TikTok comedian Matt Rife’s issue with his female fanbase is misogyny at its finest

By Abby Amoakuh

Published Nov 21, 2023 at 02:53 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes

The gender dynamics of fandoms—we don’t speak about them enough. Male fans are often viewed as passionate and mature, whereas female fans are regarded as hysterical, vapid, childish, and victims of unoriginal marketing. Men are just fans, whereas women are naive fangirls and groupies. It’s an age-old stereotype, and it’s clear that it’s not heading anywhere anytime soon.

While some male artists have managed to embrace and celebrate a largely female fanbase like Harry Styles and the South Korean boy group BTS, others are still refusing to acknowledge the importance and validity of women’s taste. Surprise, surprise.

Matt Rife is an actor and comedian who gained viral recognition on TikTok after a clip of him joking with a female fan went viral.

@matt_rife

I now live in Iowa.🤠🥰😂 #comedy #standup #standupcomedy #funny #mattrife #improv #crowdwork #rizz

♬ original sound - Matt Rife

Having previously been lauded for his audience banter and boyish good looks, it looks like Matty has taken a serious turn in his routine. Rife, who has been considered a “woman’s comedian,” has been facing controversy for making a range of derisive comments that didn’t necessarily sit well with the women in the stands and online.

Let’s take his appearance on the Stiff Socks podcast in February of this year for example. Rife found himself at the receiving end of backlash after he made fun of women with “giant clit[s],” saying it was like “god left a tag on you.” Netizens argued that this comment was neither funny nor something that would resonate with his audience, considering their gender split.

Then, in an interview with Variety, Rife stated: “One of the biggest misconceptions of things I get ridiculed online for is people are like, ‘Oh, he only has a female fanbase.’ In the beginning, yes, because I did blow up on TikTok which is very female-dominant.”

This once again raises the question of what exactly is wrong with having a predominantly female fanbase. I am sure it makes more sense to critique people who think it is, rather than attempt to prove them right in their bigotry. Why base your opinion on someone’s artistry off their fanbase? Why communicate to young women that they should be embarrassed about their interests? However, Rife doesn’t seem interested in asking these questions.

Instead, the comedian has made it clear that he is on a mission to affirm that he appeals to both women and men. Rife continued in the interview: “It’s couples coming out. It’s groups of dudes who are coming. And that’s one thing that I wanted to tackle in this special was showing people that, like, despite what you think about me online, I don’t pander my career to women. I would argue this special is way more for guys.”

That special he’s speaking about? Well, it was dropped on Netflix on 15 November, and let’s just say that audiences were beyond shocked to see Rife kick off the entire show with a joke about domestic violence. Nice one.

During the show, titled Natural Selection, Rife began one of his routines by claiming: “I’ve only been to Baltimore one time, and the hostess who seats you had a black eye. A full black eye. It wasn’t like, ‘What happened?’ It was pretty obvious what happened. But we couldn’t get over, like, this is the face of the company? This is who you have greeting people?”

At this point, you’d probably expect him to show a bit of empathy, include societal commentary, or make a joke about the abuser. However, that is not how Rife decided to play it.

He continued: “And my boy, who I was with, was like, ‘Yeah, I feel bad for her, man, I feel like they should put her in the kitchen or something where nobody has to see her face.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, but I feel like if she could cook, she wouldn’t have that black eye.” Interesting punchline, to say the least.

“Testing the water, seeing if y’all are going to be fun or not,” Rife added in response to some shocked reactions in the audience. The comedian went on to crack jokes about women who blame their “poor decision-making skills” on astrology and belief in crystal healing. The entire routine was screaming misogyny and netizens were quick to point that out.

“I think Matt Rife’s special is so bad because he’s trying so hard to prove himself to other men through misogyny. It’s desperate and sad,” one X user noted.

Another added: “I’ve seen some of his clips and thought okay I wanna see this. The first joke out the gate is about hitting women so I turned it off.” Someone else commented: “I sat there for a good twenty minutes, thinking it had to get better if he was that hyped… Nope. Just a lot of mean-spirited jabs at various groups and no wit to them.”

https://twitter.com/ophelius414/status/1726931586879484133

Then, things started to take an even uglier turn when Rife decided to ‘apologise’—or not apologise— in the worst way possible. In an Instagram story, Rife posted a video of himself on stage, with the caption “If you’ve ever been offended by a joke I’ve told, here’s a link to my official apology video.” When you click on the link, it then takes you to a page that sells “special needs helmets.” Users across social media have been blasting the comedian for this post and his Netflix show as a whole.

@samanthafekete

This was a CHOICE of a response…. #mattrife #netflix

♬ original sound - SamanthaFekete

Far from an apology or genuine admission of any guilt, netizens have called his response “disgusting,” “ableist,” and another attempt at a joke that just wasn’t funny.

It is one thing not to acknowledge a female fanbase, but it’s a completely different thing to consistently ridicule the notion and actively try to dismantle it. It displays the sort of dismissive and reductive criticism that continues to devalue female fandoms and women’s opinions at large.

SCREENSHOT has reached out to Rife and his representatives for comment.

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