Comedian Matt Rife came under fire for his new Netflix stand-up special, “Natural Selection,” after clips of him joking about domestic violence went viral on Monday.
Rife, who has been acting for over a decade and has been featured on MTV’s “Wild ‘n Out,” posted a response to his critics on his Instagram Story Monday afternoon.
“If you have ever been offended by a joke I told, here is a link to my official apology,” he wrote. The link in her Instagram story leads to a medical website that sells helmets for people with special needs.
Representatives for Rife did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
“Natural Selection,” released Wednesday on Netflix, tackles topics like social media trolls, spirituality and having children. He opened the special with a joke about a restaurant waiter who took his order in Baltimore. He described how she had a black eye.
“And my boy that 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 no one has to see her face, you know?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, but I feel like if she knew how to cook, she wouldn’t have this black eye,'” Rife said.
He then said he was “testing the waters, to see if you guys were going to be funny or not.”
“I think we start the show with domestic violence, the rest of the show should go pretty well after that,” he said.
The clip of Rife’s opening joke was viewed millions of times on TikTok and thousands on X. People condemned him for taking the abuse lightly.
“I’m really trying to understand how this can be made so funny? Like he blames the victim? wrote one commenter on TikTok.
“I would love to see him explain what makes the joke funny and see if he can say anything other than that, it’s shocking,” said another.
He was also criticized for a joke he made later in the special about the penis of a former classmate who had special needs.
Rife began gaining popularity on TikTok through his crowd work, or engagement with his audience, in July 2022. Ticketmaster crashed this year when tickets for his “ProbleMATTic” world tour went on sale. sale.
He has amassed a platform of 18.2 million followers on TikTok, many of them women. Critics said they felt he deliberately alienated his female fans by making them the butt of many jokes.
“A comedian who ruins his relationship with a large portion of his fan base because he wanted to be like everyone else annoying–The Netflix special ‘You Can’t Tell Jokes Anymore’ audience is actually just downright depressing,” YouTuber Hank Green published on X.
Comedian Pat Loller said on TikTok: “He doesn’t like his audience and he fears they’re only there to watch him. So he opened his show with a joke about domestic violence just to let these ladies know: stop giving him money.
Rife told Variety on November 14 that he had been “ridiculed” because he had a predominantly female fan base. He said the crowds at his shows were “50/50” and insisted he wasn’t “trusting my career to women.”
“I would say this special is much more for the guys,” he told the publication.