Oh look, a joke about Baltimore. How groundbreaking.

Comedian Matt Rife, whose special “Natural Selection” is currently the No. 2 TV show on Netflix, opened his hourlong set by taking aim at domestic violence victims and Baltimore.

Yes, you read that correctly. Victims of domestic violence are the butt of a joke widely broadcast on Netflix.

In the special, Rife, who is perhaps best known for appearing in 16 episodes of “Wild ‘n Out” (we won’t blame you if you don’t remember him, either), enters Washington, D.C.’s DAR Constitution Hall to 50 Cent’s “Many Men” track. The event takes a nosedive from there.

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“This is so cool, man. I wish my grandpa could see this, man. I always wanted to bring him here to visit, he knew how much I loved D.C. — and he loved Maryland. It was like his favorite state,” Rife said to a cheering Washington crowd. “Which, no, is a valid response unless you’ve been to Baltimore.”

“Because, dude, what the f--- is going on in Baltimore, dude? Bro, Maryland as a state cannot pick a tone, dog. Just pick one. It’s so beautiful and so ratchet for no reason. Can y’all just pick a tone, man? All of Maryland, y’all will drive to the beach with your top down and then go to Baltimore and lock all your doors. No middle ground ever, man,” he continued.

“I’ve only been to Baltimore one time,” he said. “I ate lunch there, and the hostess who like seats you at the restaurant had a black eye. A full black eye. And it wasn’t like, ‘What happened?’ It was pretty obvious what happened. And we couldn’t get over the fact that we’re like, ‘This is the face of the company? This is who you have greeting people?’ And my boy who I was with was like, ‘Yeah, I feel bad for her, man. I feel like they should put her in the kitchen or something where nobody has to see her face, ya know?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, but I feel like if she could cook, she wouldn’t have that black eye.’”

After many groans and laughs from the audience, Rife said he was “just testing the waters, seeing if y’all are gonna be fun or not. Just wanted to see. I figure we start the show with domestic violence, the rest of the show should be pretty smooth sailing after that.”

Did we mention this was all within the first three minutes of the special?

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This viewer was not the only one displeased by the joke by Rife, who has found a huge following on TikTok. Reviews have deemed “Natural Selection” as “underwhelming” thanks to the recycled use of “d--- jokes” and other mundane attempts to incite laughter. Everyday comedy fans didn’t seem to care for Rife’s special, either.

“Of course the joke Matt Rife told about domestic violence was set in Baltimore because it’s ‘ratchet,’” wrote one X user of the special that has earned a 21% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. “f---ing dork.”

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Domestic violence jokes aren’t funny, but Baltimore jokes are — when they’re creative. A white man calling Baltimore the ever-so-cringey word “ratchet” isn’t creative, though. Instead, it comes off as an insult from somebody who just lost in an online video game in 2011.

“Matt Rife started his standup in DC calling Baltimore ratchet after saying he only been once???” wrote X user and Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Layla Jones. “I don’t like it.”

Neither did we.

taji.burris@thebaltimorebanner.com

Taji Burris has covered the Baltimore music scene since 2015 for outlets such as The Working Title and The 4th Quarter, and now at the Baltimore Banner.

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