Matt Rife’s new special has only been up a few weeks and already has over five million views. It’s his second self produced special, and a lot of fun. Full Stop. Really ace stand-up. This guy has a lot of charisma, obviously, is damn good looking, and stage presence like a raging river. This special though shows what a solid craftsman he is. An engaging story teller, a top notch jokester, an intelligent writer, and a crowd pleaser of a showman going for the jugular, laugh to laugh, for over a solid hour.
The reason I point out that he goes laugh to laugh is that I find a lot of stand-ups lately, in their specials often, don’t think they have to keep hitting it hard. They like to space the jokes out or something, maybe talk too much, deal with the crowd, being ‘real’ and don’t keep it going. Fail to keep punching and it loses the energy. It’s not stand-up sometimes, it’s a one person show. It’s ‘Randall – A Hannah Gadsby Tribute.’ It’s just not pound for pound going for the jokes. This guy’s act is the opposite of that. He’s out for blood. It’s a sporting event. Non-stop. This is a great modern hour of a meat and potatoes stand-up act. Jet fueled, crowd pleasing, no doubt worked out for many, many, months before he laid this down.
He’s a self -made funnyman this guy. That’s one of the things I really appreciate about him. His credits, which are a few, on studio and network stuff, are fine, but that’s not what made him a constantly sold out comic wherever he goes. And he does sell tickets. Like crazy. My point is his fans know him from his own hard work. His self produced specials, his Instagrams, his previous touring dates. He’s built his own world, base, pace, and future. He’s everything I love about the new world. He’s big now, but he’s only going further. That’s the main upside of being self built. He has a tactile relationship with his fans and his work and there’s great energy in that. Like Shane Gillis, Leanna Morgan, Big Jay Oakerson, Brad Upton, Erica Rhodes, and so many more, this is an era of comics that are working hard, but so smart.
The new special is working precisely because it is so tightly coiled. Very self looking and exploratory. Teasing himself, playing with his looks, almost daring you to sluff him off as just some cupcake looking fuck-boy that’s only killing it because the girls like him. He’s leaning into his strengths and his weaknesses. A really strong stance for a stand-up to take.
It’s also well made, not over produced, in a crazy great club in Austin, Texas, the Vulcan Gas Company.
Like I said, this is a great example of where the new, vibrant, explosive energy is going in stand-up and how the gatekeepers have been pretty much shit-canned. If you got it, there’s no excuse anymore. You can just bushwhack your own road into the center of town. Matt Rife is a textbook example. Watch, study, and laugh.
Go to his Instagram or his website to see tour dates. (Book early, he’s sold out most of his upcoming show for this summer already.)
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