Home Entertainment Matt Rife Interview Spotlights Stay Nation Tour, Paul Elia’s ‘Detroit Participant’ – Deadline

Matt Rife Interview Spotlights Stay Nation Tour, Paul Elia’s ‘Detroit Participant’ – Deadline

Matt Rife Interview Spotlights Stay Nation Tour, Paul Elia’s ‘Detroit Participant’ – Deadline


Two months in the past, when comic Matt Rife introduced his ProbleMATTic World Tour with Stay Nation, he moved round 600,000 tickets over the span of simply 48 hours, experiencing the fruits of 12 lengthy years on the highway.

Remarkably, this was simply the artist presale, with Rife in the end occurring to promote 720,000+ tickets to 300 reveals, together with eight back-to-back on the Chicago Theatre, six at Radio Metropolis Music Corridor, and 4 on the Mohegan Solar Area in Connecticut.

Comedians Matt Rife and Paul Elia perform at Lowkey Outside

Comedians Matt Rife and Paul Elia carry out at Lowkey Outdoors

Andrew Max Levy

A 27-year-old from North Lewisburg, Ohio, Rife had as just lately because the summer time prior struggled to promote even 100 tickets a present, although not for lack of hustle. Maybe the most effective encapsulation of his dedication to succeed got here a couple of months following the emergence of Covid, when he and comic buddy Paul Elia launched Lowkey Outdoors. A semimonthly, socially distanced comedy present, spun off from one they’d executed at The Comedy Retailer pre-pandemic, Lowkey noticed the pair performing for small crowds from the mattress of a pick-up truck, at the back of house complexes and occasion areas throughout Los Angeles. The duo put their blood, sweat and tears into these reveals, to not point out their very own funds, they usually by no means generated a lot cash, at the same time as they attracted a variety of A-list comics all of a sudden in want of a spot to carry out. 

Nonetheless, the pair right here discovered a artistic outlet and managed to remain afloat in traditionally unsure occasions, and this era solely strengthened their resolve to wager on themselves. Rife would later double down by self-financing and distributing his first pair of specials, such that when one in all his TikTok clips went viral and commenced getting his title into the zeitgeist, nobody may say he hadn’t written his personal ticket. Titled “The Lazy Hero,” Rife’s viral Tok led him down the trail to 16.3M followers and greater than 1B world views on simply that one platform. And it’s with this following in his pocket that he prepares to tape his third particular this fall at DAR Structure Corridor in Washington, D.C., as Elia leverages learnings from his buddy to shoot his first.

Manager Christina Shams with clients Paul Elia and Matt Rife

Supervisor Christina Shams with shoppers Paul Elia and Matt Rife

Andrew Max Levy

A 3rd main participant on this story, serving to every up the following step of the profession ladder, is somebody with visions of her personal — their supervisor Christina Shams, who just lately arrange her personal firm, Avesta Leisure, following stints at corporations like Genuine and the company Revolutionary Artists. The concept that’s impressed her, she says, is to have a look at the manager-client relationship as a partnership that, with hustle on each side, will open all the best doorways. “I’ve observed, for me, that that has created this enterprise mannequin that has flourished. As a result of, now we’re doing issues another way,” Shams instructed Deadline. “We’re not simply transferring in a standard sense. We’re utilizing all of our abilities collectively to actually create alternative, to create an empire.”

Right here, in a quick break from touring, Rife joins Elia and Shams to mirror on the legwork that led as much as his massive break, and the highway forward of him now, with the trio additionally discussing Elia’s forthcoming particular Detroit Participant and extra.

DEADLINE: How did it really feel, Matt, if you first noticed such a surge of curiosity in you and your work?

MATT RIFE: It nonetheless feels fully unreal, like half of a dream come true and half of a one-off. All of it appears like we’re going to be again at the back of my house advanced in like six months, making an attempt to promote 70 tickets, and I feel that’s simply due to how inconsistent this enterprise is. All of us undergo jumps in our profession that we’re like, “Oh, this goes to be the factor. I’m going to be high-quality from right here on out,” after which it’s a must to begin yet again. So, it’s so thrilling, and I’m making an attempt to remind myself to take pleasure in each second. This can be a once-in-a-lifetime alternative that most individuals don’t get. So take pleasure in it, however work on sustaining it. 

DEADLINE: How has this second impacted you, Christina, as Matt’s longtime rep?

