TikTok-famous comedian Matt Rife slammed for joking about domestic violence

The disappointment in Rife is also rooted in the fact that the majority of his 18.2 million followers on TikTok are believed to be women

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Fri 24 Nov 2023, 5:05 PM

Last updated: Fri 24 Nov 2023, 5:16 PM

Comedian Matt Rife has courted controversy with the release of his Netflix Special, Natural Selection, where he is seen cracking jokes about domestic violence.

The American stand-up comic, who has routinely made waves on TikTok in the last year or so, has been accused of furthering "sexist bias" and "misogyny".

The disappointment in Rife is also rooted in the fact that the majority of his 18.2 million followers on TikTok are believed to be women who catapulted him to fame.

In 'Natural Selection', Rife opened his set with an anecdote about a restaurant he visited with his friend. At the eatery, he noticed that the woman serving the duo had a black eye. It was his joke after this statement that has riled up people, especially women, online. Rife said he wondered why the woman wasn't made to work in the kitchen instead of interacting with customers. If that wasn't enough already, "Yeah, but I feel like if she could cook, she wouldn't have that black eye."

Shortly after the set was released on Netflix, an excerpt from it went viral on social media, including TikTok, the very same platform that made him who he is today. Rife, who made a name in the comedy circuit for his takes on sex, dating and relationships, is now under fire for “punching down” instead of joking about the ones in positions of influence or power.

On X, formerly Twitter, a user said that Rife turned his back on his followers the moment he landed a comedy special on Netflix.

Another one said, "Not Matt Rife building his platform on catering to his female audience and then opening his Netflix special with a domestic violence joke."

A former fan of Rife's said that she no longer supported him after watching his latest jokes.

Following the backlash, on November 20, Rife posted an Instagram story saying, “If you’ve ever been offended by a joke I’ve told, here’s a link to my official apology”. The link takes users to a website for “special needs helmets,” prompting more criticism and accusations of ableism against the comedian.

Earlier this month, in an interview with Variety Magazine, Rife disputed the belief that he was only catering to his female fan base. "In the beginning, yes, because I did blow up on TikTok, which is very female-dominant. So, I get that perspective," he said.

"I would argue this special is way more for guys. I wanted to make this special for everybody," he said of Natural Selection.

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