The world of comedy has evolved over the past decade to meet the eyes of our developing society as a whole. Along with this new age of humor, has also brought along more controversial ideas into play while also placing boundaries on top comedians of what is okay to joke and not joke about.
Comedians have made the choice to either stay within the guidelines of comedy or to branch out into controversial jokes in a desperate attempt for attention. Society chooses to stay ignorant to this newfound “comedy” because it is only a “joke” though repercussions are highly needed.
Comedian Matt Rife has recently been under fire for an insensitive joke he made on his Netflix special, Matt Rife: Natural Selection. Upon the special’s premiere, the special immediately received poor feedback as many did not find Rife funny. Viewers had even commented that Rife’s comedy alone, is unwatchable without the crowd work conversations.
Rife’s career has been built off viral TikTok videos showcasing the said crowd work. Rife only came into public attention for his “good” looks though it is quite ironic that has become the hotspot for the media coverage of his downfall.
In the special, Rife opened with the domestic violence joke to “test the waters” of the crowd. Regardless it seems that it made them more uncomfortable than wanting to laugh as it was extremely uncalled for.
He told a story about being in a “ratchet” restaurant in Baltimore with a friend where they noticed their female waiter had a black eye. He then went on to go on about how they wondered why the restaurant did not put her in the back so customers would not have to see her black eye.
Rife’s unsettling punch line, “Yeah, but I feel like if she could cook, she would not have that black eye.”
He lastly added, “I figure if we start the show with domestic violence the rest of the show should be smooth sailing.”
With one insensitive joke after another, the aspiring comedian seems to be tired of the demographic of his female-dominated audience despite having garnered his initial fame thanks to his popularity among the female audience. Media outlets have stated that Rife’s reason for his joke was to attack his female viewers to appeal to men, but it really only backfired on him.
When the special was released, social media had caught onto the controversial jokes quickly, prompting Rife to provide an explanation for the offensive humor. Rifecould have simply held himself accountable and apologized, but instead, the debuting comedian immersed himself in deeper trouble.
“If you have ever been offended by a joke I have told, here is a link to my official apology,” he wrote alongside a link that said: “Tap to solve the issue.”
This linked followers to a website to purchase special needs helmets, mocking the special needs community.
At what point do comedians feel fulfilled for the offensive jokes they say? Matt Rife is not the only comedian to have made such immoral jokes. Nonetheless, he is one of the more vocal ones in recent years without having shame in his comments. And as viewers we barely hold them accountable for their actions, enabling similar behavior to persist in the comedy, and the greater entertainment industry.
It is vital that we as the consumers of the entertainment industry stay aware of who we are letting on our screens impact the way we think or talk. Matt Rife is not a comedian who impacts the comedic world with any good intentions.
Comedians such as Theo Von or Joe Rogan point out controversial topics to discuss with a light humor and some do not appreciate their views but they do not go over the line that has been set by social norms. These comedians are the ones who we should want to see addressing topics effectively with open ended discussions rather than misogynistic men who seemingly run the industry.
Today, comedy is in rough hands though with time and accountability, it can change for the better.