Matt Rife’s Netflix Special Sparks Controversy with Jokes About Domestic Violence

Comedian Matt Rife faces backlash over his new Netflix special, Natural Selection, for making light of domestic violence and abuse.

Matt Rife, a rising star in the comedy world and popular TikTok personality, has found himself at the center of controversy with his latest Netflix special, Natural Selection. Despite its initial success, the hour-long comedy special has faced criticism for several jokes that trivialize domestic violence and abuse. Rife’s response to the backlash has also drawn scrutiny. Let’s take a closer look at Rife’s journey to fame and the remarks that have landed him in hot water.

Who is Matt Rife?

Matt Rife gained fame through social media platforms, particularly TikTok, where he boasts 18.2 million followers. With an additional 6.4 million followers on Instagram, Rife has successfully transitioned his online popularity into self-produced comedy specials. He released Matt Rife: Only Fans on YouTube in December 2021, followed by Matthew Steven Rife and Walking Red Flag earlier this year. Rife has also made appearances on shows like MTV’s Wild ‘n Out and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Rife’s Jump to Netflix Success
The release of Natural Selection on Netflix marked a significant milestone for Rife. Despite having been in the comedy industry for over a decade and self-producing his specials, the opportunity to collaborate with a major streaming platform was a validation of his talent. In an interview with Variety, Rife expressed gratitude for the recognition and acceptance from a network standard, acknowledging the hard work it took to reach that level.

Controversial Jokes in Natural Selection
Natural Selection, filmed at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., opens with Rife recounting a visit to a “ratchet” restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland. He describes encountering a hostess with a black eye and proceeds to make jokes about the incident. Rife’s comments sparked outrage, particularly for his insensitivity towards domestic violence.

Response to the Criticism
In the same interview with Variety, Rife acknowledged that his TikTok fan base is predominantly female, but he aimed to create a special that appealed to everyone. However, the jokes in Natural Selection seemed to resonate more with male viewers. Despite the backlash, Rife did not address the controversy directly. Instead, he posted an Instagram Story with a misleading link titled “Tap to solve your issue,” which redirected users to a medical website selling helmets for people with special needs. This response only added fuel to the fire.


Matt Rife’s Netflix special, Natural Selection, has generated significant controversy due to jokes that make light of domestic violence and abuse. While Rife’s rise to fame through social media platforms has been impressive, the backlash he now faces serves as a reminder of the responsibility comedians have to consider the impact of their words. As the debate surrounding the boundaries of comedy continues, it remains to be seen how Rife and other comedians will navigate the fine line between humor and offense.






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