Who Is Matt Rife and Why Is He Comedy's Hottest Property Right Now? Here's Why | Dallas Observer

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Who Is Comedian Matt Rife and Why Is He Breaking the Internet Right Now?

Comedian Matt Riff's ProbleMATTic tour will bring the viral superstar to Fort Worth on Nov. 15 and Irving on Nov. 16.
Comedian Matt Riff's ProbleMATTic tour will bring the viral superstar to Fort Worth on Nov. 15 and Irving on Nov. 16. Screenshot from YouTube
If you follow comedy at all, then your social media feeds are filling up with clips, ads and tasteful shirtless pics of comedian Matt Rife. 

If you're not a young'un and/or think TikTok is a deep state globalist counterinsurgency of some kind, you're probably wondering, "Who in the hell is Matt Rife and why should I care?"

Don't worry. We're here to help.

Rife is a standup comedian whose star has risen to the firmament thanks to his stage persona, quick wit and social media usage. He's not as easy to categorize as you might think. He's a roast comedian, but he doesn't just rip into people. He's a writer, but he can also think on his feet and seems to do his best stuff when he's bouncing new jokes that pop into his head as he interacts with his audience. It wouldn't be fair to call it his hook just yet, but it's something he clearly enjoys and excels at in his stage presence.

He's also handsome. Damn handsome. Just do a search on Facebook for any post asking about Rife and the comments are flooded with a mix of comments that say "He's funny" and "He's hilarious and sexy." He looks like he was selectively bred with the genes of Brangelina. He looks like an AI was prompted to design an Abercrombie model turned boy bander.

In the immortal words of Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber, "Yeah, he must work out."
The reason he's blowing up all over internet channels now is that he has announced a new multi-country tour starting this week in the U.S. that will also take him to Canada and Australia for at least the rest of the year. His "ProbleMATTic Tour" includes stops in Fort Worth on Nov. 15 at the Will Rogers Auditorium and Irving on Nov. 16 at the Toyota Music Factory. The window for purchasing tickets for both shows is less than 24 hours away and if they're anything like the previous sales for his latest tour, they should sell out pretty quickly. Just imagine the Taylor Swift fiasco if she tried to book a show at a slightly smaller venue but with the same amount of ravenous fandom.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation also don’t help.

Rife is splitting the internet into varying camps. Some call him “douchey” and “the new Dane Cook.” One viral post on Facebook simply asks, “Who the hell is Matt Rife?”

The comic has addressed his looks many times in his act. Another common question keeping his name online is whether he’s popular for his jokes or for his looks. The whole thing brings us back to the age-old question: Can good-looking men be funny? We’re still trying to figure out where to place Jon Hamm on that debate, but Paul Rudd has done a good job of proving that yes, they can.

So how did this pretty boy with some pretty good punchlines manage to get so popular? For starters, he's a comedy hustler who worked up his stage presence as a road comic in clubs for almost a decade. He's been doing comedy since he was a pre-teen and got to open for the late Ralphie May when he was just 15. He got a boost on television as a cast member on the MTV improv comedy show Wild 'N Out. But it's his social media savvy that's boosted him to superstar status.

He's all over Instagram and TikTok, playing the viral age better than Lil Nas X.

His clips usually feature his improv skills as he works with his audience, who show up to ask if he'd like to go out with their friend at the table, who is too shy to do it herself. Or they walk straight up and give him gifts on stage with the subtlety of being hit in the face with a cinder block. 
If you're too old to grasp the concept, think of him as a millennial Sam Malone without his blatant chauvinism or the two scoops of heavy cologne he slaps on before zooming in on his target. Rife has a whole heap of that disarming charm, a razor-sharp wit that he can wield at a moment's notice and a head of hair and a smile that he treats with the delicacy of a Fabergé egg.

He can also be pretty damn funny, even among those jealous types who grumble about the friend who always seems to know the perfect thing to say to pick up a last-minute date. Yes, he has confidence, but he's using it to charm the whole room because that's every comedian's job when they're in the zone under the spotlight. Hell, he even plays the "Don't be offended" card in a way that doesn't come off as forceful or as though he's using it as a shield for weak material or some personally perceived version of "the truth" because they've replaced their sense of humor with their politics. Take, for instance, this moment with a hearing impaired guest that starts when Rife notices a sign language interpreter. He doesn't go for the cheap joke or even try to mimic a stereotypical deaf person's voice. He leverages people's differences to be edgy but not just straight out mean.

Maybe that's the appeal. It's the first time an audience goes to see a comedian and hopes he notices them in the crowd. He makes his audience feel seen. Oh my God, I get it now! This is like that time Bucks Bennett won his own game show on Saturday Night Live called Why is Benedict Cumberbatch Hot?
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.

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