CHRISTINA SHAMS: I really feel so fortunate and blessed, truthfully, as a result of I received into this enterprise for a cause. And to have the ability to truthfully stay within the goal of with the ability to have a hand in serving to folks’s careers, that is, to me, probably the most magical a part of it.

I’ve recognized these guys for the reason that starting. We had been all youngsters. Matt was 17 after I met him; I used to be 23 years outdated, working The Giggle Manufacturing unit. So after I received an opportunity to be an agent and characterize them, I noticed what was occurring, and it was simply exhausting work, being an excellent individual. It was like, “We’re making an attempt to assist one another develop,” and I used to be like, “Maintain on, maintain on. I can do one thing right here; that is my vitality, too.”

Once we all teamed up, there was no cash on the desk. It was throughout the pandemic, and I simply knew, “There’s one thing right here, and I’ve received to water this.” And it’s so rewarding to see now that individuals which have been working their asses off, this entire time, are actually seeing the fruits of their labor. 

When this success began taking place, it allowed us to be like, “Okay, are we going to develop collectively?” And Matt actually mentioned to me, “Let’s go.” And never solely was I in a position to develop with him, develop with Paul, develop with my entire crew, I used to be in a position to begin my very own firm, which is unreal, particularly as a girl on this enterprise. I had been working, myself, too, to develop, and for Matt to be loyal and to say, “Let’s go,” it means the world.

DEADLINE: The second I knew you had been hitting the zeitgeist, Matt, was after I started listening to you referenced on the podcasts of so many main comedians. Have you ever been cognizant of what individuals are saying?

RIFE: No, I don’t hearken to or watch any podcasts in any respect, apart from possibly Joe Rogan often. What’s humorous is, I do get numerous texts or DMs from different comics or mates being like, “Hey, so-and-so’s speaking about you on this factor. Did you hear?” And I’m like, “No.” I don’t actually care if it’s constructive or unfavourable. I’m certain it’s a powerful mixture of each, and I get numerous actually cool, random calls. Like, Amy Schumer referred to as me yesterday simply to say that she thinks I’m superb and that she’s in my nook if I ever want recommendation or something, which is so type. After which I’ll hear any person’s speaking sh*t on their podcast about how I don’t deserve it, and every little thing’s due to my seems to be. It’s nothing I haven’t heard for the previous 10 years residing in L.A.

DEADLINE: Comedians usually appear to be powerful on these developing, making you show your self earlier than being invited into their membership. Nevertheless it looks as if you’ve now been embraced as a lot by them as by followers, having been invited, most notably, to carry out alongside Dave Chappelle…

RIFE: It’s a dream come true. You’re employed so lengthy on this trade for the respect of your friends. You wish to be allowed into that elite group of comic friends, so Chappelle Camp was type of the primary expertise of that, the place he’s my idol. There’s no person I look as much as in stand-up greater than Dave Chappelle. So for any person like that to supply me to return not simply carry out with him, however enter his dwelling, for him to be so hospitable and care for my mates and my household and my girlfriend, and be genuinely excited after I stroll right into a room. Like, we might stroll into the after-party, me and my girlfriend, and he would get on a microphone and be like, “Oh sh*t, Matt Rife’s right here. What up, Matt?” He handled me like an equal, quite than any person he was mentoring, quite than any person who he was put onto by any person else and he was simply being cordial. He handled me like an actual buddy and colleague, and gave me recommendation that I can solely think about was supposed for me to sometime attain his degree, and to assist navigate these trenches. So I’ve simply been so grateful, and it’s thrilling to be revered. 

PAUL ELIA: It’s the rationale why Matt and I began these out of doors reveals: We had been on a mission to get to the place we wished to get. We wished to be comedians within the recreation. We wished be revered, to inform distinctive tales, and when the pandemic occurred and every little thing stopped, we had been like, “We’ve received to only hold going with our dream.” And for some time, even once we had been establishing the reveals, we might lose cash doing reveals. Matt and I weren’t working as comedians, after which we’d every put in a thousand {dollars} to arrange a $2,000 present. Then, we might make $1,400 in ticket gross sales, after which we’d go eat burritos and speak about what we will do higher. After which it’s like, unhealthy issues would occur. We’d drive dwelling, I might get a flat tire. Matt, keep in mind if you modified my tire? [Laughs]

RIFE: Yeah. That was the primary time I had an opportunity to remind Paul to his face. I used to be like, “In case you had been questioning how a lot I really like you…” I handed Paul pulling over to alter his tire at like three o’clock within the morning, and every little thing inside me mentioned, “Simply go dwelling.” [Laughs] And I went, “I can’t try this as a result of Paul is the nicest individual I do know, and he wouldn’t depart me stranded.”

