In an effort to win some of that prized masculine attention, Rife began his big set with a little old-school misogyny, a joke about a hostess with a black eye. “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,’” Rife said. “And I was like, ‘Yeah, but I feel like if she could cook, she wouldn’t have that black eye.’” Guffaw, I guess.
The idea that Rife is trying to change his brand isn’t a leap, by the way. Rife has literally said he doesn’t want to make comedy for women.
The week before his special began streaming, Rife told Variety: “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.” Similarly, on the Chicks in the Office podcast, Rife said he attracts audiences of 90% women who “aren’t fans for the right reasons,” who quickly realize his shtick isn’t for them. “So, they bring their boyfriends or husbands who are always reluctant because they fuckin’ probably bought the tickets. They didn’t wanna be there, and then like 20 minutes into the show, they realize my comedy is so much more for guys than it is girls.”
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And what better way to impress the guys than repurposing everybody’s great-grandfather’s favorite women-belong-in-the-kitchen joke?
Unfortunately for Rife, his gambit to rebrand himself as an edgily sexist anti-woke comic backfired spectacularly, as the internet is now awash with jokes about how he was never funny to begin with, that he was skating on his looks, and accusations of pick-me-ism. Ironically, this is a lot like what it’s actually like to be a woman on the internet.
“Matt Rife canceling himself by trying to appeal to men is hilarious to me,” reads one tweet. “I’m crying at everyone realizing that Matt Rife isn’t funny after watching his Netflix special and coming to the realization that he’s only good at the crowd work he posts on TikTok lmaoo,” reads another. “I could make a thread of funny tweets that will have longer lasting legacies than Matt Rife,” wrote another X user.