Backfat Variety

By Andrew Andrews

Nasser Khan explains the hidden image on the MTA Subway Map: a penis slapping an elderly woman in the face!

We’ve been attending Backfat Variety for a few years now, and the fourth anniversary show was the first event reviewed for this project when we launched three months ago. They’ve been on hiatus ever since, and with their return, we decided to attend—and therefore, review—once more.

When they say “variety,” what the Backfat crew really means is a variety of comedians, as this show isn’t a true variety show in the likes of last night’s Brooklyn Loft Party or even Bitchcraft, but the lack of non-comedy acts doesn’t make the production any less enjoyable. And besides, there’s more to the show than just stand-up: tonight’s event, for example, started with hosts Emily Winter and Larry Mancini each performing a comedic song about Oscar Noms—hers an a cappella ditty about what to eat while watching the awards, and his with a few words about each of this year’s nominations, accompanied by guitar.

The first guest set was provided by Nasser Khan, who drew attention to the hidden image in every MTA New York City subway map. Now, years ago someone convinced yours truly that the hidden image is a muscle man showing off his guns, with The Bronx as his head, looking right (think of Pelham Bay Park as his eye and a tuft of hair, Locust Point as his nose and the Bronx River as his mouth), northern Queens as his shoulder and biceps, and the rest of the city as his torso. Khan, however, has replaced that interpretation with that of a penis (Manhattan) smacking an elderly woman in the face (Queens & Brooklyn). Thanks a lot, Nasser!

Next up, Tim Platt performed a skit of sorts (with audience participation) demonstrating his tendency to be a difficult customer when he eats at a restaurant. A word of advice to Tim: consider what can happen to your food in the kitchen before it gets to your table, and you might start treating your servers with a little more respect!

Rounding out the first half of the show, Patrick Hastie recalled his experience driving a tractor into the side of the family barn as a rebellious twelve-year-old in rural Iowa. Then, after a short intermission, Hari Kondabolu explained how female assault victims don’t get enough respect, and suggested that any man wearing a football jersey in public “deserves” to be tackled by strangers because what kind of message is he sending, wearing an outfit like that? We’re not about condoning violence here, but maybe Hari is on to something!

Rounding out the night, Julia Shiplett tried to make sense of her actions as a heterosexual feminist (literally sleeping with the enemy!); Matt Nedostup commended pirates for their willingness to hire the disabled (“Peg leg and hook arm? Welcome aboard!”); and Emily Galati said that men who are murderers are better than the guys she meets through online dating, because at least they’re willing to make plans and follow through with them!

As always, Backfat Variety lived up to our expectations, and we’re glad it’s returned. The next show is scheduled for February 28th, so if you need to laugh, walk the few short steps from the Bergen Street F/G stop to 61 Local, and climb the stairs to a night of free comedy that’s always worth a lot more than you pay for!


Andrew Andrews attended Backfat Variety at 61 Local in Brooklyn on Thursday, January 26, 2017 @ 8:30pm to write this review.