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Improv group parodies male strippers, coming to P.E.I. Oct. 18-19

From left, Chris Casillan, Michael Teigan, Roman Danylo and Ken Lawson are members of the Comic Strippers.
From left, Chris Casillan, Michael Teigan, Roman Danylo and Ken Lawson are members of the Comic Strippers. - Contributed

It’s fair to say business has taken off for the Comic Strippers.

The male stripper parody and improv comedy show, touring the East Coast this week, has allowed the cast to get a lot of mileage out of the concept.

“We’ve been pretty busy with this show for the past five years,” said Roman Danylo, the show’s creator, during a phone interview from British Columbia.

“It just sort of took off. We’re going to do it as much as we can before our knees give out. It’s definitely the most physically demanding thing we’ve done in our lives as performers. We’re all pretty close to 50 so it certainly is a challenge, in some ways.”

The Comic Strippers are a fictitious troupe, played by real veteran Canadian improvisational comedians.

When it came to putting the four-man show together, Danylo found it wasn’t that hard.

“That part was really easy. I basically just asked a bunch of my friends if they were interested in this silly parody of male strippers, combined with an improv comedy show. I really expected more of them to say no but they all just said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’

“I’d been doing different types of comedy shows and tour shows, trying to find that one thing that captures people’s attention. They were all going fine, and it was really nice to play soft-seat theatres. And then my wife came home from seeing a real male stripper show and she said, ‘It was packed in there and they were going crazy.’ And I was like, ‘We have torsos. We can do that.’ It just sort of started with that idea.”

The show operates on a few levels, but it’s grounded in the comedy skills of the cast. A lot of it should seem familiar to anyone who’s attended a spontaneous show, with stripper-themed twists on familiar improv games.

“It’s about them trying to do improv comedy,” Danylo said.

“It’s us as improvisers playing fake male stripper characters trying to do improv, and of course we do different characters in the improv scenes.”

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