The Truth About Matt Rife Is Tumbling Out - The List (2024)

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ByBrent Furdyk

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It wasn't too long ago that comedian extraordinaire Matt Rife was ready to pack it in and quit the standup career he'd been struggling to get off the ground for nearly a decade. "I wasn't selling any tickets at any comedy club, I couldn't get any kind of break," Rife recalled during a November 2023 appearance on "The Tonight Show" Starring Jimmy Fallon." "At a certain point you go, 'Am I delusional? Maybe I'm not funny.'"

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In the midst of that soul-searching despair, everything changed when Rife posted a hilarious bit on TikTok, which he'd dubbed "The Lazy Hero."The video went viral, garnering millions of views. Before long, Rife had become a TikTok sensation, leading his once-dormant standup comedy career to explode overnight. To capitalize on his newfound popularity, Rife hit the road for his ProbleMATTic world tour that was a hit before it even began; demand for the shows was so high that the Ticketmaster website crashed as 600,000 fans simultaneously attempted to scoop up presale tickets.

There's no doubt that Rife's popularity is continuing to soar, and he's become a force to be reckoned with in the comedy community. Yet the success he's experienced has also been accompanied by a healthy helping of controversy, something that Rife has not only refused to shy away from, but actually seems to take pride in. To find out more about this fascinating funnyman, read on to see why the truth about Matt Rife is tumbling out.

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Matt Rife's first comedy tour was so successful he needed an 'exhaustion' break

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In June 2023, Matt Rife announced plans to embark on a massive world tour, sharing the news in a hilarious video (featuring a special guest star appearance from actor Ashton Kutcher, no less) that he posted on Instagram. The ProbleMATTic tour kicked off that July, boasting more than 100 shows. In addition to traveling throughout North America, the tour also took Rife to Australia, in addition to several European cities, including Paris, London, Dublin, Amsterdam, and Stockholm, among others.

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Undertaking a tour of that duration proved to be a bit more taxing on Rife than he'd anticipated. In May 2024, he announced the cancellation of two shows —both in Bloomington, Indiana —hours before he was scheduled to take to the stage. "I'm so f***ing sorry, but due to a last minute medical emergency i have to reschedule our shows tonight (again)," he tweeted.

Further shows were cancelled, with the Los Angeles Times reporting that ticket-holders received an update about the situation via email."On the way to a recent show in Indiana, Matt experienced extreme exhaustion symptoms and nearly fainted heading to the venue,"the email read. "Matt is currently under advisem*nt from his medical team to take immediate time off from touring for two weeks." He subsequently wrote a message on Instagram, revealing info about rescheduled dates, indicating he was on the mend. He resumed the tour in mid-June.

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He's been dogged by rumors of plastic surgery

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A bizarre rumor caught fire in November 2023 thanks to a video posted on TikTok by Dr. Benjamin Caughlin, a plastic surgeon with the TikTok handle @manyfacesofchicago. "Me after creating the greatest jawline ever seen just for my patient to get cancelled right after," he wrote atop the clip, adding the hashtags #cancelled, #jawlinecheck, #comedian, #standup, and #celeb. After the post went viral, bursting with comments speculating that Caughlin was referring to Rife, the comedian responded by leaving a comment of his own (via Life&Style), reading, "Lying about medical history is illegal, just FYI."

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Rife also confronted the rumor during an appearance on "Access Hollywood,"when former "Saved By the Bell"starMario Lopez asked him to reveal the "biggest lie" that he'd ever read about himself. "That I've had plastic surgery,"Rife declared."That's the funniest thing in the entire world to me. Because I hit puberty too late, I didn't look like this until I was like 23. Sorry if you need surgery to look like that."

Rife alsoaddressed the rumor during a stand-up set in December 2023. "People were saying I had jaw surgery to have a jawline," Rife riffed, as reported by USA Today. "That's funny to me because I'm like ... use your ... brain. If I'm gonna get transformative surgery done to me, do you think I'm starting with my face? You would never hear me tell another joke for the rest of my life."

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Matt Rife believes he'd be more successful if he wasn't so hot

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There's no question that Matt Rife has become one of the hottest young comics in the stand-up comedy scene. According to Rife, there's only one factor preventing him from becoming even bigger:his chiseled physique.

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Or at least that's what he claimed during an August 2023 interview with Men's Health, discussing how he began working out in earnest after he'd started performing stand-up. According to Rife, being in killer shape might be advantageous when starring in a Hollywood action movie, but not necessarily when telling jokes. "I will say, I don't think it helps you, by any means,"he said with a laugh. "I mean, people don't want to laugh at physically attractive people. You don't want to walk onstage and have people looking at your arms, rather than listening to your joke."He concluded by explaining that being so attractive only forced him to work even harder on his material, in order to shift the focus from his buff body to his jokes.

