‘What We Do in the Shadows’: Matt Berry Improvised Laszlo Yelling ‘Bat!’

The vampires in What We Do in the Shadows possess the ability to transform into a bat, aside from Colin Robinson. Nandor, Laszlo, and Nadja use this skill throughout the FX series, but Laszlo is the only character who shouts “Bat!” before transforming. Here’s how this line from Matt Berry became an integral part of the show.

Matt Berry yells bat in What We Do in the Shadows. Laszlo stands outside holding an apple.
Matt Berry as Laszlo in ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ | Russ Martin/ FX

Why does Laszlo say ‘bat’ in ‘What We Do in the Shadows’?

The vampires in What We Do in the Shadows have a variety of abilities. They can use hypnotism, fly, and transform into a bat. Some vampires have special powers. For example, Nadja bites a vampire named Jenna, who learns she has the ability to turn invisible.

While Laszlo helps Nadja train Jenna in What We Do in the Shadows, he tells her, “The transformation into a bat is probably the most important thing a vampire can do.” He also explains his method. “When I turn into a bat, there’s no real skill to it at all. I just shout, ‘bat!'” he tells her.

Matt Berry improvised Laszlo shouting ‘Bat!’

It turns out this quirk of Laszlo’s is a line that Matt Berry improvised, though the actor doesn’t really remember coming 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 told 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.” Natasia Demetriou, who plays Laszlo’s wife Nadja, recalls exactly how the “bat” line entered What We Do in the Shadows.

“I remember where the first ‘Bat!’ came from,” Demetriou told Polygon. “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!’”

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“It was just a kind of signifier,” Berry explained. “It’s always funny if someone says the thing that they’re going to do. That’s probably why I said it.” Demetriou added that she was “almost dying with laughter” at the improvised line. “It wasn’t in the script,” she stated.

Can energy vampires turn into a bat?

Unlike Laszlo, Nadja, and Nandor, Colin Robinson is an energy vampire. He feeds on his victims by boring or annoying them and draining their life force. Colin isn’t harmed by sunlight, religious objects, or silver, but he also doesn’t possess some of the abilities of the other vampires.

For example, energy vampires in What We Do in the Shadows can’t turn into bats. Colin doesn’t seem bothered by this much, though. At one point, he tells his friends that he doesn’t mind taking the bus.

New episodes of What We Do in the Shadows air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on FX.