Who is comedian Matt Rife and how did he become popular?

Matt Rife made a name for himself after self-publishing his works via YouTube (Frazer Harrison/Getty)
Matt Rife made a name for himself after self-publishing his works via YouTube (Frazer Harrison/Getty)

Stand-up comedian Matt Rife has been slammed for being "disrespectful and offensive" after his "sarcastic" response to critics calling him out over a domestic violence joke.

The American was recently given his first Netflix comedy special after growing a massive following online. However, his streaming debut was marred with misery when he joked about a woman being beaten up, presumably by her partner.

In the show, titled Natural Selection, the comedian recalled a time he went to a restaurant in “ratchet” Baltimore where “the hostess who seats you had a black eye”.

He said: "A full black eye. It wasn't like, 'What happened?' It was pretty obvious what happened. But we couldn't get over, like, this is the face of the company? This is who you have greeting people?

"And my boy, who I was with, was like, 'Yeah, I feel bad for her, man, I feel like they should put her in the kitchen or something where nobody has to see her face'.

"And I was like, 'Yeah, but I feel like if she could cook, she wouldn't have that black eye’.”

The show was released on Netflix on November 15. Many people criticised him on social media.

In response to critics, Rife directed people who may have been “offended by a joke I told” to his “official apology” that was labelled “Tap to solve your issue” on his Instagram Stories. Those who clicked the link were led to a website selling helmets for people with special needs.

Many social media users felt Rife’s fake apology was in poor taste, with one person writing: “There’s a difference between an edgy joke and just being disrespectful and distasteful.”

Another added: "Oh good. Ableism to chase the misogyny."

So who is Matt Rife?

Who is Matt Rife?

Matt Rife is a 28-year-old comedy writer and stand-up performer who comes from Ohio.

He made a name for himself after self-publishing works via YouTube.

Rife reportedly first took an interest in comedy at age 14 when a teacher said there would be a talent show at his high school. After a friend encouraged him to take part, he started performing professionally a year later at 15.

He has four siblings: three older stepsisters and one younger half-sister. His father, Michael Eric Gutzke, took his own life when Rife was 17 months old.

How did he become popular?

Rife started self-publishing his comedy work, posting it on YouTube and Facebook reels first. The interaction videos went viral and started attracting a cult following.

His self-produced comedy specials were called Only Fans (2021), Matthew Steven Rife (2023) and Walking Red Flag (2023).

Rife also garnered attention when he appeared on the American comedy talent show Bring the Funny. However, he was eliminated in week eight.