Matt Rife Defends Domestic Violence Joke: ‘I Didn’t Hit Anybody’
Matt Rife’s Give No Effs Or Apologies Tour 2023 continued in Naples, Florida late last week with the stand-up comic continuing to tell his critics to get bent. According to a USA Today report, Rife led off his set with an invitation for his haters to take a hike: "I did want to make sure I mentioned at the top of the show though, if anybody here has come to a comedy show at a comedy club with even the possibility of being offended by a joke, we have arranged a safe space for you," Rife said. Where exactly was the safe space? “Right outside that exit door over, go and see yourself out. No one's gonna stop you.”
Right on brand! While I’m pretty sure Rife told some actual jokes last week, it sounds like he spent a good portion of his set addressing his recent controversies, including:
The Domestic Violence Joke
Is this the most repeated, dissected joke of the year? One more time for the people in the back: Rife went to a restaurant in Baltimore and his server had a black eye. Rife’s pal commented that the joint should put the server back in the kitchen where customers wouldn’t have to look at her injury. Rife’s punchline: “I feel like if she could cook, she wouldn’t have that black eye.”
It’s Comedy 101 that if you have to explain why your joke is funny, it likely isn’t funny. But there was Rife in Naples, confirming to the crowd that his joke was “kind of funny.” The circular argument for why it was funny? Because “you know it’s a joke.” (Usually, it’s the other way around — you know something’s a joke because it’s funny, but I digress.)
Rife said the bit didn’t reflect his real views on domestic violence. "I didn't hit anybody. My food was fine. I didn't put hands on anybody … OK, my food was delicious," he quipped. “I didn't order the knuckle sandwich.”
His Non-Apologetic Apology
After the online hordes took issue with the black-eye bit, Rife posted an online “apology” with a link to special-needs helmets for anyone offended by his joke. Last week, the comic used the stage to explain why his non-apology wasn’t ableist, as some critics claimed.
"Some people thought I was making fun of special-needs people and obviously that's not what I was doing — I was making fun of (haters) for being so stupid as to think I would ever apologize for a joke," Rife said. “I'm saying you needed those helmets way more than they do.”
I’m pretty sure people got Rife’s point the first time, but thanks for the clarification. For the record, the comic says that special-needs helmet “gotcha!” link would never not be funny to him.
His Beef With A Six-Year-Old
Finally, Rife indirectly addressed his online spat last week with a six-year-old who corrected Rife on which planet (Saturn, not Jupiter) has the rings. When people bring the heat, he says, it’s best to ignore them because made-up minds are impossible to change.
“Know that you’re doing the right thing if you are and just live your life. Everybody wants to be miserable on their own,” he said.
But Rife just living his life doesn’t mean letting hater kids have the last word. “Teach your kid how many... planets have rings around them," he said. “You shouldn’t start (beef) and be wrong.”