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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26
HOME / STORY

Live Nude Improv!

Nathan Raine
Published Thursday May 28, 08:20 pm
Well they won’t really be naked, but they’ll definitely be hilarious

COMIC STRIPPERS

Saturday 30

Broadway Theatre

 

Roman Danylo wants to take off his clothes for you. Got your attention? Good.

Danylo has been a prominent figure in Canadian comedy for years now, starring in five seasons of CTV’s Comedy Inc, as well as stand-up appearances on shows like Just for Laughs and The Debaters. In his latest project, he’s taking a team of improv comics on the road with him for The Comic Strippers, an oiled-up comedy improv show riffing on male strippers. We chatted with Danylo to find out a little more about his hilariously weird new venture.

 

Can you tell me a little bit about The Comic Strippers and just how much male genitalia I should expect?

Ha! Very little of that! You’re not going to see any extreme nudity — no horrible man-thongs or anything. It’s a parody of the male stripper genre. Because when we do improv comedy shows, you always try to parody a certain style. [In the past] we’ve parodied other things like CSI or Game of Thrones, and we’re always looking for that genre that no one has done yet. So one night my wife came back from a real male stripper show and she was like, “Wow, it was packed in there.” And I thought, “Well, we have torsos, we could do that,” so I called up a couple friends and said, “We could parody that. Let’s get our torsos up there!” And that’s where the hilarity begins.

 

Was the mild taboo of male stripping part of the draw to it?

Well, it’s a safe kind of “dip your toe in” show like that. The construct of the show is it’s a fictitious male stripper group who has probably been doing it for far too long, but they’re now demanding some respect in their lives. We do male-stripper-themed twists on traditional improv games — like a shower scene, a private table scene and something with ping pong balls that has to be seen to believed. It’s its own ridiculous genre of entertainment.

 

I assume that as a comic who’s used to performing in clothes, stripping down was a little strange at first.

It certainly was weird. At first, and even to this day actually, we all giggle like idiots before the show. The most odd it ever felt was when we were hired to do a corporate event. It’s one thing to be waiting backstage in a theatre, but it’s another to be hanging out in the lobby of a fancy hotel, waiting to go into a convention room shirtless in a bow tie. That’s when you start to question your career choices. But we’ve been doing improv comedy, some of us, for 20 to 25 years. So we know the things that frequently get the big laughs — like when someone rips off their shirt, or dances around like an idiot. So hey, why not make that the staple of the show?

 

To get slightly serious for a second, is this show a commentary on sexuality, objectification, body representation, anything like that?

No, I don’t think we get that serious in the show — we are, at best, ridiculous clowns. I mean maybe there’s a slight body-image theme to it, but honestly, you’re going to see more nudity at the ballet. And on that note, guys shouldn’t shy away from the show. There’s usually 20 to 30 per cent males at our show. We have what we call comedy bodies, so we make the other men in the audience look good.

 

Did you ever consider scripting this show, or does it only work as improv?

Improv is what we do; it’s what we’re good at. I’ve done lots of sketches and stand-up, but everything always get more energy when you go off-script. We do have a couple little choreographed numbers for this show, though.

 

Do you guys do anything to prepare? Oiling each other up, maybe?

Well, there’s a lot of giggling. And there’s actually a lot of stretching. We’re all in our mid-forties and we’ve realized we can’t do that many shows in a row any more; it’s the most physically demanding show of our lives. I mean, we have to stretch, tape our knees, because when you’re performing, you get that adrenaline rush and think, “Hey, it’ll be funny to lift up this guy,” but we pay for it later on. But that’s comedians — you think to yourself, “Well, this is getting a laugh, I’m going to do it anyways.” It doesn’t matter if you’re hurting yourself: getting a laugh sort of trumps everything.

 

As someone who’s been a figure in Canadian comedy for a while now, is there any downside to doing a group/ensemble show as opposed to doing a solo tour?

Good question actually. I mean yeah, there’s less financial benefit with working with a group. I did a lot of stuff by myself in the last few years, but I’ve come back to performing with groups of people. It’s so much more fun — I really love the collaborative energy. And I always like to point out to my friends when we’re backstage, waiting to go on, “Imagine all this and it’s just you.” Because that’s a weird feeling when you’re doing stand-up, and you’re waiting all by yourself to go on. It’s a lonely, isolated feeling.

 

So finally, who should, and shouldn’t, come to The Comic Strippers?

Anyone who is expecting to see a real male stripper show should not come to our show. In one of our first shows actually, in Australia, some people didn’t realize it was a parody show and one of the gals at the end of the night ran up on stage and tried to rip my pants off. But everyone else, if you actually have a sense of irony, or like improv comedy, you should come.

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