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As has often been the case with Rife, his comments were hit with backlash as people bashed him for complaining that being good looking was detrimental. He addressed his comments when speaking with Today, and doubled down by sharing his belief that everyone assumes attractive people have it easy, which doesn't exactly generate laughs. "So that's why I would say it's a little bit harder,"he said. "You have to win people over more often."

He's joked about facing no consequences for backlash over his controversial joke about domestic violence

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Matt Rife seems to revel in controversy, and he clearly knew he'd be barraged with backlash when hejoked about domestic abuse in his 2023 Netflix special, "Matt Rife:Natural Selection." That was evident when he responded to criticism with another joke, also delving into political incorrectness. "If you've ever been offended by a joke I've told, here's a link to my official apology," he wrote in a post he shared on Instagram Stories, which was highlighted by a link that read, "Tap to solve the issue." That link,reportedVariety, led to a website selling helmets to protect the heads of people with special needs.

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In May 2024, Rife addressed the utter lack of actual consequences he faced after generating all that controversy. "What am I gonna do?Get canceled?Cool, I'll do another Bowl show, awesome,"he said during a stand-up comedy set at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, reported Variety."You know that's not a real punishment," he added, referring to being a victim of cancel culture. "Nothing happens; prison's a punishment."

During that same show, he also joked about his social media helmet prank. "I got in so much trouble for making a joke about special needs helmets, and then I come to L.A. and perform in the biggest helmet," he quipped, comparing the concave shape of the Hollywood Bowl to the interior of a helmet.

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His romance with Jessica Lord has been keeping him grounded

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Matt Rife made headlines back in 2017, when he was just 21 years old, when he briefly dated British movie star Kate Beckinsale, who was twice his age. While that romanceended badly, he's since bounced back into a new relationship with actor and dancer Jessica Lord. Best known for her starring role in Hulu series "Find Me in Paris," Lord reportedly began dating Rife in 2023.

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Rife opened up about Lord in an October 2023 interview with People, confirming the relationship was still in its early stages."It's newer, but I mean I do prefer to keep it on the more private side,"he said of why he doesn't like to talk about his personal life that much. He credited her for keeping him his life balanced —or, at least, as much as possible in the midst of his worldwide comedy tour. "She forces me to take personal time, obviously, and I love that," Rife added. "Whenever she's like, 'Can we have tomorrow for ourselves?' I'm like, 'Thank you. I would love to have that.'"

While it's probably too early to determine whether Lord is "the one," Rife did tellEsquire that he's actually longing for a rather traditional relationship."I know I am just in my mid-to-late 20s, but still, I do want a wife and a family and a prominent home life that makes me feel comfortable, safe, and is my peace,"he said.

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Matt Rife fired back at an outrageous allegation from a so-called comedian

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Not only has Matt Rife had to shut down rumors he's had plastic surgery, he also found himself at the center of a bizarre allegation implying he owed his fame and fortune to the Hollywood casting couch. In March 2024, self-described comedian Nima Yamini shared a video on social media, in which he claimed that he and Rife were once together in a meeting with some powerful figures in the entertainment industry. Yamini claimed the executives told them that their success would be assured — but only if they performed oral sex on them. In Yamini's account, he immediately burst out of his chair and headed out the door, while Rife stayed behind to accept the offer, implying that was the reason for Rife's success.

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When Rife caught wind of the video, TMZ reported that he considered Yamini's false claims to be defamation and was mulling over whether to sue. Yamini, clearly realizing he was in big trouble, began backpedaling in another video. In the update, he confirmed that the story he'd told was bogus, insisting that his earlier post was a "parody video" and meant to be satirical.

He also confessed that he'd never met Rife and didn't intend for anyone to take him seriously. "But my silly joke shouldn't discredit him,"he said.

He's stopped stressing out about offending people

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Over the course of his standup comedy career, Matt Rife has occasionally come close to crossing the line between what's considered tasteful and what's deemed to be offensive. When it comes to the latter, however, he'd prefer to push the envelope rather than play it safe."I don't believe there's anything you can't talk about if you do it correctly, in the right way, at the right time,"Rife told Variety. "You have to be yourself and not worry about offending a certain amount of people. You might miss out on a joke that you're worried might offend somebody, but might make you a million new fans,"he added, while admitting that it was also wise to be ready to handle any potential repercussions — something he'd learned firsthand after the blowback he received from "Matt Rife:Natural Selection."

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Appearing on a roundtable panel for Variety alongside fellow comics Sam Jay, Tom Segura, and Marlon Wayans, Rife insisted that the difference between a joke that's offensive and one that's merely edgy is the intent of the comedian. "Like, what is your intention with saying some reckless s*** right now?Are you trying to upset somebody or are you trying to make light of a certain subject?"he said. "Because that way it doesn't take up such a negative space in someone's mind, and they can laugh at something that's brought them so much grief."

