard to get”) was just a persona.

It follows a group of 44 comics signing an open later saying his brand of comedy was not funny, and more than 65,000 people signing a petition calling on ITV to drop his show. The broadcaster announced this week he would not be returning for a second series.

His appearance came as a showreel of O’Reilly uploaded to YouTube in 2012 but filmed in 2010 - before he was Dapper Laughs - was unearthed by Andrew Lowry. In the video he tells a man he is looking for “easy girls” and jokes about Cameron Diaz’s looks.

On Twitter, user Chris Coltrane pointed out O’Reilly saying he was “not really” a character act in 2013, and more of an “exaggeration”.

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