In a remarkable turn of events, Columbus native Matt Rife has spiked from performing in front of a few people at local clubs to making his debut on Netflix within just two years. With over a decade of stand-up comedy, the veteran comedian was on the verge of quitting the comedy scene when a TikTok video changed his career track.
One name stands out in the comedic landscape of 2023: Matt Rife, comedian. With over 18 million followers on TikTok and 6 million on Instagram, Rife has become a social media sensation. His crowd-based outsourced clips dominate algorithms, even leading to illegal compilations on YouTube. Now, Rife has a Netflix special, ‘Natural Selection,’ adding to his three stand-up comedy specials on his YouTube channel, collectively amassing 38 million views.
Matt Rife’s TikTok breakthrough moment came with a video titled “The Lazy Hero,” posted on July 30, 2022. Now boasting over 40 million views, the video captures Rife’s humorous interaction with an audience member who labels her ex-boyfriend, an emergency room worker, lazy. Rife’s witty response, “Oh, I’m sorry, you broke up with a hero?” resonated with viewers, driving him into the social media limelight.
Thanks to viral success on Matt Rife’s TikTok, his social media following ascended to over 25 million across platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Riding this wave, Rife financed his newfound popularity by releasing a series of self-produced specials and embarking on the “Problematic World Tour,” which sold out shows through October 2024.
Matt Rife’s debut on Netflix marks a coming-of-age moment. Critics who dismiss “pretty boy” comics find Rife breaking the stereotype, showcasing his ability to craft compelling routines beyond his looks. Despite his uncertainty about social media, it played a pivotal role in pushing him to stardom.
Despite his global fame, Matt Rife remains connected to his roots, as he frequently performs in Northeast Ohio. Recently, he played to sold-out audiences at Akron Civic Theatre and Cleveland’s Hilarities. Moreover, Rife showcased his versatility by being a guest speaker at the Forbes Under 30 Summit at Public Auditorium.
Despite claims of a 12-year struggle in the comedy world, Rife’s several opportunities, including appearances on MTV’s Wild’ N Out, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fresh Off The Boat, and NBC’s Bring The Funny, portray a different narrative. TikTok, however, became the catalyst for his viral fame.
Reflecting on his journey, Rife shared his struggle with considering quitting comedy just a year before his breakthrough. Speaking at the Under 30 Summit, he focused on the importance of gratitude for the hard work that has led him to his current position. “You have to be thankful for the moments you have and understand the work you’ve put in,” Rife remarked.
Looking ahead, Rife is set to release “Matt Rife: Natural Selection,” a special addressing topics ranging from social media trolls to his engaging affection for seniors “shaped like candy canes.” Although his 2024 tour dates won’t bring him to Cleveland, fans can catch him in nearby cities like Detroit and Pittsburgh.
In a world influenced by social media, Matt Rife’s ascent from the brink of quitting to Netflix fame stands as a testament to online platforms’ transformative power in shaping modern comedians’ tracks.
Whether you’re a fan of his clips and have seen many of Matt Rife’s movies and TV shows, captivated by his online fame, or just curious about the comedy debates surrounding him, ‘Natural Selection’ is worth a watch. Explore Rife’s world to draw your conclusions.