A couple of weeks ago my husband and I plopped on the couch for a quiet evening in and turned on the new Netflix comedy special Natural Selection by Matt Rife. We were both vaguely aware of Rife because he’s posted some videos of his crowd work that have gone viral on social media. Young women in particular seem to like him because he can be quite charming on stage and will openly flirt with female audience members (Gen Z would describe Rife’s charisma as “rizz,” I think).
The set was fine but not super memorable, so I was caught by surprise when I recently saw an article on BuzzFeed explaining that Rife’s fans were furious with him over a joke he made regarding domestic violence. In the special’s opening, Rife recalls visiting a restaurant in Baltimore where the hostess had a very obvious black eye. His friend mused that they should probably reassign the woman to the kitchen so that she wasn’t greeting diners. Rife replied, “Yeah, but I feel like if she could cook, she wouldn’t have that black eye.”
Now, that’s obviously low-hanging fruit and maybe a bit groan-worthy, but Rife’s critics are now trying to full-on cancel this man over this joke! Social media mobsters have accused him of betraying his female fan base and, as they often do during these cancelation campaigns, are “resurfacing” old videos of Rife that they also find objectionable and believe justify their hate. The mainstream media has also, of course, picked up on the controversy and are dutifully publishing story after story egging on the cancellation campaign. Rife has responded exactly how you should in the face of the “woke” mob, which is to tell them to go pound sand. He posted a link to an “apology” for the domestic violence joke, which actually redirected followers to a page where they could purchase a special needs helmet. Funnier than the original joke, if you ask me.
I do have a conspiracy theory about the attempted cancellation of Rife. I believe his young female fans are secretly angrier that he made fun of “spiritual” women who are obsessed with crystals than they are about the domestic violence joke. Rife talked about the insanity of women who believe that crystals have “healing” properties or that they can bring “balance” to one’s life. It is indeed a very absurd trend that is probably a consequence of declining religion in our country. People, I think, innately believe in a higher power but have been brainwashed against religion. Instead, they seek to fill their spiritual void by assigning power to nature or inanimate objects. These kinds of beliefs are also really easy for young people to latch onto because they don’t require anything from them in return. They just have to buy the right crystals and they will be better people with better lives. There is no real work involved. Anyway, young women on TikTok are really into things like crystals and astrology, so it wouldn’t surprise me that they feel betrayed by Rife for mocking their lifestyle choices.
Plenty has been said about the threat that “wokeness” poses to comedy and why it’s problematic that comedians are increasingly subject to a small minority of people’s sensitivities when it comes to being offended. Comedy is so important because it allows us to seek uncomfortable truths. In the case of Rife’s domestic violence joke, we’re reminded that comedy can be a tool for coping with the hard parts of life. That is very valuable.
Rife is not the only person the left has tried to cancel this week. Deadspin, the Jezebel (RIP!) of sports media, published an article accusing a young Kansas City Chiefs fan of racism at the team’s game on Sunday. Carron Phillips, the author of the article, posted a photo of the boy in a Native American headdress and “blackface” and demanded the NFL speak out about the alleged incident. Except the photo only shows the right half of the boy’s face — the left half is covered in red paint, making clear that he was simply painting his face in the team colors.
“It takes a lot to disrespect two groups of people at once. But on Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas, a Kansas City Chiefs fan found a way to hate black people and the Native Americans at the same time,” Phillips claimed.
It is interesting that the young fan was able to wear the headdress, as the Chiefs’ website claims they banned them from stadiums in 2020. Some Native Americans find it offensive for people outside of their culture to wear a headdress because they can be considered sacred and are meant to be earned before they are worn. Nonetheless, posting a picture of a literal child wearing a headdress all over the internet and calling him a racist is pure psychopath behavior which should have no place in the media. It also turns out that the kid is of Native American descent! His grandfather is reportedly a board member of the Chumash Tribe in Santa Ynez, California.
Phillips got offended on another racial group’s behalf and created a fake controversy to drum up clicks to his stupid website. In the process, he has made life inexplicably harder for a minor who did nothing wrong. Again, psychopath behavior.