ELIA: You realize what’s loopy? After all of the reveals we’ve executed on vehicles, that he would go away me in mine. [Laughs] Nevertheless it’s so symbolic, in a manner, as a result of for therefore lengthy, we felt like we had been being gaslit. As a result of we had been all the time instructed, “If you happen to work exhausting and also you’re humorous, good issues will occur.” We’d work exhausting, we might be humorous, after which on the finish of the present, folks would stroll by like, “Hey, man. Thanks,” and simply stroll by. So to see Matt excel at this degree…Matt’s my brother, one in all my dearest mates. After I take a look at this, I’m like, “Man, justice is served. All of it is smart now.” For the quantity of labor that he’s put in, the quantity of chairs that he’s stacked, and all of the issues that we had been doing. Actually, I despatched Matt a video of each of us hauling dumpsters so we may make house to place in a truck. It was disgusting; I feel I’ve a illness now.

SHAMS: This simply speaks to their means to create alternative for themselves. Why I resonate with them so exhausting is…when the doorways had been shut, they had been like, “Oh, properly then we’re going go make it for ourselves.” And I feel there’s one thing to be realized right here from the way in which that they transfer, [for] different comedians within the enterprise.

RIFE: The success, at the very least on my finish, I simply take a look at it as a catalyst for myself and my mates. I’ve been in a position to rent one in all my finest mates and roommates for the final eight years as my tour supervisor. I’m in a position to take my finest mates on the highway. I’m in a position to assist government produce Paul’s upcoming particular. The best way I take a look at it’s like if one in all us succeeds from us all pushing one another, then all of us win. All of us reap that reward in a technique or one other. In order that’s type of the most effective half about it, is attending to share it with folks that you just love and respect and have been doing it for the reason that starting with.

DEADLINE: You actually did pull off one thing impressively entrepreneurial with Lowkey Outdoors, surviving the pandemic with these open air reveals. Are there some other recollections that persist with you that illustrate the challenges of pulling these off, or the lows that you just’ve navigated via to get to the place you are actually?

RIFE: There’s numerous them. There’s pushing dumpsters together with your naked palms, no gloves or sanitizer. There was a present that was not even offered out, outdoors. There was 32 tickets offered possibly, out of 120 we may have match on this new house, however Paul and I’d already paid the deposit on the house. We already booked the comedians. We had arrange the tools, and we received information that it was going to rain like an hour earlier than the present was supposed to start out. And we’re like, “Effectively, we’re already out cash, so we will’t be out extra cash and cancel the present. We at the very least must protect what we’re going to have left.” So we took the cash out of what we had been already going to lose and went to Dwelling Depot or Lowe’s, and simply purchased like 10 pop-up, job truthful type of tents that we simply taped amongst one another to create a roofed room that we may all carry out in outdoors. 

I’d say possibly 18 folks of the 32 tickets offered really confirmed up, however we nonetheless placed on a present. It was one in all our most enjoyable reveals as a result of everybody there was so conscious of what a sh*tshow it was, however that’s type of what introduced collectively the camaraderie and the humor of it. No person may actually consider we had been doing this, ourselves included, and that second of pure all-time low, within the sense of the manufacturing of a comedy present, was nonetheless one of many highs in these low moments. We had been capable of finding gratitude and positivity in that point.

What’s one other good one? The cops exhibiting up on our first day of doing it, 5 minutes earlier than present was supposed to start out. I used to be within the bathe and Paul kicked in my bathe [door]…[Laughs] It was cracked open so he didn’t must kick it, however he did it for dramatic impact. I’m like butt-ass bare behind my glass bathe door and Paul’s like, “Cops are right here.” And I simply threw on a towel actually fast, I threw on some shorts. I’m shirtless, working on the market, and the cops are inspecting our house unit. We’re like, “Oh, we’re going to get shut down.” Someone needed to have complained in regards to the noise or the truth that one thing was occurring throughout Covid, however no person’s alleged to be placing on any occasions. I keep in mind stopping with the cops, [being] like, “Is there something I can assist you with? As a result of clearly you’re right here for us.” He goes, “We’ll let you already know,” and makes his strategy to the again space, goes upstairs, talks to one of many folks residing upstairs, after which comes down and leaves… It seems it was simply home violence. That’s all. Nothing loopy. Nothing to do with us in any respect.

