From America Discovering Matt Rife to Holtzman Screaming, This Week has Been Wild

Article by: Robert Dean

This past week in comedy has been wild. 

What’s considered “low art” is getting a lot of clicks and shares, thanks to comedians dominating social media. If you think about it, comedy is built for platforms like TikTok and Instagram: one moment, a joke is timely, and subsequent week, it’s dated. 

So, scrolling on the can while the kids howl outside the door like feral cats feels like an earned respite – who doesn’t want to laugh at the dork in the front row getting shit on by Stavros for trying to make up a story about banging a cougar? 

And just like that, the moment is gone, our thumbs move on to the next thing, that joke is lost in the ether like a burning piece of paper floating into the darkness. 

Rachel Wolfson Becomes Official Queen of Las Vegas 

Las Vegas native daughter Rachel Wolfson got her own day, celebrating her rise as one of the best and brightest in comedy. We’re stoked for her. Rachel rules. And if you missed her doing a million spots in town last week, you fucked up. 

I’m still waiting for Chicago or Austin to give me Robert Dean Day. You win this round, Wolfson.

Photo by Antonio Jimenez


Brian Holtzman released his bone-crushing comedy special, #CANCEL HOLTZMAN, and I assure you it’s not for the weak. 

Brian Holtzman is a living legend; he closed the Comedy Store for 30 years. No one can follow him. His comedy is like taking an acid trip into the unknown; there will be bumps along the way, moments of looking inward, seeing the skeleton rip away from the flesh, and then suddenly, you’re whole again. 

Holtzman’s comedy is abrasive, raw, and not meant for the mainstream. It’s comedy that takes risks and dares whoever is watching, either live or in person, to dare to let the maestro take the wheel while you let the colors slip past. 

Do not sleep on Holtzman; he’s someone we should be lucky to share space with while experiencing our brief time on Earth. As the world gets softer by the hour, Holtzman remains hard as a diamond, and his comedy should be viewed as a rocky point to scribble his name along with the greats because if you’re a comedy nerd, your favorite comics leave the green room to watch him on the sidelines. 


Late Nights and Lurid People at the Sunset Strip 

The LA Times did a write-up on Austin Comedy, and the homies at The Sunset Strip got a significant piece of the article, which rules because we love and support those folks. 

Do I agree with the tone of the piece? Not really. It pats itself on the back for LA being LA. Well, COVID fucked that up for y’all didn’t it? 

Anyhow, the point is The Sunset Strip is building something special one night at a time. The comedians in town are finding out that the space is welcoming but also a place where they can take risks and grow. We highly suggest checking them out by supporting what they’re building. If you want to see the true artistic pulse of Austin comedy, Sunset Strip is the stop you need to make. 

PS - Rest in Peace, Adam. We still miss you. 

Who The Fuck is Matt Rife?

If you even knew how many times I’ve been tagged in a post or sent a text asking me, “Who is this Matt Rife dude?” So let me set the record straight on some stuff. 

Yes, Matt Rife is model good-looking. We get that. But he’s also the loveliest dude. 

Comedy has this obsession with dumping on attractive people because of the notion of low art, that this isn’t for pretty people. 

That’s bullshit. Matt worked relentlessly to get to this point. I’ve seen him play for 150 people, and since that first time, he’s worked endlessly to rise. 

His crowd work landed him here; he’s genuine and fast on his feet. He’s not a scripted guy; the fella on stage is the same as offstage. 

If we’re going to be a society that champions hard work, putting in the hours, and taking every opportunity we’re given, that’s what he did. Just because your girlfriend wants to fuck him doesn’t mean she’s his type. 

Get off the dude’s back, especially if you’re a comic reading this. He worked every club between Arkansas and Omaha on the road. He was smart enough to film it for TikTok. Go, Matt, get that money. 

Happy Pride. Do Gay Stuff. 

And it’s June, and a bunch of soft-as-baby shit people get mad about pride flags and drag shows. Be a rebel and support gay comedy. Show your asshole neighbor he sucks, and his 1945 opinion can kick rocks. Besides, we all know the biggest homophobes are the ones who secretly know dicks are delicious. Let people live. 

Later nerds, come to a Big Laugh comedy show and buy my book

Robert Dean is a journalist, raconteur, and enlightened dumbass. His work has been featured in places like MIC, Eater, Fatherly, Yahoo, Austin American-Statesman, Consequence of Sound, Ozy, USA Today, to name a few. He’s appeared on CNN and NPR. He also serves as features writer for Hussy Magazine, Culture Clash, Pepper Magazine, and is editor in chief for Big Laugh Comedy, Texas’ premier comedy production company. He lives in Austin and loves ice cream and koalas. His new collection of essays, Existential Thirst Trap is out now.
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