Matt Rife Responds To Netflix Special Criticism With Joke About People With Disabilities

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Comedian Matt Rife, who rose to fame for the viral TikTok clips from his stand up comedy shows, came under fire this week for opening his Netflix comedy special “Natural Selection” with a joke about domestic violence. Instead of apologizing following the mass backlash he continues to receive, Rife posted an Instagram story that appeared to insult people with disabilities.

The post, which was intended as a joke, is now being slammed for its perceived ableism. The comedian posted a photo of himself from the special, captioned “if you’ve ever been offended by a joke I’ve told–here’s a link to my official apology.” The link, labeled “tap to solve your issue”, redirects Instagram users to a listing for “special needs” helmets. This was intended to insinuate that any of his critics must have something wrong with them, and also an insult to those living with disabilities. The term “special needs” has been widely condemned by disability rights activists in recent years, and is often perceived to be offensive.


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

♬ original sound – SamanthaFekete

The response comes after Rife’s opening punchline for the Netflix special. The joke entailed a story about a restaurant hostess who had a black eye, which Rife quips she must have gotten from a man she could not cook for. The layered trivialization of domestic violence and perceived sexism have shrouded the Netflix special with criticism. Ahead of its release, Rife spoke about his intention to make the special more for a male audience, after primarily women flocked to his stand up shows nationwide.


He ate with that one Wednesday Addams joke a year ago and that wasnt even him, that was cause a baddie stole the show #netflix #mattrife

♬ original sound – 📺

Rife went on to further make jokes at women’s expense in what many felt was poor taste, especially due to female audience’s role in his come up in comedy. He went on to poke fun at Mercury retrogrades in astrology, crystals and spirituality, and a series of other typically women’s interests.


Astrology girlies are the sweetest and Matt Rife is better than this #mattrife #astrology #comedy

♬ original sound – reuben


Social Media Reactions

Many continue to slam the comedian’s seemingly offensive jokes about women and domestic violence, even more so amid his response to the backlash. Now, some reflect upon what his intentions were all along, as he appeared to never take issue with having primarily female fans until recently.

Some TikTok creators ponder whether the comedian is struggling with his recent fame and it is reflecting poorly in his material. One creator assessed that Rife likely will continue to insult women in order to pursue being taken seriously by men in the comedy world.



♬ original sound – akili

Many continue to pick apart Rife’s material and analyze why they feel he lacks perspective.


Others found his jokes about diverse communities to be a red flag earlier on in his comedy career long before the special.

Some point out that they feel the memes about Rife online are funnier than his special.

Rife has not spoken further on the mass criticism he continues to receive.

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