Matt Rife: Natural Selection. Matt Rife at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington DC. Cr. Mathieu Bitton/Netflix © 2023

Why Has Matt Rife Turned Against His Female Fanbase?

If you’ve been on TikTok, you’ve probably had Matt Rife pushed on you, but the stand-up comedian who became famous by posting his crowd work on TikTok is now pushing back against his fanbase—which is made up mainly of women. Because why would you want women to be fans of your work, right?

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Rife became an internet sensation because of how he deals with hecklers in the audience, posting videos of the interactions online—though I do think that comedians like Rife who have made a career out of posting their crowd work have changed the game negatively and made stand-up shows worse, but hey, what do I know? I was just an intern at a comedy theater for 3 years.

More recently, Rife has been on tour for the release of his comedy special for Netflix. It is, for many of us, the first time we’re seeing his actual written comedy, because he doesn’t really post his jokes online. That should have been a red flag, but hindsight is 20/20. Matt Rife: Natural Selection would’ve been better off giving in to Darwinism itself and dying out, because its main purpose for Rife seems to be to prove to his fanbase that he is for men, as well.

Great? Do you want a shot of testosterone or something? To be fair, Rife said he is “incredibly grateful” for women for basically making him famous, but he wants men to be his fans, too—and thinks his comedy is “more for guys.” It’s a weird energy I don’t really understand, made even weirder by his comedy special where he kicks things off with a domestic violence joke and more.

Weird flex to bash your female fanbase

It’s one thing to know that your work found a fandom online that it might not have found otherwise. On one hand, I guess I can see how Rife would have to pivot. But to then decide “Let me use women and then turn on them when I’ve found fame” really does feel like the worst possible move. Rife, again, only really posted his crowd work online, and women defended him in comments and online when people would criticize him for focusing on crowd work over jokes. Now? My entire FYP is filled with people turning on him over his actual jokes, and rightfully so.

In the special, he also goes on to try to “uplift” women, I guess, by mocking our obsessions with the Zodiac and crystals. “I’m so tired of you ladies blaming your poor decision making skills on planets that don’t even know you. Get this through your head, astrology isn’t this magical life guideline that predetermines your future in the stars. No, none of that. Your future future is dependent on your own thoughts, opinions, and actions. You are in complete control of how your future turns out. It’s not up here. It’s in here the whole time. It’s up to you.”

Is that meant to … make me happy? Why do men constantly feel the need to trash those who look to astrology? There is not a joke in there. All of this is, apparently, Rife’s appeal to the men.

Menly men men men

Rife has gained fame thanks to the women of TikTok. They rallied behind him, defended his comedy, and supported him. What he’s doing now is showing how he treats those fans. Quite frankly, using the women who he has often highlighted in his videos as a stepping stone to gain success with a male fanbase is gross.

I don’t care what his end goal was. Even if his intensions were pure and he meant to just simply show his comedy was not just crowd work, that’s not what he said. He said he wasn’t just for a female base. Women helped to make him. For years, Matt Rife was doing comedy with barely any success, until his TikTok rise to fame that was driven by women.

Maybe there’s a reason for that after all of this. I hope he likes his male fanbase. I hope they love his gross jokes and support his little TikToks because whatever the intentions behind this, it is an absolute betrayal of the people who helped to support his work as a comedian.

(featured image: Mathieu Bitton/Netflix)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.