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What’s the Deal With Matt Rife and Being ‘Pretty’?

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

The last time I wrote about Matt Rife, I forgot he was Wild ‘N Out. I’m sorry. There were more important people on that show, and Matt Rife being bad at jokes and touching Zendaya’s face to the point where she still didn’t spit water out of her mouth at his bad jokes was not enough to get me to remember him.

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Now, I’m back again to talk about his obsession with being “pretty.” Rife has gone on multiple podcasts to talk about how hard it is being pretty and being a comedian. For him, it seems that being “good looking” is a cross he has to bear. What he doesn’t seem to understand is that his jokes are just bad and if he had better material, he might not have to deal with the pretty comments so much.

To be fair, one of the commentaries going around about Matt Rife is that he has to deal with women in the audience yelling at him to “take his shirt off” when he’s doing stand-up. That is not okay; that’s sexualizing someone when they’re trying to work, and we are better than that. That being said, Rife has said in interviews that he’s shocked comedians like Whitney Cummings can be both funny and sexy at the same time, which then just fully breaks my brain as a person because … is this man insinuating that he’s struggling as a comedian by being pretty? Iconic comedian Lenny Bruce was famously very pretty.

The pretty comments, paired with him making a tasteless domestic violence joke at the start of his special and trashing not one but two fanbases that built him up? Rife has made it clear that he wants to be liked specifically by one demographic and he’ll fight tooth and nail to get there.


I’ve never heard someone call themselves hot SO OFTEN (and then be so angry about it… baby isn’t this what you bought— i mean, what you wanted??) #becarefulwhatyouwishfor Part 1: @HANNAH vc: @culturework commentary on malevalidation: @TherapyJeff @akili #mattrife #naturalselection #netflix #netflixspecial #comedy #handsomesquidward #tanamongeau #cancelledpodcast #hannahneuman #unluckyp1ckle #celebritea #celebrity

♬ Retro Modern Lo-Fi Lounge, 10 minutes(1003987) – 8.864

You’re pretty. Get over it.

Rife is far from the first comedian to be pretty but he sure loves talking about it. For one thing, women comedians have often talked about having to combat their looks with comedy, and while Rife did acknowledge that many dress down to combat that, I’ve watched Amy Poehler do improv for too many years to see how she fights back at the idea.

I’m sorry to this man, but his jokes aren’t good. They don’t land. His special proved it, and while I hadn’t seen his jokes prior to the special, what I have seen since makes sense as to why he wasn’t getting booked. There aren’t jokes there. They’re just refurbished one-liners that most of us heard in middle school and high school that he’s passing off as his brand of comedy. I’ve spent many nights working at a comedy theater, and even when stand-ups bombed, there was some better material in there.

So Rife being “pretty” is far from the worst thing in the world. This latest obsession with hating the pretty side of the conversation has gotten weird because it does feel targeted again at those who loved Rife from TikTok and social media and not his material.

(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.

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