Entertainment Local

Comic Strippers performing in Barrie on May 25

By Susan Doolan, Special to Postmedia Network

The Comic Strippers perform in Barrie next Thursday at Georgian Theatre. SUBMITTED

The Comic Strippers perform in Barrie next Thursday at Georgian Theatre. SUBMITTED

They’re baaack!

Canada’s answer to the American Chippendales and the Australian Thunder from Down Under takes to the road with a new show.

The Comic Strippers land in Barrie next Thursday.

They are definitely sexy, in their own minds.

“The characters are male strippers who have perhaps been doing it for too long and they’re looking from some respect through improv comedy,” said Roman Danylo, who got the idea for the show from his wife, recruited a bunch of his buddies, all good friends from Vancouver’s improv scene and has been selling out shows ever since.

“Some characters have been stripping for 47 years and one’s a newbie of three days (and this is) his journey to get the purple bow tie,” he added.

Since they appeared in Barrie two years ago, the Comic Strippers have travelled to California, Hawaii and a number of U.S. states close to British Columbia.

Last year, they won the 2016 Canadian Comedy Award for Best Live Production.

They’ve grown to include a cast of six core ‘dudes’ who rotate appearances depending on who is available.

For the Ontario tour, there will be four men. The commonality between all of them is the Vancouver Theatre Sports League (VTSL), which is akin to Second City in Toronto.

Danylo started out as an actor, touring very serious plays to large theatres.

“Sometimes you look out at the audience and think they just want to laugh,” said Danylo, who started to gravitate toward comedy. “I think this is way more fun and it’s a lot easier than drama.”

He moved on to star on CTV’s Comedy Inc., for five seasons and did stand-up comedy appearances for Just For Laughs and The Debaters.

He will be bringing one of his longtime friends, Pearce Visser, with him as one of the ‘stripper’ characters.

Visser has appeared on television (Stargate Atlantis), film (Tomorrowland, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassusis), performed with the VTSL and served as its artistic director for two years. He is also part of Cirque du Soleil’s actor talent pool.

The other two ‘comic strippers’ are known to Barrie: Ken Lawson, who starred in the Canadian sitcom Health Nutz, has performed all over North America with VTSL and The Second City. He also has musical skills which can be seen in this show.

Chris Casillan will be joining him; he plays the guitar. Casillan is an improv comedy vet with VTSL. He is also a Canadian Comedy Award winner with his sketch comedy group, Canadian Content.

Next, the Comic Strippers are thinking of returning to Australia. That’s where it all started for the group, at the 2013 Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Danylo likens the show to a playful, silly thing with ridiculous characters who are a lot like good natured body clowns. It’s happy escapism, a combination of Whose Line Is It Anyway, Blue Man Group and the male dance troupes Thunder From Down Under and the Chippendales.

“Luckily it’s a funny show, too; non-stop laugher and ridiculousness. We get complaints (from the audience that) their stomach hurts or their cheeks sore from laughing,” he said, adding that show also tends to attract men, an average of 20% of each audience.

“Guys should feel comfortable to come to the show. It’s definitely a parody of male strippers; we often say we make the guys look good if they come to our show.”

The fun continues after the show as the people are welcome to take photos with the cast. There is no extra charge.

The Comic Strippers perform Thursday, May 25 at the Georgian Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $43.50, available at the box office, 705-739-4228. 

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