Funny Freaking Friday: BATSU!


Student Activities Board members with the cast of BATSU! Japanese Game Show following the show.

Samantha Paar, Contributor

Japanese pop-culture is something Americans have always seemed to take an interest in.

From anime to sushi, America’s youth loves it. Therefore, it was no surprise to see a ton of California University of Pennsylvania students and adults flock to the Natali Performance Center Oct. 6 to watch the improv show Batsu.

The team, owned by the company “Face Off Unlimited,” is on their very first college tour this fall. The word “batsu” itself means penalty or punishment in Japanese.

The high-energy host of the night introduced himself and the infamous gong of punishment. He then introduced the four warriors to the audience: Peter-San, Steve Grande-San, Chris-San and Johnathan-San.

The first challenge of the night was “The Story.” The contestants had to make up a story that goes with the chosen title, but the catch is they could only speak when the host is pointing at them. Whenever he would stop pointing at a player they had to stop immediately, and whoever he pointed at next had to pick up exactly where the last man left off. If anybody stuttered, repeated themselves or hesitated they would receive batsu.

The first item used for punishment is a paint ball gun. Whoever messes up has to get shot by another player wherever they so chose.

When the audience was asked to provide a title for the story, somebody enthusiastically shouted out, “The dragon and the special noodles!”

In unison, the four players yell “The Dragon and the Special Noodles, chapter one!” and they were off.

Chris-san was the first to mess up, stumbling over the word “nemesis.” Peter-san grabbed the paint ball gun, but in order for him to be able to shoot the crowd had to chant “batsu” over and over again. A painful hit to the stomach later, and the remaining three continued the story.

Eventually, Steve-chan tripped up on the word “walking.” And finally, Johnathan-san was out after an intense final round against Peter-san on the grounds that he hesitated.

The next game involved two audience members. The four men were split into two teams of two, and two volunteers came up on stage to help them out. One person from each team left the room, and the audience had to give a word with many syllables to each team.

The girls Lellie and Caroline vigorously tried to get their teams to win: Lellie’s team’s word was ceramic, and Caroline’s team’s was chloroform. While the host himself said he was sure Lellie’s team would win, Caroline and her team pulled through. Leaving the stage with a twelve-pack of beef Ramen noodles and a smile, Lellie was left on the stage with her team to receive batsu.

Chris-san and Johnathan-san had seemingly disappeared, up until Chris came back onto the stage shirtless, in a wig and in a tiny hula skirt. Johnathan, now dressed as a sushi-chef, put down a table. Chris laid on it, while Johnathan brings out vegetarian sushi.

Soy sauce was poured into Chris’ bellybutton, and some sort of teriyaki sauce poured onto his body. Three pieces of sushi were placed on his body for the three players to pick up with chopsticks.

Lellie, already traumatized from eating off this hairy man’s body, was offered a $25 gift card to Walmart if she drank the soy sauce out of his belly button with a twisty straw. When she declined, Caroline was offered the same thing and she accepted.

Another challenge was to make a rap song, each player having to rhyme with a name given by the audience. Whichever player repeated a rhyme or tripped up received batsu. Johnathan-san had to put his fingers into live mouse traps, Steve-san got beat up by Johnathan in a leotard, and Chris-san had to drink dirty mop water.


Chrissy, the score keeper, informed the audience that as it stood, Chris-san was in last place with 125 points. Next, with 150 points, was Steve-san. In second was Peter-san with 175. Johnathan-san was in first place with 250 points.

In the semi-finals, the game “Quick Whip Challenge” was played. The four players stood in a line and had to tell a joke based off of the topic given by a random audience member. For jumping out, they receive 25 points. However, if the audience doesn’t laugh, they receive batsu.

For this final round they needed another audience member, and they happened to choose me. My job was to distribute the punishments to the challengers who failed to make the audience laugh. I was deemed “the mistress of pain.”

I was given a box of clothespins to start punishment off with. I was permitted to put a clothespin wherever I wanted on their face. The joke was: “a twizzler walks into a bar,” and then the contestant had to say a punch-line.

Steve-san was the first to mess up, so naturally I pinched his nose. Next is Chris-san, who got a clothes pin pinched onto his ear.

The next round, the contestants had to make James Bond puns that involved a rubber chicken.

For punishment, they put a rubber band around their waist that I had to pull back and snap. Chris-san was left with two large welts on his stomach, grimacing in pain.

To end with, whoever did not make the audience laugh was hit over the head with a paper fan-like concoction. Feeling like a bully, I leave the stage with a 12 pack of shrimp Ramen noodles.

After the semi-finals, the two remaining contestants were Johnathan-san and Peter-san. For the final challenge, the two had to make a statement about a topic given by the audience. The other person could challenge this statement, and if it was a valid argument they get to take over and they also get more points.

The batsu for this round was brutal: each contestant was adorned with a dog’s shock collar, turned on to full blast. Whenever the other person won the challenge takes over, the person who lost gets shocked.

The topic was “fidget spinners,” given by a very enthusiastic audience member.

By the end of the mindless rambling, Johnathan ended up with the most points and is therefore adorned the winner of the night. He rings the gong, ending “all of pain and suffering for a few minutes” as claimed by our lively host.