The Comic Strippers play the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook June 22.

Comic Strippers to storm the Cranbrook stage

Improv troupe like a shirtless ‘Who’s Line Is It Anyway’

Four guys named Chip are coming to town, and they’ll be baring their souls, among other things, for the entertainment and edification of a Cranbrook audience.

The Townsman caught up with Roman Danylo, who put together the Comic Strippers, the troupe that will shirtlessly storm the stage at the Key City Theatre June 22.

“It’s high concept,” Danylo said of the show which (spoiler alert) won’t feature any actual nudity, but plenty of improv comedy driven by audience suggestions, performed by a quartet of some of Canada’s most experienced professional comedians.

“If you stripped it down you’d basically have a shirtless ‘Who’s Line Is It Anyway,” with dad bods,” Danylo said.

“The concept of the show is, we play fictitious male stripper characters that are trying to make a pivot in their lives, to demand more respect by trying new forms of entertainment. So it’s them trying improv comedy.”

A few years ago, after a long career in stand-up, Danylo started looking for a more theatrical comedy concept.

“I wanted to find that special hook that brings people in. I did some stand-up shows, some variety shows, I did a CSI parody show for a while … I was always looking for that one special hook that grabs everyone’s attention.”

And then, one day …

“My wife had just come back from a real male stripper show, she said everyone went crazy. I said, ‘we have torsos, we can do that.’

“The energies were an interesting match, and I’d never heard of anyone actually parodying in a full-length show that genre.

“I thought, that’s a pretty interesting genre of entertainment to parody.”

Full disclosure — the Townsman reporter has never been to a real male stripper show (or so he says). So what’s up?

“The key things to parody are a ridiculous amount of dancing, which is hilarious for us because we’re all in our mid-40s or 50s at this point, and we’re doing the most physically demanding show of our lives,” Danylo said. “We have a lot of fun incorporating dance into the show. We have choreographed pieces, we have lip-syncs, we even have an original boy band type number.”

The show is all based on audience suggestions, Danylo said. “There are no particular themes other than what suggestions the audience brings — that’s what it’s all about for us.

The improvisation format means the Comic Strippers have to be quick with their wits, as well as on their feet.

“That’s what’s exciting for people, and what’s special about improv,” Danylo said. “I’ve always done stand-up, I’ve always prepared things throughout my career. But when you’re improvising, you’re going off-script, there’s a palpable sensation of things happening for the very first time. It’s exciting for both performers and audience.

“And there’s an extra degree of vulnerability in the show because we have our shirts off the whole time.”

Male strip shows are, er, notorious for the enthusiasm of the female audience. Danylo assures us the show is for both genders.

“It’s definitely a parody of male strippers — guys are welcome to attend. There’s usually a good proportion of gentlemen in the audience. It’s really in their best interest, because our bodies will make them look good.”

In Cranbrook, Daniel is joined by Chris Casillan, Ken Lawson and David Milchard — as four guys named Chip, working their bods. The Comic Strippers play the Key City Theatre Friday, June 22, at 8 pm

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