Roman Danylo couldn’t have dreamed about it a decade ago, but The Comic Strippers comedy troupe he helped launch has become a bit of a touring machine.
Ten years ago this month, on a comedy stage at Granville Island, Danylo and Chris Casillan first performed the male-stripper parody as a duo, then soon added Ken Lawson for a tour of Australia.
“That was a big deal,” Danylo recalled. “It was super cool because all of a sudden this show was selling out. ‘Like, they don’t even know who we are! Something’s happening!’”
By now, improv-comedy fans in Surrey must know about The Comic Strippers, as they’ve played Bell Performing Arts Centre many times, with another show date scheduled at the Sullivan-area theatre Friday, Nov. 18. All tickets are $49 on tickets.bellperformingartscentre.com.
On tour this fall, Danylo has travelled with Ken Lawson, Chris Casillan and David Milchard, three of the seven rotating “core” Strippers. On stage, they’re all named Chip and have pun-y last names – Chip Dip, Chip Otle, Chip Sahoy, and so on.
Over the years the comedy show has evolved a bit, but the core idea remains: These guys try to be sexy, it just comes out funny. Constantly grooving and gyrating between scenes, the Strippers banter with the crowd, sing, “dance,” and make people laugh.
“It’s become this thing, you know,” Danylo said in a phone call from a lakeside cabin in Ontario, during a recent break. “We look at this in six-month blocks, and if there’s demand, we’ll do the show. If not, who knows what the future brings.”
Danylo says he’s never been part of a show that sells on concept, like this one does. “People get the title, get what we’re doing, and then they want to come,” he explained.
“We’ve come up with some new and interesting endings, things like that,” Danylo continued. “There’s this epic, kind of slow-motion ending to the (Green Day) song, time of your life, so that’s a weird ending, and now we have another one where we do a Broadway-style curtain call that goes on, like, way too long, all these nonstop bows.
“It’s developed from a parody of a stripper show to where now it’s kind of its own genre of comedy.”
When COVID-19 killed live comedy, Danylo said the Comic Strippers considered pivoting to online shows. Instead, they “parked the race car in the garage and waited out the storm” until last spring, when they put the keys in the ignition and hit the road again, with some changes.
”We still get suggestions from the crowd and banter with people, and there’s probably more of that now, but the COVID protocols resulted in us not going into the crowd or having anyone come up on stage,” Danylo explained. “It’s interesting because now there’s just more improv that comes out of just us being on stage, without audience participation in the show, interaction. We’re now just more pure improv.”
Check thecomicstrippers.com for tour dates, tickets, videos and more about The Comic Strippers.