batsu!

Ethan Anderton Fell in Love with the BATSU! Comedy Show

For a friend’s birthday, I headed into Chicago to catch a show called BATSU! It takes place in the upper level lounge of Chicago’s Old Town sushi bar Kamehachi, and it’s one of my favorite things that I’ve ever seen in in the city.

BATSU! means “penalty” or “punishment,” and that’s exactly what is dished out to four “warriors” who complete in a series of comedy challenges. Those challenges are improv games that you’ve seen played on the likes of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Second City or Improv Olympic, and whenever one of the participants loses these games, the audience summons BATSU! upon them. That includes punishments like getting shot with paintballs, getting a giant rubber band snapped against their body, having an egg cracked on their head by a giant chicken, or eating sushi with soy sauce off someone else’s hairy body. It’s basically a Japanese game show mixed with some of the best improv comedy you’ve ever seen.

For those looking to celebrate a birthday or bachelor/bachelorette party, BATSU! likes to get the crowd involved in the proceedings by having a few members participate in the games. But that means they also have to endure some punishments themselves. There’s also the typical audience participation to contribute to the games as well.

If you’re in the Chicago area, I recommend you round up a group of friends and get tickets to BATSU! Check out the official website right here.

Peter Sciretta is Building a Podcast Studio

As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve launched a daily podcast (called, not so cleverly, /Film Daily). The quality of the first few episodes was very rough. I hate to admit this publicly, but I’ve had a Blue Yeti mic for probably 7 years now and found out I was speaking into it incorrectly (apparently, you’re supposed to speak into the side of the mic, not the top like a traditional microphone) so every podcast appearance I’ve made over the last decade probably sounded bad. At the encouragement of /Filmcast maestro David Chen, I have taken a number of steps to up the quality level of the show, which has led to me creating a podcast studio.

Why create a podcast studio? Noise, mainly. My condo is not really set-up for good acoustics, as it’s mainly a large one-room loft that is very echoey. This also means that when the air conditioner goes on or my dog Pixel decides to take a drink, you can hear it from clear across the room. So I came up with the idea to turn my closet into a podcast studio on the cheap, and while I’m not completely done, you can see from the image above that the project has progressed quite nicely.

I bought a $59 desk at Target and a yellow chair at Ikea. The acoustic paneling is around $15 for a 12 pack on Amazon. I learned that the corners in the room still provided a bass echo, which required me to buy some bass traps, basically acoustic panels that fit in the corners of the ceiling to stop noise reflections. I got a pop filter for my Yeti mic, which prevents pops in the recording, and have mounted the mic to a boom arm, which was probably the most expensive part of this conversion at $90.

I have yet to record in the new podcasting studio as I somehow didn’t realize that the internet signal was not good enough to record over Skype from inside a closet. So yesterday, I got a network cable for the closet. I’m very excited to try out the new studio on tomorrow’s episode of /Film Daily. Please give it a listen and let me know how it sounds!

Jack Giroux Has Been Catching Up With The Good Place

I finally caught up with The Good Place after hearing nothing but good things. It’s as funny as I was told. Once I hit play, it was hard to stop. To say no to more of Ted Danson always wearing a bowtie and being delightful? Impossible! He just has such a fun presence. I absolutely loved him on Bored to Death, where he played a character you wouldn’t mind spending a lot of time with, and that’s how I feel about his work on The Good Place. He has an infectuous energy and kindness about him that I love. Kristen Bell is great as one empathetic former jerk trying to be better, too. Her character, and most of the leads in The Good Place, deal with some relatable questions and problems in a fantastical setting. If you removed the supernatural elements of the series, it’d still be a great set of characters dealing with some everyday problems.

The Good Place is such a clever and fun show, and more than once, I was very surprised by where it went. If you haven’t seen it yet, wait for a rainy day and binge-watch it on Hulu.

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