By Adam S. Levy For Dailymail.com
04:17 21 Nov 2023, updated 04:27 21 Nov 2023
- To kick off his set in the special, Rife told a joke critics said was sexist and made light of domestic violence
- Rife’s joke drew a number of critics on Twitter, many of whom said they were satisfied to see the TikTok sensation in hot water
- Rife last week said he doesn’t ‘really adhere to this whole sensitivity rumor in the comedy world that you can’t say anything anymore’
Comedian Matt Rife on Monday responded after he was criticized on social media over a joke about domestic violence he told in his recently-released Netflix special Natural Selection.
‘If you’ve ever been offended by a joke I’ve told, here’s a link to my official apology,’ Rife, 28, said in an Instagram Stories post, linking to a website that sells helmets for people with special needs.
To kick off his set in the special, which was filmed at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington DC, Rife told a joke critics said was sexist and made light of domestic violence.
The Columbus, Ohio-born comedian did a bit about the contrast between the nation’s capital and its biggest nearby neighboring city in Baltimore.
‘I’ve only been to Baltimore one time, and the hostess who seats you had a black eye – a full black eye,’ Rife, who gained exposure on the social media platform TikTok, said in the special. ‘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?’
Rife’s story continued: ‘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.”‘
Amid pushback from members of the crowd, he acknowledged the strong subject matter he covered in his material, then segued into another routine.
‘Testing the water, seeing if y’all are going to be fun or not,’ Rife said. ‘I figured we start the show with domestic violence, the rest of the show should be pretty smooth sailing.
‘Of course I felt bad for her. She should have had her protection crystals, you know what I mean?’
Rife’s joke drew a number of critics on Twitter, many of whom said they were satisfied to see the TikTok sensation in hot water.
One user said: ‘Matt Rife opens his special with a “if a woman could cook she wouldn’t have a black eye” joke. Really? This is your god?’
Another said, ‘The way women catapulted matt rife into popularity and the second he gets a comedy special on netflix he immediately betrays them with a joke about domestic violence … crazy innit.’
Said one user: ‘Matt Rife: my special is for guys… Immediately opens up with a domestic violence joke.’
One user posted a meme of Stephen Colbert eating popcorn with 3D glasses on, with the caption, ‘Me witnessing the downfall of Matt Rife after saying from Day 1 that he gives off ‘president of the frat that women warn other women about’ vibes.’
Another person said they were surprised at the joke Rife told after thinking it had been an ‘overblown’ controversy.
‘My tiktok fyp has been a tonne of people complaining about the Matt Rife domestic violence joke, and tbh bc of the way my fyp is i kinda assumed it was being overblown,’ the user said. ‘When i finally saw the actual “joke” though… I have to apologise, y’all were so correct.’
One user commented on Rife’s response, saying, ‘BIG YIKES.’
Rife last week spoke with Variety in a Q&A in which he said he doesn’t ‘really adhere to this whole sensitivity rumor in the comedy world that you can’t say anything anymore,’ calling the notion ‘bulls***.’
He added: ‘You can say whatever you want. Now, you have to prepare for repercussions. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to how do you sleep at night. You know what I mean? Other people’s perspective of you isn’t your responsibility.’
Rife said that he goes onstage with the intention of ‘making people laugh’ and isn’t afraid on delving into topics that could be considered ‘dark humor.’
Said Rife: ‘I don’t believe there’s anything you can’t talk about if you do it correctly, in the right way, at the right time.
‘You have to be yourself and not worry about offending a certain amount of people. You might miss out on a joke that you’re worried might offend somebody, but might make you a million new fans.’