Comedy in the flesh, on stage at the Sid

The Comic Strippers Saturday, Nov. 7, Sid Williams Theatre

Mark Allan

Special to The Record

The Comic Strippers are returning to the Sid Williams Theatre by popular demand. Literally.

Presenters like the Sid Williams Theatre Society usually do not book the same act in consecutive years, reasoning that people will not pay to see someone whose act they experienced recently.

The Strippers, however, were such a hit a year ago that on Nov. 7 they will revisit the scene of their 2014 Courtenay triumph.

That kind of reaction is not unusual, group member and spokesman Roman Danylo explained in an interview from Vancouver.

“I remember checking with a theatre up in Fort McMurray two weeks beforehand,” he said, surprised to hear the 600-seat show was already sold out.

The troupe of Lower Mainland improv comedians added a second show, which also sold out.

“That seems to be pretty consistent everywhere we go; people seem to like the concept.”

Ah, yes, the concept.

While some people show up expecting a performance by actual male strippers, the Comic Strippers present a parody by a fictitious male stripper troupe whose members are all named Chip.

Yes, they take their shirts off and “dance” between scenes as they banter with the crowd, but it’s played strictly for laughs.

When Danylo was interviewed, the Strippers were recharging back home after a hectic swing through Ontario in which they did 15 shows in 30 days.

“We’ve got a week off. A lot of stretching, a lot of video therapy,” he joked.

The Strippers, he said, didn’t realize how many Ontario cities have theatres and how exhausting it can be to “only scratch the surface” by performing in 15 communities.

During a busy 2015 so far, they have performed in Australia and Newfoundland, and many locations between, including Las Vegas.

The Canadian comedic sensibility, Danylo said, translates well to other countries.

“There are a few things that don’t quite land the same way, but for the most part I think the silliness of the whole thing … once you see the first 20 seconds of our show you kind of ‘get it’ pretty much wherever you’re from.”

Cultural differences, especially between Canada and Australia, occasionally cause confusion.

“Oh, they don’t know what we’re talking about,” Danylo recalled. “Or they make a suggestion and we … don’t exactly know what they mean by that.”

What ingredients are needed to create hilarious improv comedians?

“They just like to play, and pretend, and are very inclusive, and are a bit silly and fun,” Danylo analyzed. “It’s one of the lightest, most bubbly and playful genres of comedy.

“Standup can be a little bit aggressive, sometimes edgy, but improv is usually … the improvisers are usually pretty accessible, friendly folks.”

The show has new routines and the improv nature of the performance helps to keep it fresh, Danylo noted.

For more about the group, visit http://thecomicstrippers.com.

The Comic Strippers perform a 19-plus show on Nov. 7 at the Sid Williams Theatre, part of the 2015-2016 Blue Circle Series. For details, visit  sidwilliamstheatere.com  phone 250-338-2430 or visit the Sid box office at 442 Cliffe Ave.