Broadway shows are ubiquitous in New York City, with millions of tourists flocking to see the city's best performances each year. New York City is also known for being full of hidden gems, one of which is BATSU! Tucked underneath a sushi restaurant in the East Village, is BATSU! a Japanese game show where players "battle" with words and improv comedy; an experience unlike anything sold at the Broadway box office!
The performers of BATSU! are members of the acclaimed comedy group called Face Off Unlimited. The performance consists of four contestants, a Japanese host, and many surprises. The players must beat out their opponents or otherwise, they receive BATSU aka punishment. There are several rounds of challenges throughout the night. The least exciting example (to not give away too many spoilers) includes the players telling a story by stringing together a word. Whoever hesitates first will lose and be eliminated. When a player loses, they receive BATSU, which can be anything from electric shocks to a smashed egg on the head. You also never know when other actors dressed as large babies or in giant chicken costumes will join the stage to bring on a mini challenge.
The show lasts under two hours and you can order drinks and food throughout. As previously mentioned, the show is in the lower level of a sushi restaurant called Jebon, which provides food from their kitchen. "The sushi was not amazing, but you aren’t going for the food - you’re going for the ridiculously funny show they put on!" says a guest of the show. There is also an extensive alcohol list as well as the ability to buy a Hachimaki, a Japanese headband, for $15. The Hachimaki buys you multiple visits from the "sake ninja" throughout the night.
"BATSU! was a lot of fun for a big group of people. There are plenty of opportunities for audience participation and to win free beer and prizes!" says Kelly Picciurro, 28. They encourage at least one person from each table to join the performance. If you are a bit more reserved and don’t want to participate in physical comedy, note cards are passed around at the beginning of the night where guests can write down celebrity names. Performers then use the note cards for inspiration in later acts.
The room can fit about forty people so if you're planning to go, especially with a big group, plan ahead. You must purchase tickets directly from their website at batsunyc.com. They have performances six days a week. Pricing options include General Admission for $35.50 and VIP for $60.50. The VIP ticket includes the best table in the house, 1 Hachimaki headband, and visits from the Sake Ninja. Please note that tickets do not include food or drinks.
While part of the fun is the show’s mystery with each performance being unique, just know you'll be chanting BATSU all night long!