Matt Rife Responds to Critics of Domestic Violence Joke with 'Apology' Link to Special Needs Helmets

Comedian Matt Rife is not backing down from controversy sparked by his opening domestic violence joke for his first Netflix comedy special — instead, he seems to be courting new controversy by sending critics to a site for special needs helmets.

Comedian Matt Rife is responding to controversy about domestic violence humor with ableism. The rising comic just released his first Netflix comedy special and the very first joke set off a wave of backlash.

In response to that, Rife took to his Instagram Stories on Monday night not to defend his joke or apologize for it, but to target a whole different demographic and possibly stir up another nest of controversy.

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“If you’ve ever been offended by a joke I’ve told,” he captioned an image of himself on the stage, “here’s a link to my official apology.”

The link itself was labeled, “Tap to solve your issue.” But it didn’t go to an apology page. Instead, it links to the Medicale Shop website’s page for special needs helmets.

A few hours later, Rife returned to his Stories with an apparent reaction to that first post. “We on the naughty list,” he captioned a new image with a winky-smile emoji. This link was labeled, “This one’s real this time” with a crying-laughing emoji.

It took fans to the latest link on his own own YouTube page where he teases a couple from his crowd about how they met. The bit is labeled “Bad Santa,” which explains his reference on the Stories.

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The original offending joke was set up by Rife saying he and a friend were in a “ratchet” Baltimore restaurant when they realized their server had a black eye. When the friend wondered why she wouldn’t have been moved to the kitchen so customers wouldn’t have to see it, Rife responded, “Yeah, but I feel like if she could cook, she wouldn’t have that black eye.”

Immediately after that opening joke, Rife appeared to gauge the audience response, telling the crowd he was “just testing the waters, seeing if y’all are gonna be fun or not.”

“I figure if we start the show with domestic violence,” he continued, “the rest of the show should be smooth sailing.”

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Rife, who admitted in an interview with Variety that his fan base was originally more women, due to his viral success on TikTok, he wanted to prove with this first major special that his material is for both genders. “I would argue this special is way more for guys,” he told the outlet.

Rife’s final slide on his Instagram Stories at the time of publication was him celebrating that his Netflix special Natural Selection is currently sitting at number one on the Top 10 TV Shows in the U.S. Today.

Meanwhile, a good chunk of those who took in the special have taken to social media to respond to that opening choice to make a joke about domestic violence and they are definitely not laughing … at the initial joke or his ableist response.

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