The Controversy of Matt Rife

Ohioan Matt Rife first made his mark in comedy at age 15 when he began performing open mic nights locally and soon became a regular at The Laugh Factory, touring alongside big name comedians Dane Cook, Ralphie May, and Erik Griffin – and eventually becoming one himself!

After his success on TikTok, Netflix secured him his own special in 2023: Natural Selection features an opening joke about domestic violence that caused widespread outrage among viewers.

He’s a troll

Matt Rife made waves on TikTok thanks to his crowd work clips that playfully mock audience relationships and identify “red flags.” Now an accomplished comedian, Rife is currently developing a workplace comedy special for Netflix and will make an appearance in an upcoming NBC show as well as appearing on MTV variety shows and in roles like Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Though he has many fans, his decision to mock domestic violence in order to appeal to men is appalling and not funny. This response caused outrage from women as well as critics such as TikToker Drew Afualo – known for responding to misogynist men via social media.

Critics have expressed amazement that Rife managed to secure a Netflix special that has held onto the top 10 spot among all comedy specials. But Rife has been performing comedy for over 10 years, using his trademark regressive humor with the goal of reaching his broad target audience without offending or upsetting anyone.

He’s a jerk

Matt Rife has made waves in Hollywood as an actor who stars in TV shows and movies, but his sudden success hasn’t come without controversy; there has been considerable backlash over jokes which offended many people.

Ohio native and 28-year-old Mike Fanning first gained notice with an incredible TikTok clip featuring crowd work from one of his stand-up performances, garnering over 40 million hits and 5 million likes in no time at all, instantly catapulting him to fame and rocketing him onto comedy charts worldwide.

Now, Rife is selling out major venues across the country on his “ProbleMATTic World Tour,” but his Netflix special Natural Selection made headlines due to a domestic violence joke which offended many people. While some people have called for a boycott against his comedy act, Mizejewski believes this approach would be counterproductive; rather than boycott Rife’s comedy she believes his comedy reflects larger social constructs about women and men in society.

He’s a racist

Matt Rife stands apart from many contemporary comedians by refusing to apologize when his jokes have offended anyone. On an episode of Cancelled podcast in June 2023, he defended comedy as an avenue for distasteful subject matter; and claimed that apologizing only serves to further sanitize one’s public feed.

Rife’s meteoric rise to fame can be traced largely back to TikTok, where he amassed a substantial online following. On a recent episode of BFFs podcast he acknowledged his mostly female fanbase while asserting that men were jealous of his success; thus leading him to change tactics so as to appeal more directly to men.

Rife’s stand-up routine often touches upon sensitive topics like drugs, old people and insomnia. At his sold-out Hollywood Bowl set he joked about domestic violence while smoking a joint with a 68-year-old woman; additionally he discussed an encounter between himself and an ex-partner during a sexual encounter; many have found these jokes offensive or inappropriate for audiences of that age group. Many critics have found these remarks offensive as they cross boundaries of race, sexism and homophobia.

He’s a sexist

Matt Rife appeared to be on the verge of making waves as an emerging comedian when he appeared in a TikTok special and created buzz about himself. Now however, Rife has found himself the target of massive outrage and criticism as one of many male internet comedians who regularly mock and degrade women online.

He’s made jokes about menstrual cycles, belittling of women’s hobbies and domestic violence jokes that are designed to make women feel inferior and degraded, which is far from humorous.

While I understand the appeal of dark humor, Rife’s jokes aren’t funny and are actually offensive and misogynist – clear indication of his intent to offend and demean women on his platform – which should not be his goal.