We had been scared sh*tless. We had been like, “We put a lot vitality and energy and thought into this primary present, and a lot time and money. I can’t consider it’s going to get shut down the primary time we tried to aim it.” And certain sufficient, nothing occurred and we had been in a position to try this present for the remainder of the pandemic. 

ELIA: Additionally, once we began doing the present from Matt’s house constructing, we primarily moved to Eagle Rock. We discovered this venue, and the proprietor of this property was the meanest, angriest dude, and he would consistently bully Matt and I.

RIFE: He threatened to close us down on a regular basis as a result of we wouldn’t wish to arrange one thing the way in which he wished to set it up. It was actually bizarre. 

ELIA: This man low-key bullied us, after which the entire time after reveals, we’d have this superb present, after which this man would simply hold demeaning us and we’re like, “Bro, we will’t simply hold letting him do that to us.” However the factor is, we knew this house was excellent. It was eliminated simply sufficient to the place cops aren’t actually making an attempt to police us. We will do reveals right here. After which I keep in mind finally, me and Matt simply had it. We had been like, “We’re executed.” So we had been like, “You realize what, man? We give up. We’re out. We’re not going to do reveals right here anymore with you.” So we really referred to as the chair folks, the man drove from Riverside to select up the chairs…

RIFE: By “chair folks” we imply a man who occurs to personal chairs in his storage…

ELIA: Yeah, and he would put them in a Camry. [Laughs] I don’t understand how he match 100 chairs.

SHAMS: I really feel just like the Lowkey present was step one of their largest entrepreneurial subsequent transfer, which was Matt self-producing his first particular. I keep in mind him coming to me and being like, “So, ought to we simply pitch my materials round city the normal manner?” I used to be like, “Effectively, we may try this.” However then he’s like, “You realize what? I’m bored with this. I’m simply going to go do it myself.” He created his personal ecosystem. Paul was a producer on this. I keep in mind going to this taping throughout the pandemic, watching [comedian] Erik Griffin seat folks. It was a labor of affection [like] I’ve by no means seen in my life, and that particular ended up propelling, I feel, numerous the issues that he has now.

DEADLINE: What have these experiences proven you, Matt, about what’s required to reach this enterprise?

RIFE: To ensure that one thing to return to fruition, you’ve to have the ability to tackle all of the duties. And fortuitously, I’m so blessed with so many good mates who did take day trip of their private schedule to actually load chairs, mop up flooring, do the nitty gritty stuff that no person actually needs to do.

Comedy, it was you’d simply write jokes, discover ways to inform jokes, and then you definately’d go to open mics and that results in extra stage time. That’s all you actually needed to do apart from discover ways to promote a bit bit, get the phrase out. However that got here from TV credit, late evening reveals, all that type of stuff. That was all it’s.

Now, that’s probably the most primary a part of it. That’s studying easy methods to learn and write at school. However in an effort to succeed, you’ve received to do science class, you’ve received to hit social research, fitness center class, math class, all of it. To be a well-rounded individual, you’ve received to discover ways to market in social media. It’s a must to discover ways to edit movies, easy methods to shoot movies. It’s a must to discover ways to e-book your individual journey. I had no concept that was such a giant factor. For years, till I received a tour supervisor, I used to be reserving all my very own flights, my very own inns, Greyhound buses, all that type of stuff. I might get to those golf equipment at 18 years outdated they usually’d be like, “Hey, so who units up your journey?” I’d be like, “Effectively, I try this,” and they might be amazed that an 18-year-old may get himself there when there’s 40-year-old comics who, for many years, can’t e-book their very own journey. I didn’t know that that’s a ability, or only a factor that individuals didn’t know easy methods to do for themselves.

So, you’ve to have the ability to do every little thing. These are probably the most primary ideas of being a stand-up as of late. However then if you get into the entrepreneurial aspect of issues, I had no concept easy methods to shoot a particular, I had no concept easy methods to produce a comedy present outdoors with my buddy. Paul and I had by no means executed that earlier than, but it surely’s simply trial and error. It’s [being] prepared to eat sh*t. It’s a must to be prepared to fail, however the silver lining in that’s, [you] already don’t have anything to lose. Already, no person’s handing me something. I’m already not doing, apparently, what I should be doing to succeed. So let’s do that factor. Let’s determine it out. Let’s fail a few occasions so we will work out easy methods to do it accurately, and simply do every little thing.

