Nov 15, 2023 - News

How Columbus' Matt Rife became comedy's hottest star

Comedian Matt Rifes performs on stage.

Comedy's next big thing. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Two years ago, comedian Matt Rife was performing in front of two dozen people at small clubs around the country. Today, the Columbus native makes his Netflix debut.

Why it matters: Rife is considered one of the hottest comedians in the world thanks to a social media presence with more than 25 million followers across platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

Flashback: After more than a decade of doing standup, Rife was considering giving up comedy when one of his videos hit big on TikTok.

  • "The Lazy Hero," posted July 30, 2022, features Rife hilariously interacting with an audience member who thinks her ex-boyfriend, who works in an emergency room, is lazy.
  • "Oh, I'm sorry, you broke up with a hero?" Rife quips in the video, which has amassed more than 40 million views.

The intrigue: Rife followed up with a series of self-released specials and the sold-out "Problemattic World Tour" that runs through October 2024.

Zoom in: Rife is no stranger to Northeast Ohio, having played sold-out dates at Akron Civic Theatre in October and Cleveland's Hilarities this past weekend.

What they're saying: "July of last year, I was really contemplating quitting comedy, moving back to Ohio, and getting a normal job," Rife told the crowd at the Under 30 Summit.

  • "You have to be grateful for the moments that you have and understand the work you've put in to be where you're at and understand that work doesn't stop when you get to where you are now."

What's next: "Matt Rife: Natural Selection" finds Rife addressing everything from social media trolls to his affection for old people "shaped like candy canes."

  • The closest Rife will get to Cleveland in 2024 are dates in Detroit on Feb. 9-10 and in Pittsburgh on April 25.

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