His movie The Private Eye was picked up by a distributor

Like many comedians, Matt Rife has ventured into acting, a sideline that has included guest spots on such TV sitcoms as "Fresh Off the Boat,"and "Brooklyn Nine Nine." What many of his fans may not have realized is that he's also starred in a movie, portraying low-rent P.I. Mort Madison in the feature-length comedy "The Private Eye."The low-budget indie, however, will enjoy a wide release. As Variety reported, the film was picked up by Glass House Distribution in April 2024 as plans were announced to distribute the film worldwide. "It was very important for us to find the right home for 'The Private Eye' because it is my directorial debut,"the film's director, Jack Cook,said in a statement. "I wanted to partner with people that showed the movie the attention it deserves, Glass House Distribution are those people."

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If Rife has his way, fans will be seeing him onscreen in even more acting roles. "I love acting just as much, if not more than stand-up. I just haven't been doing it as long and I haven't been able to get my foot in the door as well as I have been with stand-up,"he told Deadline. "So I'm really looking forward to the next project that I work on in acting to be something I'm really proud of and enjoy doing."

Matt Rife signed with a big-shot talent agency

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Matt Rife's aspirations to do more acting received a big boost when he signed with one of Hollywood's most powerful talent agencies. In April 2024, Deadline reported that Rife was now being repped by United Talent Agency. As part of the agency, Rife joined a roster of A-listers that included actors Chris Pratt andTimothée Chalamet, music stars Bad Bunny and Lizzo, and diminutive comedian/movie star Kevin Hart, to name just a handful.

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Working with a big agency would understandably broaden the horizons of his already-burgeoning career. According to the report, the agency would not only represent him for his live comedy performances —which have been incredibly lucrative — but also explore new opportunities in TV and movies. That dovetailed perfectly with some comments that Rife made in an earlier interview with Deadline. "But now that I have the freedom in success via stand-up, it opens up avenues in other areas that I am passionate about, like film and television, that I'm hoping I can make that transition over to, because it can only feed itself,"he explained.

He's got another stand-up comedy special in the works

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Shortly before the announcement that Matt Rife had signed with UTA, Variety reported that he'd entered a deal with Netflix to produce not one, but two new comedy specials for the powerhouse streaming service. The first of those specials was set to debut sometime in 2024 and would be something of a departure for both Rife and Netflix. That's because the special wouldn't feature Rife performing a routine that he'd written, but would instead consist entirely of crowd work, with Rife generating laughs from his spontaneous interactions with members of the audience. Comedian Erik Griffin was tapped to direct the stand-up special — Netflix's first-ever comedy special devoted entirely to crowd work — with filming to take place at The Comedy Zone in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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According to Charlotte's WBTV, Rife performed six sold-out shows at the venue in May 2024 with cameras on hand to film it all. In order to keep things under wraps, members of the audience not only had to sign release forms allowing their permission to appear on camera, but were also ordered to hand over their phones so that footage wouldn't leak on the internet.

Crowd work has long been a specialty of Rife's, and while he's admitted it can be somewhat hit or miss, often yielding mixed results, he also believes that it keeps his stand-up skills sharpened."It keeps me on my toes," Rife told the Los Angeles Times.

Matt Rife is working on a sitcom for Netflix —but not everyone is excited about it

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Two comedy specials weren't the only things that Matt Rife had underway for Netflix. Deadline reported that he was also in the process of developing a new sitcom for the streamer, which he'd both write and star in. While details were sparse, the report indicated the series would be a workplace comedy set within a gym.

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As has often been the case with Rife, controversy emerged as soon as the project was announced. That was clear in an article for The Mary Sue that boasted the headline,"The Last Thing I Want Is a 'Workplace Comedy' From Matt Rife." According to writer Rachel Leishman, not only are Rife's potential punchlines for the series bound to be problematic (his material tends to "lean towards sexism," she wrote), but the workplace sitcom premise has already been done to death."Given how his last stand-up special went, I don't think that his premise is going to go well by any stretch of the imagination,"she added.

He addressed a rumor he'd be featured on Vanderpump Rules

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As it turned out, a rumor alleged that a workplace comedy on Netflix might not be the only television show on which Matt Rife will be seen. In an interview with E! News, Rife was confronted with a claim that he was going to be seen in an episode of reality TV hit "Vanderpump Rules."However, Rife had some bad news for Bravo fans yearning to see him cavorting with the likes of Tom Sandoval, Ariana Madix and even the grand dame herself, Lisa Vanderpump.Heshot that rumor down completely.

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"Did it come from me?" he said of the gossip. "Then probably not."He continued by marveling at all the wild —and not even close to accurate — things he's seen about himself. "I read the craziest stuff about me all day long, and none of it's true," he said. "It cracks me up. Whatever gives people the clout they need."

The Truth About Matt Rife Is Tumbling Out - The List (2024)
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