How Matt Rife Used Social Media To Become A Stand-Up Star

Rife’s been ruffling more than a few feathers since he blew up.

BYDemi Phillips
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matt rife

Comedian Matt Rife caused more than a little stir with his controversial Netflix special, Natural Selection. What caused the uproar? It all began with his opening “joke,” which poked fun at victims of domestic violence. Rife, in a weak attempt to explain it away, remarked to the audience, "I figure if we start the show with domestic violence the rest of the show should be smooth sailing."

Since then, things haven’t gone as smoothly for him. Nonetheless, his rise to fame was achieved by cashing in on his social media presence. Before landing Netflix specials and brand ambassadorships, Matt Rife was building a secure fanbase online. Moreover, most of his earlier fans were women. However, since his string of controversial moments, which even includes beefing a six-year-old boy, the social media star has been on rocky terrain. As a result, many believe that his budding career might be over before it even really began.  

Read More: Cringiest Matt Rife Jokes That Landed Him In Viral Trouble

“The Lazy Hero:” Matt Rife Blows Up

Originally from central Ohio, Matt Rife began his professional comedy career as a teenager. However, nothing changed for the better part of eleven years. That is, until TikTok opened the doors for him. As with most other budding comedians, Rife began sharing snippets of his stand-up routines online. In these videos, he often engaged with the audience, making for spontaneous, funny exchanges. In July 2022, one of these clips went viral, amassing over 40 million views.

During that period, Matt Rife experienced an unexpected transition from a mediocre club comic to a star. His stand-up segments, particularly his crowd work, became a hit on TikTok practically overnight, propelling him into comedy stardom. Eventually, Rife self-sponsored his trip to the popular Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal. He hadn’t been invited, as he was still a no-name in the industry at the time. However, it was while he was on this trip that he was inspired to post a video of himself performing in Phoenix, Arizona.  

The video was of his onstage banter with a female audience member. She had just broken up with her boyfriend because he was not handling his share in their home. Rife, on hearing that the ex-boyfriend in question was an ER worker,  interrupted her and exclaimed: “Oh I’m sorry – you broke up with a hero?!” The video, which he cheekily titled “Lazy Hero” was launched into TikTok’s stratosphere without a backward glance. Within just two days, however, it had earned over 20 million views. Subsequently, Matt Rife’s own TikTok followed suit, skyrocketing to a staggering 15.6 million within just a few short months. Every video he posted afterward went viral.

Read More: Matt Rife Net Worth 2023: What Is The Comedian Worth?

Comedian And Boy Idol

Importantly, while half of Matt Rife’s fans were after his humor, a more vocal half were swooning over the comedian himself. Nonetheless, the fact that he garnered a largely female following did not faze him much. Naturally, he leaned into it, so much that the background on his official website page was (and still is) a shirtless picture of him, holding a microphone. Unsurprisingly, this gimmick worked well in his favor. 

When he boldly announced his ProbleMATTic World Tour, the response was nothing short of phenomenal. Tickets for all 260 tour dates across North America, Europe, and Australia vanished within a mere 48 hours and even caused a virtual stampede that managed to crash Ticketmaster's website. Such was the demand, that resale tickets commanded eye-watering prices, some exceeding $500.

Even his Netflix special, Natural Selection, was, by metric standards, quite successful. Despite the controversy it suffered, his fan base morphed, as more men began to lean into his offensive style of comedy. Starting in the top 10 on November 15, the special held its ground for two consecutive weeks. However, now that most of the hubbub for and against Matt Rife has all but died down to a whisper, no one knows what other trajectory his career is bound to take.

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