Tri-City News

Another sold-out show in Coquitlam for The Comic Strippers

The Comic Strippers will bring the heat to Coquitlam this month — and take it away in September.

On Saturday, the first official day of summer, the shirtless improv troupe will appear in its third sold-out show at the Evergreen Cultural Centre. And, on Sept. 20, they will return to the Coquitlam venue to close the season and welcome fall.

Coquitlam has been good to The Comic Strippers, said cast member Roman Danylo. So good, in fact, that he wants to make Evergreen its semi-permanent home because of the high-energy audience and accommodating staff.

“They’ve been very good to us,” said Danylo, a veteran comedian who has worked on CTV’s Comedy Inc., adding Coquitlam “is not far from Vancouver so we wouldn’t have to travel. Travelling is hard.”

Danylo is referring to The Comic Strippers’ recent jaunt to Newfoundland, where they had two dates. They’ve also mounted their improv act in Australia as well as around B.C. and Alberta; in Fort McMurray, they played to an audience of 600 “tipsy” folk. “Pretty much everywhere we go they seem pretty enthusiastic,” he said, noting the Lower Mainland has been especially fun for them. “Who would have thunk, eh? You just take your shirt off and everyone comes.”

The June 21 performance in Coquitlam will be their first attempt at the second version of The Comic Strippers. It will have “a substantial chunk of new content,” Danylo said plus different games and routines, extra surprises and some stand-by favourites. And, like the last round, the men in the crowd will be the designated “comedy bodies.” “We’re going to make them look good,” Danylo said.

As for their new work due out in September, The Comic Strippers will entice with noodles and a pussycat doll lip synch.

“We’re putting a lot of effort into it,”  he said.

STORY BY Janis Warren


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


The Georgia Straight

The Comic Strippers bare all for laughs!

WHEN Comedy Inc. went off the air in 2009 after a five-year run, Roman Danylo had to get to work finding work. As a comedy triple-threat who performs improv, sketch, and standup, he had perhaps more options than many, but it’s still Canadian show business. He had to create his own opportunities rather than waiting for the offers to come pouring in.

Danylo started out mounting his own solo tours across the country. “Then I realized very quickly that producing’s not a lot of fun,” he said recently at a Kits eatery. “And also you could lose money. And I did, because I did it in the summer because I’m an idiot.”

Live and learn. Next up he took the David Caruso impersonation he did on Comedy Inc. and presented CSI: Your Town, a sketch show featuring a CSI–type crime set in whatever town they happened to be in.

Then came a variety offering called The Ultimate Comedy Show, which he still hosts.

Still, the wheels kept turning. Danylo was looking for a high-concept idea whose title alone would get people in the door. The comedy he can handle. But he was searching for a hook. Like Archimedes, his “eureka!” moment came while bathing.

“So I’m sitting in the tub one day and my wife was talking about watching a male-stripping show with some of her friends,” he says. “It sold out. And it just occurs to me: ‘What if we just did a parody of a male-stripper show?’”

If you think the idea is ridiculous, you’re not alone. “It’s an explosion of ridiculousness,” says Danylo. Six shirtless dudes named Chip, wearing nothing but tight black pants and coloured bow ties (“They’re like karate belts; you’ve got to work your way up to the purple bow tie”) breathe new life into standard improv games. And when music starts blaring, the guys start self-indulgently voguing to the beat.

But lest you think this is a ladies-only night—or a throwback to the topless improv introduced at a Vancouver strip club by Cheech and Chong in the late 1960s—Danylo assures The Comic Strippers is actually “squeaky clean”. He explains: “This is not a show with comedians stripping; it’s improvisers playing fake male strippers putting on a comedy show. We want to make sure guys come to our shows, too. There’s no reason they shouldn’t, because we’re not real strippers in any way. It’s not going to make you feel weird, that’s for sure.”

Danylo, who goes by Chip Rock in the show, is joined by a core group consisting of endomorphs and ectomorphs alike: Chris Casillan, Pearce Visser, Ken Lawson, David Milchard, and Michael Teigen. Regular staples include Teigen shooting Ping-Pong balls out of his mouth at the audience (and into Danylo’s mouth), a shower scene with water pistols, and, of course, the requisite private lap-dance segment.

Danylo’s big idea predates the release of Magic Mike, a movie about male strippers. The Hollywood film was released in June while Danylo first put on a two-man version of the current show last November.

“I wanted to do something nobody else was doing,” he says. “Now it looks like we’re parodying it. And that’s fine. But it’s not Magic Open Mike.”

The troupe will never pass for real Chippendale dancers, but exposing their torsos on stage every month has at least got these regular Joes thinking about exercise. At their last corporate gig, Danylo noticed everybody doing last-minute push-ups. “I started to run out of reasons to exercise. This is at least a legitimate reason to go for a run,” says the fit 42-year-old.

“My goal is to take this to Vegas and then go global,” he adds, laughing at the sheer audacity of it. “It’s a shirtless Blue Man Group. It’s Puppetry of the Penis without having to manipulate our penises. It’s perfect for people that don’t really want to go to a real stripper show; they just want to have a bit of campy twist on that kind of a night.”