This comedian was the David to Harvey Weinstein’s Goliath — and lived to tell the tale.
Kelly Bachman made headlines in 2019 for calling out Weinstein during a stand-up comedy event that the now-imprisoned mogul attended at the Lower East side bar Downtime — an incident she reflects on in the new FX documentary “Hysterical.”
Premiering April 2 (9 p.m. on FX and hitting Hulu the next day), “Hysterical” explores the experiences of women in the comedy world, from superstars Kathy Griffin, Margaret Cho and Sherri Shepherd to relative newcomers like Bachman, who was 27 and unknown at the time that her call-out went viral.
“It’s definitely one of those flashbulb memories,” Bachman, now 29, tells The Post. “When I think back to that night specifically, it felt like something that should be happening on a TV show, not in my life. I remember being really nervous, like, ‘Does this person still have that power to even quietly blacklist me like he used to?’”
In the now-infamous video footage, Bachman gets onstage and addresses the crowd, which included Weinstein, the sex predator sentenced last year to 23 years in prison whom she called the “elephant” and the “Freddy Krueger” in the room. At the time, Weinstein had been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 70 women though he had yet to stand trial.
Comedian Kelly Bachman speaks out about taking on Harvey Weinstein in FX’s “Hysterical.” Getty Images/FX
“I didn’t know that we have to bring our own mace and rape whistles to Actor’s Hour,” she said, and was met with some “boos” and one “shut up!” from the audience.
“I have been raped — surprisingly by no one in this room — but I’ve never gotten to confront those guys,” she continued, eliciting cheers. “So, just a general ‘f–k you’ to whoever…”
As a sexual-assault survivor, Bachman, who grew up in North Carolina and is now based in Brooklyn, was overwhelmed by the reaction to her revelation by national media.
“I wasn’t necessarily ready for that part of my identity to be in the news when that went viral. It wasn’t a secret, but it wasn’t broadcast out there. I was already passionate about advocating for these issues. I had produced a show called ‘Rape Jokes by Survivors,’ in 2018 before this, and that was important to me. But I wasn’t in that show.”
Kelly Bachman performs stand-up, as show in FX documentary “Hysterical.” FX
Because of the sudden flood of messages that she got on social media in 2019, Bachman said that she overlooked many of them — and nearly missed it when the producers of “Hysterical” reached out to her via direct message on Instagram and Twitter.
“That was surreal,” she said. “Seeing them say, ‘Margaret Cho was talking about you, Nikki Glaser was talking about you, so we want to talk to you because they’re talking about you.’”
In the film, Glaser and Cho praise the “badass” Bachman, and wonder if they would’ve been able to call out Weinstein to his face.
“I feel kind of imposter syndrome any time people call me ‘brave,’” said Bachman. “I am grateful to be part of this documentary and I’m really grateful to see comedy heroes of mine even knowing my name — let alone telling me that I did something that they would be proud of, or that would be difficult for them to do. I literally cry when people say things like that. It’s emotional for me.”
Kelly Bachman in “Hysterical.”
The past pandemic year has been a particularly rough time for the stand-up world, and Bachman has gotten through it by bartending on the side.
“Like everybody else, I’ve tried to figure out how to be more online,” she said. “I did some outdoor shows last summer in Brooklyn. I’ve been doing Zoom shows here and there. Not a lot, I’ve more retreated to my other interests, just because comedy doesn’t feel as doable without indoors. So I wrote a few pilot scripts, I’ve been writing some songs — I’m a musician as well.”
She has no immediate plans for an indoor show, even as New York’s comedy clubs are re-opening at 25 percent capacity on April 2.
“I would like to at least have the vaccine myself [before doing that],” she said. “I think I’ll start producing an outdoor show when it gets warmer. I don’t want to host a super-spreader event; that’s my main goal for 2021.”
Although Bachman is proud to be known for calling out Weinstein, she doesn’t want to be entirely defined by the incident.
“If I Google myself, that’s the narrative that’s out there about me. And it’s an intense narrative to be out there, as a person who wants to spread joy,” she said. “But if it’s had the impact that some people say it has, that’s the kind of impact I hope to have with my whole life.”