The downfall of comedian Matt Rife


NATURAL SELECTION: Matt Rife’s comedy special released on November 15, 2023. (Netflix)

Jordyn Banks | Writer

December 7, 2023

If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you’ve probably heard of the comedian Matt Rife. You know, the one with the chiseled jawline that girls have become obsessed with. Rife rose to fame in 2022, charming the world with his stand-up comedy and crowd work, gaining millions of predominantly female followers. However, his recent Netflix comedy special “Natural Selection” sparked mass controversy. 

Rife’s first foul was beginning the special with a domestic abuse joke. He jokes about going to a restaurant with his friends and seeing that the waitress had a black eye. Rife admits that he thought her black eye was hard to look at, and one of his friends asked why they wouldn’t put her in the kitchen so that no one had to look at her face. Rife replied, “If she could cook, she wouldn’t have that black eye.” This sparked an outcry from fans for being humorless and offensive.

One would think that with a majority female fanbase, he would stray away from jokes that would purposely anger them. But Rife decided to go in the opposite direction. On a recent “Chicks in the Office” podcast, he expressed that he is happy that more men like his comedy, as many of his female supporters like him solely for his looks. He adds that his “comedy is so much more for guys than girls” and that he strives for his shows to feel like a “hang out for the boys.”

FAKE APOLOGY: Matt Rife’s apology directing fans to a website selling special needs helmets. (Instagram)

“He gained popularity because of his looks and is frustrated by that. He is actively distancing himself from his female fans because he wants recognition for his comedy, but is going about it incorrectly,” senior Ava Martinez remarked. 

In response to online hate, Rife took to Instagram, directing those offended to a website selling special needs helmets, further insulting those who disapproved of his special. Some defend him, claiming that what he said was a joke and his job as a comedian is to tell jokes. Others disagree, claiming that comedy should be funny and that what Rife said was just offensive. 

 “He is extremely insensitive but also misguided as to what will attract a male audience. Jokes about abuse are not what all men want to hear, and it’s sad that he feels that way. This special was a poor decision for his career and character,” senior Sara Sims added.

If 2023 has shown us anything, it has demonstrated the benefits of having a large female audience– making Rife’s effort to push away his female supporters financially disastrous. Women and their spending has been shown to significantly boost the economy in 2023, with Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour,” Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” and Beyonce’s “Renaissance Tour” generating billions of dollars in revenue, all with predominantly female audiences. Finally, Matt Rife gained fame and money from his female supporters. A strong female audience is very powerful. Unfortunately, Rife overlooked that.

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