Is there a Canadian city The Comic Strippers haven’t performed in?
“Not many,” said Vancouver resident and the company founder Roman Danylo as the award-winning improv troupe prepares for its return to Coquitlam next week.
Its travel schedule is jammed again this year.
And by the time the “Chips” — as their characters are called — get to the Evergreen Cultural Centre Aug. 23 and 24, the actors will already have had 31 gigs (many sold out) under their belts, with 11 more lined up for this fall, from Ottawa to Victoria.
Conceived in 2011, their male stripper parody act was the brainchild of Danylo’s wife. Then, fellow Vancouver TheatreSports League (VTL) member Chris Casillan debuted it with Danylo, “and, right from Day 1, I knew there was something special about this.”
“We thought we would check in every six months to see how it was going,” Danylo said, “but then we passed the five-year mark. Now, we’re looking at 10 years coming up. There’s a chance we could be doing this for 10 more years.”
Today, The Comic Strippers have a solid fan base — including more than 23,000 followers on Facebook — with many repeat customers at their productions, which are for audience members ages 19 years and older.
They consider the Evergreen Cultural Centre to be their theatre home, the place where all cast members are invited to try out new material before they head back on the road. Having all or nearly everyone on stage can present some crowding challenges, Danylo said.
For their Coquitlam shows, titled Rock What You Got, the Chips will highlight their musical talents (Lawson has been in bands most of his life while Casillan is a proficient guitar player) and there’ll more sketches with singing.
As well, they’ve choreographed a new “slow and sexy” dance that they’ll debut in Coquitlam next Friday night. “The moves come straight from my wife’s aerobic tapes and music videos,” Danylo said with a laugh.
Afterwards, they’ll have a month off from The Comic Strippers before returning to the tour, which resumes Sept. 27 in Salmon Arm.
Next summer, they’re making their way to the east coast.
“I love the small towns,” Danylo said. “There’s nothing like that community feeling… It’s exciting to see all these interesting things about our country.”
For tickets to The Comic Strippers Aug. 23 and 24, call the Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam) at 604-927-6555 or visit evergreenculturalcentre.ca.