Comedian Matt Rife is in Minnesota doing 6 shows in 3 nights, and I got a chance to see his first show in Duluth, here's how it was.

I went from not knowing who Matt Rife was to scrambling to get tickets when they originally went on sale last year because my wife knew, and she really wanted to see him, so I got tickets and after months of waiting last night was the night to finally see what the hype is about him.

The 28-year-old Rife took the stage after two opening acts, one of them being Jackson McQueen, a comedian from LA, he had some funny jokes and had the crowd laughing, he did a bit about mosquitoes tasting blood like humans test taste wine, it was pretty funny, and by the time he was done, the crowd was ready for Rife.

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Before Rife took the stage we were given multiple reminders about not even thinking about pulling out your phone during the show or risk being immediately kicked out, no warnings, just out you go! I didn't notice anyone being booted from the show, but security was monitoring closely and communicating loudly on the radios, we will get to that later.

I'm not sure what time he took the stage, as I wasn't risking looking at the time on my phone, but it was probably around 8:30, he came out wearing a green Duluth Pack t-shirt and immediately went into a couple of jokes about Duluth, typical weather related jokes, he mentioned that he was considering wearing a jacket for the first time on stage.

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Rife didn't waste anytime getting into some of the controversial humor he's known for, I'm not going to get into detail about the jokes, but if you've watched any of his material or have read any news about him, you have an idea.

After 20 minutes or so, Rife started to do what I think he's best at, working the crowd and talking to the audience, most of his conversations were with people in the front row, one of which was what sounded like the owner of Superior Family Restaurant, another was a nursing student that just took her board exams, all the interactions he had with the crowd were funny, and he did a fantastic job recalling those conversations later in the show for some laughs.

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But, his interactions with event security and the spotlight operator were some highlights for me. The spotlight was an issue the entire show, one of the opening acts asked the operator to turn the brightness down a couple of times before Rife hit the stage, but during Rife's set the spotlight operator wasn't doing a great job of smoothly following the comedian around the stage, at one point Rife was completely in the dark and had to move back into light, that's when he made a joke and started running around the stage in an effort to try and get the operator to follow him.

Another incident with DECC security provided a moment of spontaneous humor, some of the members of the DECC security team and staff had radios to communicate during the show, the problem is, some of them weren't using earpieces and the communications could be heard from the speaker on the radios, I heard several radio communications during the show. Towards the end of his set, the security staff at the front of the stage had their radio so loud that Rife heard it and asked, "What the hell was that?" Rife made a quick joke and moved on, but it wasn't a great look for the DECC and something they should address moving forward, especially for comedy shows, as it was quite distracting hearing the radios during a live show.

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Rife ended his set just before 10 PM, the crowd had to be cleared out to make room for the 10:30 PM show, that audience was waiting to get in as we were leaving. The DECC staff did a great job of transitioning from show to show. It was also a breeze to get into the show, we didn't have to stand in line for more than 5 minutes to go through security, but getting a drink was a little bit of a pain, as you need to go downstairs into Paulucci Hall to get concessions, and with little signage and the temperature rising by the minute in there, it was not an enjoyable experience.

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Overall, I give Matt Rife 4/5 stars, he's got a great sense of humor and infectious energy, I now understand why people like him so much, consider me a fan going forward.

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