Matt Rife Found Fame By Flirting With Chrissy Teigen. See What’s Next For This Charismatic Comedian

Matt Rife Photo Credit: Sergio Garcia

PHOTOGRAPHER: Sergio Garcia
STYLIST: Eric Owes
GROOMER: Kayle Williams
LOCATION: The Commodore of Hollywood  

Matt Rife gained international attention for flirting with Chrissy Teigen on national television, but this stand-up comedian had been working diligently for ages, opening, for comedians such as Mike Epps, D.L. Hugely, Ralphie May, Dane Cook, Tommy Davidson and DeRay Davis before landing a gig on NBC’s “Bring the Funny.” Additional projects where you’ve seen his handsome face include Lifetime’s “Stalked by My Doctor: A Sleepwalker’s Nightmare” and MTV’s “WILD N’ OUT” (where he was also the show’s youngest cast member). He currently holds the title of the youngest performer at the world famous Laugh Factory. Here, Rife discusses how flirting with Teigen propelled his career, how the L.A. dating scene inspires his routines and what’s next.

Matt RifePhoto Credit: Sergio Garcia

How would you describe your style of stand up?

I’d describe my style of comedy as “charmingly naive.” But a bit dry and dark, as I love pushing boundaries.

You’ve said in the past your stand-up routine isn’t exactly PG/Family-friendly – was the transition to television difficult? Did you have to clean up your routine a lot? What are the things you still find yourself saying that need to be bleeped out?

Oh yeah, I’m definitely not a PG/Family-friendly comedian. So transitioning to TV was definitely difficult because you’re trimming important bits of your set in order to fit network standards. So the audience isn’t getting the full joke which kind of makes it less fun and takes way the full effect of the performance. You’re really only getting like a B- version of the jokes.

Flirting with Chrissy Teigen was a big risk, but it seemed to pay off – was that something you planned or did you happen to wing it?

Flirting with Chrissy Teigen was very fun. It wasn’t really pre-planned, I mean I’ve always thought she was stunning and very funny so it was an organic interaction. And my style of standup is pretty interactive and intimate so the back-and-forth felt very natural and I’m just glad she was also into it.

Matt RifePhoto Credit: Sergio Garcia

What is something you’ve learned about her from working with her so closely beyond everything viewers know?

We don’t get to work very closely with the judges so they aren’t allowed to play favorites for any reason and affect voting. But I can tell you she is just as gorgeous in person.

 Where do you pull inspiration from for your routines?

I don’t really pull much inspiration for my routines, I’m pretty unique. I guess the closest would be Dave Chappelle, in that I’m just up there being me, and just talking. There’s no bland, obvious structure of “premise, setup, punchline”.

The LA dating scene must provide a lot of fodder. What are your thoughts there?

Absolutely the dating scene in LA is difficult. It’s hard to find genuine people. The city is full of the most beautiful women in the world but to find someone who truly matches your ambition, goals, sense of humor, and that you can trust… it’s very tricky.

Do you feel more pressure competing on “Bring the Funny” then you do preparing for a normal standup, or does competing energize you?

I enjoy the competitiveness, I always have when it comes to anything. Performing on “Bring The Funny” obviously has much higher stakes, with a cash prize and millions of people watching. Regular live performances are far more free and have fewer consequence

Matt Rife

You’ve dabbled in the acting world in the past. Is that something you want to continue to pursue? Is there anything in the pipeline that you can speak about? What kind of roles are you gravitating toward?

I have dabbled a bit in acting and truthfully, I find my passion leaning more toward that than standup. I’ll always do standup but I do want find a way to transition my comedy career into an acting career, as many great comedians have done before me. I even find myself gravitating more toward dramatic roles than comedic. I want to do it all.

What upcoming projects do you have for 2019/2020 beyond “Bring the Funny?”

Right now, I’m in the process of developing two of my own television projects that I’m about to start pitching around Hollywood. Hopefully we’ll get some traction and someone will give me the chance to show the world what I’m capable of.v

Whose career would you most like to emulate and why?

Someone’s career who I’d love emulate would be either Ryan Reynolds or Will Smith. Both have an inherent knack for comedy and they bring that to dramatic acting roles, action, horror, EVERYTHING they do. They are pure entertainers in every way and I idolize them for it. It’d be a dream to follow in those footsteps. And as of now, nobody is really doing it…so maybe there’ll be an opening.

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