DEADLINE: Your success with social media and self-produced specials appears to focus on what’s so thrilling in regards to the world of stand-up at this time, compared to movie and tv, for instance. Even when you’ve needed to hone abilities you by no means thought you’d want, there’s now not a have to undergo conventional gatekeepers to construct an enormous profession, with many constructing a long-lasting fan base by way of platforms like YouTube and TikTok.

RIFE: That concept and route of conventional success in comedy doesn’t actually exist anymore. It’s a lot fewer and much additional between now. You’d get a late evening present for 5 minutes, and then you definately’d do Montreal, and then you definately’d get a TV sequence, after which Netflix or Comedy Central picks you up for a full particular. That basically doesn’t occur now. The leisure trade has gotten so lazy by way of social media, and social media does present everyone type of a chance to get seen and construct an viewers.

Now, numerous it’s luck. I can’t let you know what I did the primary time to get my first couple TikToks to pop off. I couldn’t let you know what that’s.

SHAMS: Matt used to hate social media, by the way in which.

RIFE: I’m a 55 yr outdated man. [Laughs] Like, I grew up round 40, 45, 50-year-old comedians who taught me that path to success. That’s how I noticed their careers blossom, so I’ve constructed my complete profession and life pondering that’s how issues are going to work. However now that social media does provide the alternative to get in entrance of individuals, the leisure trade has type of screwed itself over in that they’ve misplaced the facility of accessibility. That now could be in your telephone. 

DEADLINE: Is mainstream Hollywood one thing you’re all in favour of being part of? I do know you’ve each acted earlier than, however is that one thing you’re hoping to pursue significantly?

RIFE: Completely. I really like appearing simply as a lot, if no more than standup. I simply haven’t been doing it as lengthy and I haven’t been in a position to get my foot within the door in addition to I’ve been with stand-up. However now that I’ve the liberty in success by way of stand-up, it opens up avenues in different areas that I’m enthusiastic about, like movie and tv, that I’m hoping I could make that transition over to, as a result of it will probably solely feed itself. I’ve executed numerous unbiased work. I’ve executed numerous MTV, Disney-style stuff. So I’m actually wanting ahead to the following challenge that I work on in appearing to be one thing I’m actually pleased with and revel in doing. 

ELIA: I used to be appearing earlier than I did stand-up comedy, after which I did stand-up to assist parlay my appearing. Type of just like the spirit of Lowkey is like, I’ve most likely auditioned for 500 totally different TV reveals and films. I’ve auditioned loads and was all the time getting shut however not getting the half. There was all the time a factor. It’s like, “Oh, he’s too younger. Oh, he’s too outdated. Oh, he’s too Center Japanese.” I’m dropping roles like, “They went with Idris Elba.” [Laughs] Which is why I created my very own alternative.

Even me and [comedian] Ian Edwards, we determined to create the [web series] Roommates. So I used to be like, dude, I’ve simply received to make the factor to get folks to be like, “Oh, okay, cool.” Doing it by yourself is de facto the spirit and the way in which to go.

DEADLINE: Paul, what classes have you ever taken from Matt’s expertise as you look to make your individual self-financed particular? And what are you able to inform us about it?

ELIA: I’m simply not going to attend. The spirit of Solely Followers, Matt’s first particular, was impressed by, “I don’t want to attend for no person.” I’m prepared to inform a narrative, and I simply felt very able to put this out. That is going to be my Faculty Dropout. It’s referred to as Detroit Participant. We’re taking pictures it in Detroit. I instructed Matt that I wished to do it and Matt instantly was like, “How can I assist?” Christina is so instrumental on this challenge, and it’s simply cool to make one thing significant. All of the issues that we realized from Lowkey, all of the issues we realized from producing, all of the stuff that I realized from working with Matt on Solely Followers and Matthew Steven Rife, are issues that I’m making use of to Detroit Participant. And I might say what folks can count on is, that is going to be a banger.

DEADLINE: Matt, what are you able to inform us in regards to the materials you’re working with, as you put together to shoot your third particular?

RIFE: The fabric for this new hour is so enjoyable for me as a result of the primary half of it’s so foolish and ridiculous and enjoyable, and the second half is a few stuff I really received to pour some thought into, which, when you’ve watched both of my earlier specials, I type of like to finish the final of it with one thing folks can take into consideration, and put some thought behind, and provides some actual perspective on one thing I genuinely am enthusiastic about, in addition to making it humorous with a enjoyable story. So I’d say it’s my most enjoyable hour but. I feel individuals are actually going to love it. There’s one thing in there for everyone. 



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