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Comic Strippers return to Surrey’s Bell a year after ‘milestone’ show there

‘That was our biggest show ever,’ says Ken Lawson of male-stripper parody/improv-comedy production
The Comic Strippers, clockwise from left: Chris Casillan, Ken Lawson, David Milchard, Michael Teigen, Roman Danylo and Pearce Visser.

SURREY — Last time through Surrey it was a milestone night for the Comic Strippers, a male-stripper parody and improv-comedy show.

On a Saturday night last January, the Vancouver-based guys in the touring show bared their chests – while wearing bow-ties, of course – for a night of laughs at Bell Performing Arts Centre.

“That was our biggest show ever, and I think we broke the 1,000 (tickets) mark that night, so it was pretty fun,” performer Ken Lawson said in a recent phone interview.

“Surrey is a fun place to play,” he added. “That was a milestone night for us.”

Not surprisingly, Lawson sounds stoked to return to the Bell with the Comic Strippers a second time, on Friday, Feb. 9.

He and the other characters – all veterans of Vancouver TheatreSports League – are “semi-dressed and completely unscripted” for the adult-only show, which is truly a gut-busting good time for all genders.

The talented, quick-thinking comics try to be sexy, but it just comes across as funny, with beefy dancing, gyrating and banter.

The characters are all named Chip – Chip Rock, Chip Dip, Chip Otle and Chip Sahoy, among others.

The show stars Lawson along with Chris Casillan, David Milchard, Michael Teigen, Roman Danylo and Pearce Visser. It’ll be a five-man cast in Surrey this time around, with only Milchard missing.

For Lawson, doing the Comic Strippers is a lot of fun.

“It’s hard to believe but I think we’re in our fifth year, which I don’t think anyone can believe, but this just took off,” Lawson said. “We all like each other, we’re good friends. We were talking last fall and we figured out that we all, as a group, have eaten out together more than we have with our significant others.”

Lawson, a former youth counsellor, runs a theatre company and also plays guitar in a band called Revered (“composer/front-man Emmett Hall’s musical experiment into pseudo-new wave/prog-rock cathartic nonsense,” according to its page). But he manages to find time to perform about five dozen dates a year with the Comic Strippers.

“We’re heading back to Hawaii in about a month, which we’re super excited about, and we’re in Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz here in a bit, which are awesome towns,” Lawson raved.

“We’re very lucky, and we haven’t put up our full tour schedule (on the website) yet but we’re doing about 60 shows a year, which is pretty good. We’re very comfortable with that.… We’re really fortunate in that we tour much differently than bands I used to be in, where it was a crappy old van and you’re all staying on someone’s couch and you’re driving for 48 hours at a time. We’re lucky, because (with the Comic Strippers) we kind of fly in, do a couple of cities with a little driving, then we fly out. It’s pretty great that we can do that.”

A documentary movie about the show – “a real documentary about fake strippers” – was made early on, and it’s available for download from the website,


“We have four different versions of the show now,” Lawson explained, “and we have choreographed dances we have to work on, so some of those rehearsals are ridiculous. So you have five almost-50-year-old men just trying to learn how to dance somewhat non-offensively. You can only imagine.”

Last time in Surrey, the Comic Strippers didn’t attract a lot of men to the theatre, and Lawson expects a different story in February.

“We generally get about 10 to 15 per cent guys in the crowd, and usually they come along reluctantly, right,” he said. “But when they get there it’s usually, ’Ah, it’s fine. It’s funny.’ We tell the men, ‘C’mon down, guys, we’re going to make you look good.’ I mean, this body I have is very easily attainable. It doesn’t take a lot of work to get a body like mine. Really, it’s kind of gender-less show.”

In the first seven weeks of 2018, the Comic Strippers are on a “home stand” for shows in Surrey, North Van, Maple Ridge, Chilliwack, Vancouver and Burnaby.

”All of us do film and TV when they have us,” Lawson related, “so there are scheduling issues sometimes, and when we fly out for a show we tend to bring it down to four (performers), and that’s mostly for economics. But for local shows we try to do five or six (performers), depending on schedules. We’re doing six local shows over the next month and a half, which we’ve never done before, and it’s exciting.

“It’s a weird thing,” he added, “because we’re kind of successful out across Canada, you know, and the western States, but a lot of people still don’t know who we were locally. It’s kind of a classic Canadian rock ‘n’ roll thing, so it’s nice to do this many shows locally. Plus, you can drive 30 minutes or an hour and you’re home, as opposed to flying for four hours and three hours of driving.… In Surrey, my brother’s out there so I’ll probably just go crash at his place, which is even more convenient.”

For tickets ($37/$42) for the Comic Strippers’ Feb. 9 show at the Bell, visit, or call 604-507-6355.

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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