Theatre Trips

An Inside Look: BATSU! in NYC’s East Village

Last week, Theatre Trip got the chance to check out BATSU in Manhattan’s East Village! And if you have no idea what that is, you’re in for a fun surprise. In this show, some of the city’s coolest improvisers compete in hilarious challenges in order to avoid “batsu”, which happens to be the Japanese word for “punishment”!

* We highly recommend going to see BATSU, so we are awarding them a ⭐ !

Location: New York, NY

Experiencing BATSU in NYC:

The BATSU! experience begins before you even enter the space. The theatre itself is quaintly hidden in the East Village (one of my FAVORITE parts of NYC), only to be found by one simple lantern and a doorman. You would never know that such a huge ball of fun awaits you on the other side of that door.

After entering, we were led to the communal tables and given some time to order some food. And we of course ordered a bit of sushi to get in the mood. Oh, and did I mention that BATSU is basically a Japanese game show? The night started off with some light entertainment – a couple of dancers strutting their stuff on stage. And soon it was time to begin!

The games officially opened after the sounding of the gong. And it was then that we met our four competitors. The night was full of so many fun challenges for them – some party games and some general improv games. And whoever lost each one, got … you guessed it! BATSU!

Batsu pirate.
Photo by @instanycfood➝

If you’re at all confused by the photo above, that’s just one of the punishments. In this particular punishment, an angry pirate comes onstage and mops the faces of the losers.

Curious about what some of the other punishments are? Well, I don’t want to give away too much – because the constant surprise is half of the fun! But without going into detail, there’s also the huge balloon, the body sushi, the beer chugging, the chicken, and the naughty ballerina.

The Batsu ballerina.
Photo by @instanycfood➝

One of the really thoughtful parts of the show is the way that they incorporate audience participation. You will only be brought on stage if you request it in advance (and in writing before the show). And if you do participate, you can win free beer and prizes! This is just a wonderful touch for those of you who may avoid shows like these out of fear of interactive elements. If that sounds like you, you have to go see BATSU!

And there are even more fun surprises that happen throughout the night! One of my favorite parts was the sake ninja! If you choose to buy one of the BATSU headbands (and actually wear it), the sake ninja will be secretly visiting your table to refill your sake. And I would definitely recommend splurging on this, because it’s so fun to be a part of all of the social drinking.


Batsu NYC Ninja.
Photo by @nybucketlist➝

The host was awesome, the staff was incredible, and the improvisers were hilarious! We were smiling and laughing from start to finish, along with everyone around us. The effort that has been put into this show is unbelievable, and it’s definitely a “must-experience in NYC”. This is the real deal folks! So next time you’re in the city, make sure to book tickets for BATSU!!

Have you ever been to BATSU?

Or have you experienced any other wild and crazy shows? Let us know in the comments! And in the meantime, you can always check out our archive of past theatre visits for even more insight on what’s going on in theaters around the world!

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* The featured image is by @nybucketlist.

* A special thanks to BATSU! for inviting us to the show!

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Stacy Karyn, Author of BATSU - An In Inside Look.
Author: Stacy Karyn

Stacy Karyn is the founder of Theatre Trip, author of The Thespian’s Bucket List, and creator of The Cast Album List. She holds a BA in theatre, a TESOL drama certificate, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.


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