In the world of stand-up comedy where laughter reigns supreme, Matt Rife is proving he rules the stage as a comedic force to be reckoned with.

The New
Face of
Matt Rife

You've embarked on your year-long, sold-out ProbleMATTic tour. How does it feel to be in this position, and how were your recent shows in Niagara Falls?

Matt: It's nothing short of an incredible dream come true. Just a year ago, we were struggling to fill even 70 seats in a bustling city. So now, to be on an international tour, performing on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, and selling out three nights at a 5,000-seat theatre [OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino], it truly is a dream come true.

I'm just trying to enjoy every moment.

You weren't an overnight success. You've paid your dues in comedy clubs since you were 15, earning five-minute slots. Could you reflect on your journey and shed light on how you reached where you are today?

Matt: It's been years and years of hoping something would pay off. I've done countless terrible gigs while paying my dues, which weren’t always fun at the time. Reflecting on those moments, you don't always think that there will be a positive outcome or realize that it’s a learning experience.

Timing plays a significant role in achieving success, which you have to be prepared for. Where I'm at right now, it would have been a dream to be here four years ago [in my eighth year of comedy], but now looking back, I don't think I would have been ready — I'm probably barely ready for it now.

It's wildly overwhelming in the most exciting way, and although it’s cliché to say, you need to enjoy the ride and the journey even though, during the journey, you don't know the destination is going to be so grand.

I'm incredibly grateful for where I'm at right now, and I just hope I can maintain it.

You took a unique route by self-producing your comedy specials and making them available on YouTube for anyone to watch. Can you tell us more about this decision and who came up with the Only Fans title?

Matt: Well, it was kind of by default. I was ten years into comedy when I did my first special, and no network that produces comedy wanted to put me on television at all. I had an hour's worth of material that I was very proud of, and I remember sitting on my friend's couch one day just feeling sorry for myself and complaining about how nobody would give me an opportunity. He said, "Dude, why don't you just do it by yourself?"

He suggested setting up a GoFundMe, so we did.

My first self-produced special was completely crowdfunded by the fans, and that's actually why I came up with the title Only Fans because it was by the fans for the fans. I also realized how good of a marketing strategy that would be because I know how often people Google "Matt Rife OnlyFans" to see if I have nudes out there. Every time somebody Googles "Matt Rife OnlyFans," it takes them to the special.

You've been a part of MTV's Wild N' Out. What significant lessons did you learn from that experience?

Matt: Confidence was a significant lesson I learned from Wild N' Out. It's a competitive environment, much like a sports team, with a roster of performers competing for spots in each episode. Being thrown into that atmosphere required me to rise to the occasion. I was a meek 17-year-old lacking a strong presence. The show's producers and fellow performers taught me to project confidence, work harder on my craft, and earn respect.

You're not just a stand-up comedian; you're also an actor. Do you have a dream role or character that you aspire to portray?

Matt: I always wanted to do a Batman Beyond and be a young, edgy Batman. If I could play any character, I would want to play a character like Deadpool. He’s the most fun character I've ever seen in a movie, and Ryan Reynolds is one of my favourite actors of all time. He brings charisma and humour to every role he plays, and Deadpool is the perfect mix of comedy, action, and heart.

Before going on stage, do you have any pre-show rituals? Do you ever experience nervousness?

Matt: I do get a bit nervous before a TV or special taping where there's limited room for error. But as far as regular shows go, I don’t get nervous, and my routine involves playing music in the green room, chatting with my openers, and just enjoying the moment. I believe in keeping things relaxed and fun.

Some performers prefer solitude to go over their notes, but I find that connecting with others and having a good time get me in the right mindset.

What's the most challenging aspect of being on a year-long world tour?

Matt: The most challenging thing about being on tour is my sleep schedule. I have debilitating insomnia, and touring across different time zones while performing late shows can be difficult to manage, but I’m working on it. Dedicating time to fitness is also essential for my mental health. It can also be a challenge to eat healthy and work out while on tour, but that's where dedication comes in. Sometimes we’ll postmates healthy food, get a day pass to a gym, or work out at the hotel.

It can be a challenge at times, but if that's my biggest worry on tour right now, I think I'm going to be okay.

Is there something about you that fans may not know?

Matt: This is known to some people, but not a lot. I do ghost hunting as a hobby; it's kind of fun, kind of random, and super weird. It's not something I wildly promote or anything, and if you watch my new hour, I talk about how I am afraid of ghosts and monsters in the first twenty minutes. I'm also so fascinated to go into these places that are full of historical value and stories. When you're locked in an insane asylum by yourself and there's nobody within 100 yards of you at three o'clock in the morning, it’s almost like working out where you are so present. You're not thinking about shows, friends, or family problems. You're so terrified and interested in that exact moment. It's kind of addicting and gives you a huge adrenaline rush.

If you could go back and offer advice to your 15-year-old self, what would you say?

Matt: I would say to do it more. Get on stage more and just relax. I wanted to give up three times a year in my 10-year journey. Even this time last year, I considered leaving LA and moving back to Ohio to pursue a different career path. There was no sign pointing towards success other than what I’ve already done. I just wasn’t confident.

I’d say relax, enjoy the process, and have fun doing the crappy shows. It's crucial to have fun, even during challenging gigs.

Don't miss the chance to witness the comedic genius of Matt Rife live on stage during his ProbleMATTic world tour, and follow him on social media for more hilarious content and announcements on his upcoming Netflix special, Natural Selection.

Instagram: @MattRife
Twitter: @ItsMattRife
YouTube: Matt Rife
Tiktok: @Matt_Rife

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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