You can forgive Roman Danylo and Chris Casillan if they’ve got the jitters before their shows next weekend in Coquitlam.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, neither has performed live since the lockdown last spring.
“It’s been very strange to have worked — day in, day out — for 30 years and suddenly not do it at all,” Danylo told the Tri-City News on Thursday (July 29).
“All things stopped for us last year.”
“Us” is The Comic Strippers, an improv act that Danylo and Casillan founded nearly a decade ago that pokes fun at male exotic dancers.
Before 2020, the ensemble — made up of seven Vancouver TheatreSports League veterans, including Coquitlam resident Michael Teigen — was booked solid at venues across North America, playing to sold-out crowds.
For their Coquitlam return, though, on Aug. 6 and 7, Danylo and Casillan are planning a much quieter comedy show — with their trademark bow ties and clothes on.
“We came up with the fully clothed show a few years ago for smaller venues,” Danylo said.
“It became apparent [during the pandemic] that we couldn’t do the larger show any time soon because of all the panting and sweating that we do, so the simplest and safest way to perform was the smaller version.”
For the duo’s “back-to-basics” performance, they’ll host the usual improv games with audience suggestions, but viewers can’t be invited onto the stage as in the past.
Casillan and Danylo will have solos, too: Casillan will show off his musical talents while Danylo will offer stand-up bits.
And with only a 50-person seating capacity per night — for an hour-long show — Danylo believes the smaller crowds will give off a “fun, playful energy that’s different from having big audiences but is also very enjoyable.”
Danylo calls the Coquitlam performances “re-starting the engine for The Comic Strippers,” as the two shows will serve as test runs for their upcoming events in Vernon and, next year, in Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo and Sydney; in those locations, tickets were sold before the COVID-19 lockdown.
“We are grateful to the fans for holding on to their tickets,” said Danylo, adding The Comic Strippers plan to be back in Coquitlam early in the new year.
• For tickets to see The Comic Strippers: Fully Clothed at the Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam), call the box office at 604-927-6555 or visit evergreenculturalcentre.ca.