Rife issued a shocking response to a controversial joke he made in his Netflix stand-up special in which he mocked victims of domestic abuse.
Matt Rife has responded to criticism over a joke he told in his Netflix special that made light of domestic violence, but has only managed to stir the pot further. The comedian, who rose to fame on social media with videos of his crowd interactions, debuted his first stand-up special, Natural Selection, with the streamer on November 15.
Rife begins his set, recorded in Baltimore, by calling the city “ratchet” and then launching into a rambling story concerning a restaurant “hostess” who had a black eye.
“The hostess who seats you had a black eye,” Rife said to laughs and cheers from the crowd. "A full black eye. It wasn't like, 'What happened?' It was pretty obvious what happened,” the comic continued. “But we couldn't get over, like, this is the face of the company? This is who you have greeting people?”
He goes on: "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.’”
Social media users were quick to react, with many deriding Rife for using his first shot at a larger audience to make a joke that some criticized as everything from misogynistic to lazy. On Monday, Rife finally responded to the outcry. Taking to his Instagram stories, the comedian posted a photo of himself on stage.
“If you’ve ever been offended by a joke I’ve told,” text on the image reads, “here is a link to my official apology.” At the bottom of the photo is a link labeled, “Tap to resolve your issue.” Users who click on the link are redirected to a website selling helmets for people with special needs.
The apology further alienated fans, many of whom were initially endeared to Rife because of his warm interactions with women in early videos. In an interview with Variety to promote the special, Rife seemed to shirk his reputation as a comic solely for women.
“One thing that I wanted to tackle in this special was showing people that despite what you think about me online, I don’t pander my career to women,” Rife told the outlet. “I would argue this special is way more for guys.”