The drama began when plastic surgeon Dr Benjamin Caughlin, known as @manyfacesofchicago on social media, shared a viral video alluding to a “cancelled” celebrity that he had performed surgery on. “Me after creating the greatest jawline ever seen just for my patient to get cancelled right after,” Caughlin wrote over the clip, which showed him skipping down the hall of a doctor’s office.
He added in the video description: “He shall not be named… #cancelled #jawlinecheck #comedian #standup #celeb”.
Since it was posted earlier this week, the video has gone viral with 16.4m views on TikTok. The plastic surgeon then reposted the clip to Instagram, where it caught the attention of none other than Rife.
Many users in the comments section shared their guesses as to who the unnamed celebrity could be, with a majority of people claiming it was Rife. However, the 28-year-old comedian took to the comments section to clear things up. “Lying about medical history is illegal, just FYI,” he wrote under Caughlin’s Instagram post.
The Ohio native has repeatedly shut down speculation that his jawline and cheekbones are the result of plastic surgery, claiming that his looks are simply due to late puberty. During an appearance on the Cancelled with Tana Mongeau podcast in June, Rife was questioned whether he’s undergone cosmetic procedures.
“Not a single f***ing thing,” he told host Tana Mongeau. “I just kept getting older I guess, it’s so funny. The only thing I’ve had done is my teeth - I got veneers, obviously, because my teeth were f***ed when I was a kid.”
According to Rife, plastic surgeons have often wrongfully assumed that he’s had work done. “I’ve had people who claim to be plastic surgeons that’ll be like: ‘He’s had this…’ and I’m like, cool, you’re not only lying but you’re wrong at your job,” he continued.
“People’s number one online insult is: ‘Well, at least I don’t have plastic surgery.’ Cool, neither do I,” Rife added, emphasising that the only medical professional he credits with his appearance is “doctor G-O-D”.
Most recently, the comedian has been under scrutiny following the release of his Netflix special, Natural Selection. Before scoring his own Netflix special, Rife gained massive popularity on social media with his viral crowd work interaction videos. However, his streaming platform debut became embroiled in controversy when he began with a joke about domestic violence. The joke came as a shock to many of Rife’s fans, considering women make up a large portion of his online audience.
Ahead of its release, Rife admitted that he’s been “ridiculed online” for having a “female fan base,” telling Variety: “I don’t pander my career to women. I would argue this special is way more for guys.” When asked whether he’s worried about offending audiences with his darker material, Rife replied: “You don’t know what other people are into and that’s why you have to go out there and do your comedy and just lay it all out there, vulnerably, to find your audience.
“The way I look at it is, as a comedian everything comes down to intent,” he added. “I know for me, everything that leaves my mouth on stage is purely with the intention of making people laugh. It’s never any deeper, never any more or never any less than that.”
Following the controversy, Rife took to his Instagram Story to share what appeared to be an apology. He directed people who may have been “offended by a joke I told” to his “official apology” that was labelled: “Tap to solve your issue”.
The link led users to a website selling helmets for people with special needs.
The Independent has contacted Rife and Caughlin for comment.