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

The Last Thing I Want Is a ‘Workplace Comedy’ From Matt Rife

I guess we learned the wrong lessons from Matt Rife’s Netflix special Natural Selection. Remember when he turned on his entire fanbase during his special? None of that matters, apparently, because now he’s on the path towards even more Netflix content. Yay?

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Well, at least he’s going back to his roots. His next special will be Netflix’s first all-crowd work special. So I guess you won’t hear jokes written by Rife, but instead just watch a show that is a longer version of his TikTok videos. It is set to film at The Comedy Zone in Charlotte, NC, but that’s not all Netflix is giving Rife.

Outside of his comedy specials that he has lined up with Netflix, part of his deal is the production of a workplace comedy. He also is set to headline the Netflix Is a Joke comedy festival in Los Angeles. Speaking to Deadline, he had previously talked about acting and how much he loves it maybe more than stand-up:

“I love acting just as much, if not more than standup. I just haven’t been doing it as long and I haven’t been able to get my foot in the door as well as I have been with stand-up. But now that I have the freedom in success via stand-up, it opens up avenues in other areas that I am passionate about, like film and television, that I’m hoping I can make that transition over to, because it can only feed itself.”

This sounds like hell

Rife has proven that his written jokes lean towards sexism, so why would I want to see an entire show where he’s acting out said jokes? This workplace comedy setup has been done time and time again, and while the deal simply says that he can do it, I don’t really want to see what it means. Given how his last stand-up special went, I don’t think that his premise is going to go well by any stretch of the imagination.

Workplace comedies work because there is a special kind of heart to them. Shows like The Office, Parks and Recreation, Abbott Elementary, aand even the original run of Night Court work because there is a sweet energy behind the jokes that we’re watching play out. Given how Rife handled jokes in his special and the aftermath (like going on Jordan Peterson’s show), I don’t have high hopes for what is to come in the future of Rife’s comedy career.

We’ve seen what Rife is capable of with his comedy specials, and it doesn’t bode well for a scripted television series.

(featured image: 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.