Michael Teigen caught the acting bug young.
The Coquitlam native was hooked when his family took him to Universal Studios at the age of 10 and, while at Sir Frederick Banting junior high school, he signed up for the theatre elective.
At 14, Teigen accompanied his older brother — then an SFU student — to a Vancouver TheatreSports League show. The next week, he was in its drop-in improv workshop.
After graduating from Centennial secondary in 1991, Teigen tried SFU but dropped out to travel. He did some local dinner theatre but then sold his worldly possessions and traded in his car for a van — “a beat-up, rusty Who’s The Boss? van,” he remembered — and drove it across Canada to study acting in New York City.
For three-and-a-half years, Teigen did every job under the sun to pay the bills: a dancing slice of pizza, freelance demolition, babysitting.
He returned home in 1998, took more Vancouver TheatreSports classes and, soon after, caught his big break: He was named a mainstage performer.
A few years back he heard about The Comic Strippers, a fictitious male stripper troupe formed by fellow TheatreSports company players Roman Danylo (CTV’s Comedy Inc.) and Chris Casillan (Canadian Content).
Wanting to expand their improv act, the pair made a few phone calls to their friends “and all the people who showed up for the photo shoot were automatically cast.”
Now, Teigen — along with TheatreSports regulars Ken Lawson, Pearce Visser and David Milchard (Convos With My 2-Year-Old) — is considered an original member of The Comic Strippers.
And on Saturday, the founders will make their way to Coquitlam to deliver yet another hilarious performance.
Danylo said the Strippers have gained a bunch of new fans this year, thanks to their recent cross-Canada tour.
“It’s been amazing,” he said. “Everywhere we go, it’s the same thing: Really nobody knows what the show is until it starts and then they immediately get it within the first 10 seconds,” Danylo said.
While Saskatoon was their craziest stop — “They’re really in party mode,” he laughed — Coquitlam tends to be The Comic Strippers’ testing ground. “It’s our closest thing to a home turf,” Danylo said, “so we’re going to try a new genre of games.”
They’ll use the material for their next leg that starts Aug. 21 in Prince George and is followed by about 30 dates in the interior of B.C., Saskatchewan and around Ontario this fall.
• The Comic Strippers: Hot Summer Night is on Saturday, July 18 at 8 p.m. at the Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam). A cash bar will be available. Tickets are $35/$30/$15 by calling the box office at 604-927-6555 or visiting evergreenculturalcentre.ca. To see The Comic Strippers' story, go to http://thecomicstrippers.com/documentary/