Matt Rife’s Natural Selection: A Controversial Comedy Special Sparks Backlash and Debate

Stand-up comic Matt Rife faces criticism over his new Netflix special, Natural Selection, for jokes that touch on sensitive subjects, including domestic violence.

Matt Rife, the 28-year-old stand-up comic and social media sensation, has quickly risen to fame with his new Netflix special, Natural Selection. However, the comedy special has not been without its fair share of controversy. Rife’s jokes, particularly those that make light of domestic violence and abuse, have sparked a heated debate among viewers. In addition, his response to the criticism has only added fuel to the fire. Let’s take a closer look at Rife’s rise to stardom, the controversial remarks in his special, and the ensuing backlash.

Who is Matt Rife?

Matt Rife gained popularity in the world of social media, boasting 18.2 million followers on TikTok and 6.4 million followers on Instagram. He leveraged his online fame to produce self-made comedy specials, including Matt Rife: Only Fans, Matthew Steven Rife, and Walking Red Flag. Rife also made appearances on popular shows such as MTV’s Wild ‘n Out and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. His success on Netflix with Natural Selection marked a significant milestone in his career, as he had been honing his comedic skills for over a decade.

The Controversial Jokes from Natural Selection:

Filmed at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., Natural Selection opens with Rife recounting a visit to Baltimore, Maryland, where he and a friend encountered a female hostess with a black eye at a “ratchet” restaurant. Rife jokes about the situation, remarking on the hostess’s appearance and suggesting she should be placed in the kitchen where her face wouldn’t be visible. Some audience members laughed, but others found the joke offensive, particularly given the sensitive nature of domestic violence.

Rife’s Response to the Criticism:

While Rife did not directly address the controversy surrounding his jokes about domestic violence, he did make a statement on Instagram that further fueled the uproar. In an Instagram Story, Rife shared a link that appeared to lead to an apology, but instead directed viewers to a medical website selling helmets for people with special needs. This move only intensified the backlash and led to further criticism.


Matt Rife’s Natural Selection has ignited a heated debate about the boundaries of comedy and the responsibility of comedians to consider the impact of their jokes. While some argue that comedy should be a space for pushing boundaries and challenging societal norms, others believe that jokes about sensitive topics such as domestic violence can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and trivialize serious issues. As the controversy continues to unfold, it raises important questions about the role of comedy in society and the need for comedians to strike a delicate balance between humor and empathy.






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