Comedian Matt Rife saw a rapid rise in fame in 2023 thanks to his crowd work going viral on TikTok. However, his career now seems to be falling just as quickly after his controversial Netflix special, Matt Rife: Natural Selection. He made people even angrier with his responses to the criticism, including a recent argument with a 6-year-old online.

Who Is Matt Rife?

Matt got his start in comedy when he was just 19 years old and a star on MTV’s improv sketch comedy and rap show Wild ‘n Out. He also appeared on the shows Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Fresh Off the Boat. In 2021, Matt released a self-produced comedy special called Only Fans. However, it wasn’t until July 2022 when his career took off with help from TikTok. Many of his crowd work videos have gone viral on the social media app, which led to the comedian landing a Netflix special and world tour.

What Happened in Matt Rife’s Netflix Special?

Matt Rife: Natural Selection became shrouded in controversy when it was released on November 15, 2023. The special began with a domestic violence joke that left many viewers feeling uneasy. Matt told a story about a trip to a restaurant with a friend where they were served by a woman with a black eye. He said that he and his friend debated whether or not the woman should have been away from customers in the kitchen.

“Yeah, but I feel like if she could cook, she wouldn’t have that black eye,” he joked.

Many viewers took to social media to slam the comedian, calling him out for misogyny.

Matt Rife
Taylor Hill/Getty Images

One week before his special premiered, Matt told Variety that his goal was to make sure people knew he didn’t “pander” to women, as his fanbase was primarily made up of women at the time.

“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,” he told the publication.

How Did Matt Rife Respond to the Criticism?

Matt seemingly dug himself a deeper hole with his response to the backlash. On November 20, he took to his Instagram Stories to issue an “official apology” to anyone who has “ever been offended by a joke I’ve told.”

“Tap to solve the issue,” he wrote with a link to purchase a protective helmet for children with special needs.

The controversy sparked a larger discussion about his career and how exactly he rose to fame, as many argued that he did not have comedic talent. Instead, they suggested that his fame correlated to his “glow-up” through the years. Taking this theory further, critics have speculated that Matt got plastic surgery to improve his jawline. However, he has denied these claims for years, and doubled down on the denial when a Chicago-based plastic surgeon joked about doing the procedure.

Dr. Benjamin Caughlin MD, FACS took to social media on November 28 with a video of himself skipping to Bridgit Mendler’s “Hurricane.” He wrote over the clip, “Me after creating the greatest jawline ever seen just for my patient to get canceled right after…”

Though Dr. Caughlin did not name Matt, he asked fans to guess in the comments who he was talking about, and most guessed the comedian. Matt responded with his own comment, writing, “Lying about medical history is illegal, just FYI.”

Why Is Matt Rife Fighting With a 6-Year-Old?

Now, Matt has hit back at another person online — this time, a 6-year-old boy. TikToker Bunny Hedaya claimed in a video on December 9 that he started “beef” with her son, who was “really into outer space.” She went on to insert a clip of her son responding to a moment from Matt’s special in which he made fun of people who are interested in astrology.

“Just because Jupiter has a ring, and you don’t, doesn’t mean that’s what you’re supposed to look up to for this magical advice,” Matt said in the special.

“Actually, it’s Saturn that has the rings. It has more [visible rings] also,” Bunny’s son responded. “And, you’re mean to girls.”

Bunny inserted a screenshot of a comment that Matt allegedly made on the video of her son. “Jupiter also has [a] ring. OH!… and Santa [Claus] isn’t real,” the comment read. “Your mom buys you presents with the money she makes on OnlyFans. Good luck.”

Fans took to the comments of the TikTok video to support Bunny and her son, with one writing, “Matt rife being a comedian who can’t take a joke is the funniest thing about him.”

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