Comedian Matt Rife Isn't Funny Enough to Be Offensive Which Is One Reason Why People Hate Him

Distractify Staff - Author

Nov. 29 2023, Published 3:57 p.m. ET

 Matt Rife attends the Forbes Top 50 Creators Celebration at Forbes on Fifth on Nov. 9, 2023, in New York City
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • Matt Rife is a comedian with over 18.2 million followers on TikTok.
  • His Netflix special, Natural Selection, hasn't set well with many people.
  • One joke in particular about domestic violence has put Matt in the hot seat.
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As of the time of this writing, the Rotten Tomatoes audience score for comedian Matt Rife's Netflix special, Natural Selection, is sitting at a dismal 16 percent based on over 500 ratings. How can someone whose TikTok account boasts an impressive 18.2 million followers have such an embarrassing response? Perhaps he should have taken a page out of Todd Barry's handbook, who once did an entire special based entirely on crowd work. After all, crowd work is what got Matt Rife all of his fans.

To be fair, a great deal of Matt's fans are women and they have flocked to the under-30 comic based on his good looks. This is why it was especially surprising to hear that Matt "doesn't pander to women," per Variety. No one is saying Matt has to pander to anyone, but he seems to have gone too far in an effort to prove that he isn't kowtowing to his female fanbase. So, why do people hate Matt Rife? Let's get into it.

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Matt Rife at the Forbes Top 50 Creators Celebration at Forbes on Fifth on Nov. 9, 2023, in New York City.
Source: Getty Images

Why do people hate Matt Rife? Here's what Matt thinks.

In June 2023, five full months before Matt's special dropped, he went on Tana Mongeau's podcast to chat all things Matt Rife. When Tana said the coolest part about being a comedian was never apologizing or caring about cancel culture, Matt jumped on that sentiment. As a reminder, cancel culture doesn't really exist. For proof look to Louis CK, whose 2022 album about cancelation earned him a Grammy. Incidentally he filmed that on March 8, 2020, which is International Women's Day.

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To no one's surprise, Matt hates the fictional idea of cancel culture. "The world is full of the most insane people in the entire world and everybody wants to be mad at everything. Everyone's feelings are hurt all the time, and I just don't have it in me to care anymore," he said. Matt goes on to say that all things are forgivable if your "intentions are pure." I couldn't disagree with that more. Saying horrible things and then quickly saying they're just jokes, doesn't make them less cruel.

Around 45 minutes into the podcast, Matt talks about how success is what makes people want to come for you. He adds that when you get to his level there's an image you want to portray but the "reality is you're going to say things people don't like" or take out of context. This is also when Matt reveals a possible resentment towards his lady fans because he can't tell if they like him because he's funny or because they are attracted to him. It's clear that doesn't sit well with him.

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We finally learn that according to Matt himself, people hate him for "no reason" but they actually hate him because they are jealous of him. Historically that's why he has disliked someone ergo, that's what's happening to him. It turns out there is at least one reason why people are unhappy with Matt Rife.

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People have been very critical of Matt Rife's special for very good reason.

As someone who is from Maryland and currently lives in Baltimore, I have heard and made my fair share of jokes at its expense. Baltimore has been the butt of many barbs, even though The Wire is still one of the best shows ever made. She simply can't catch a break. This is what makes Matt's joke about the city, and one woman in particular, all the more trite. Better people have referred to Charm City as rachet.

Hating on Baltimore isn't why Matt is receiving so much backlash. His special begins with Matt telling a story about eating at a diner in Baltimore where the hostess had a black eye. A friend who was allegedly with him said she should be back in the kitchen where no one can see her face. To which Matt said, "Yeah, but I feel like if she could cook, she wouldn't have that black eye."

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The responses to this story were predictably quick and angry. It prompted an "apology" from Matt via his Instagram stories. "If you've ever been offended by a joke I've told, here's a link to my official apology. Tap to solve the issue." Upon tapping, folks taken to a website that sold helmets for individuals with special needs.

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There are some subjects that require a certain amount of comedic finesse and domestic violence is definitely one of them. It's not untouchable as long as a person, and please forgive this turn of phrase but it's common in comedy, punches up not down. The person you are ridiculing shouldn't be part of a marginalized group and they certainly shouldn't be framed as a victim of assault. This is especially true if the comic making this unfunny observation is a straight white man.

It's not that people with a disability, sexual assault survivors, members of the LGBTQIA community, people of color, or women don't like jokes at their expense. They just don't like bad jokes, and Matt is simply not funny enough to joke about these sensitive issues. Now, if Matt wants to joke about how he looks like a Dick Tracy villain working at an Abercrombie and Fitch outlet store, then I'm tuning in. Until then, perhaps he should stick to crowd work.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

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