Every time horny vampire Laszlo Cravensworth transforms into a bat in What We Do in the Shadows, he announces it proudly and loudly, with an energetic “Bat!” It’s hard to imagine the vampire sitcom without the iconic exclamation, but actor Matt Berry actually can’t quite remember how he came up with it.
“I was talking to [executive producer] Jemaine [Clement] about this — I don’t even remember doing the first one. And he can’t remember where it kind of came from,” Berry tells Polygon. “It’s probably something where I felt that the scene had to end kind of naturally. And it was my way of getting out of the scene. It’s like the improvisations started to kind of dry out. So I thought, Screw this, I need to get out of there.”
Berry might not be able to recall the exact details of the very first “Bat,” but luckily his co-star Natasia Demetriou, who plays his wife, Nadja, remembers, because it was just so damn funny.
“I remember where the first ‘Bat!’ came from,” Demetriou interrupts. “I could be mistaken, but we were on the bridge in that park in LA for the pilot. And then it was like, Right Matt, so you’re going to bat away, and so you just went, ‘Bat!’”
“It was just a kind of signifier,” Berry explains. “It’s always funny if someone says the thing that they’re going to do. That’s probably why I said it.”
“I remember almost dying with laughter,” says Demetriou. “It wasn’t in the script.”
Berry’s “Bat!” comes from a similar place as another Laszlo character quirk — pronouncing words in unexpected ways (such as emphasizing an odd syllable). It’s a bit of controlled chaos, says Berry.
“There’s no directing that, it’s just to keep me amused as well,” Berry says. “They’re all kind of made up. We have such great directors and great people in charge of the show that kind of let us just run with any old stupidity.”
New episodes of What We Do in the Shadows air on FX on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EDT and are available to watch on Hulu.
Additional reporting by Pete Volk.