The Morning Star

They’re sexy and they know it

The vision of Farley shaking his belly to Loverboy’s Working for the Weekend in sync with a buff Patrick Swayze is hard to shake off.

There’s something about men willing to take most of it off – or in The Full Monty’s case, all of it off – that has women, and men, laughing along in blushed awe while wiping the tears away from their eyes.

It’s comedy gold – just ask Vancouver comedian Roman Danylo who, with three fellow comics, is bringing the fictitious male stripper troupe, The Comic Strippers, to Vernon in a semi-undressed, totally unscripted show, June 28.

“Guys should not shy away from this show,” insists Danylo. “The split usually is 70 per cent women and 30 per cent guys who attend, so it’s smart for guys to go.”

Best known for appearing for five seasons on CTV’s Comedy Inc., and who some will recall from the last time he was in Vernon in October with The Ultimate Comedy Show, Danylo has gathered some of Vancouver’s top improv comics unafraid to bare their chests, and souls.

Known for their work with Vancouver TheatreSports League are improv masters and sketch comics Ken Lawson and Chris Cassillan, while David Milchard appears as the “child” in the hilarious YouTube web series, Convos With My 2 Year Old, which has had more than 40 million views.

The idea to get grown men of “normal” body types to do a strip improv show came after Danylo’s wife came home from seeing an actual male strip show.

“I thought, ‘we have torsos, we could do that.’ Here’s a genre nobody is making fun of yet,” said Danylo. “This was before Magic Mike came out. When the movie hit theatres, it actually helped us along… When we watched the movie, which had a serious take on it, we were surprised how many laughs were in it as well. The whole idea makes people giggle.”

Unlike shows like The Puppetry of the Penis, which raised a few eyebrows when it came to Vernon some years ago, The Comic Strippers does have a partial nudity clause, but that’s not to say the show isn’t dangerous.

“We have comedy bodies,” said Danylo. “We do the reverse of working out. If someone gets too fit, like our tech guy noticed not too long ago, then we know we’ve been working too hard.”

Nicknamed the “Thunder from the Tundra,” when they were in Vegas and in Australia, The Comic Strippers are constantly grooving and gyrating. They sing and dance and in between scenes they banter with the crowd and perform their hilarious twist on improv sketches.

“Our improv-based comedy is based on picking apart different genres. We do some crazy twists on it. Every time we do it, the audience plays a role in the show and we get some crazed audience members shouting out to us,” said Danylo.

With corporate and fringe events under their proverbial belts, The Comic Strippers have brought their act from Fort McMurray to Vegas to Adelaide, Australia.

“We played to around 600 people in Fort Mac in January. There were a lot of Newfoundlanders there bringing the heat,” said Danylo, adding that most people get the joke of their act as soon as the boys bound on stage flexing their… muscles.

“It’s happened on occasion where people didn’t realize this is a comedy show, but after 10 seconds they get it. We are playing with fire, but everyone has gotten the irony.”

With a winning recipe of strut and sass, the boys plan to continue “stripping” until they just can’t handle the pressure any longer.

“We gotta do this now. There’s a short shelf life to this. There’s an age thing and then there will be the point where we physically cannot do this,” said Danylo. “(However,) it’s a fun show to continue experimenting with. I dread the day it becomes work. Right now, we’re still backstage giggling and doing push ups at the last minute to beef up.”

By Kristen Fornman