The Comic Strippers — those parody male stripper that call Coquitlam their second home — are back at the Evergreen Cultural Centre for two improv shows this weekend.
But the cast will be missing their star quarterback.
Creator Roman Danylo, who’s overseen hundreds of productions from the East Coast to Hawaii and Australia, will be off his feet to convalesce from a recent hernia operation.
“These will be the first shows that I’m not going to be in and it’s going to feel a bit odd,” the 48-year-old said last week.
The Calgary native said he felt something wasn’t right while performing about five years back in the land Down Under. Then, he was doing many physically demanding feats — such as one-arm push ups and lifting — but he received confusing diagnosis and continued to press on.
He felt fine until earlier this year when the gigs got more challenging. “The show is about the reality of our bodies as they are,” he said. “And here it is for me.”
Until he’s been given the all-clear from medical professionals, Danylo said he’ll be rotating the quarterback position to lead the improv games.
Coquitlam native Michael Teigen will take the reins Friday night for the full Comic Strippers crew that includes Denise Jones — the only female Stripper. “It lends to a lot of fun when she’s on the show,” Danylo said. “She’s in disguise as a man but we are oblivious to the fact.”
Typically, it’s only four Strippers in the hectic touring productions.
And unlike other acts, they like to experience the town to get a feeling of the community before they hit their venue.
Sometimes, Danylo said, they’ll hand out brochures in the downtown to market their show and talk to potential guests. “We want to get a sense of the local flavour,” he said.
As well, they often connect with a local animal charity — such as the SPCA — to sell 50/50 tickets and split the proceeds with the cause.
The Strippers do all the promotional work themselves, Danylo said, from organizing theatres and arranging travel to social media shout-outs and makeup application.
Their team work makes for smooth travels, with the aim to bring joy to their audiences. “There’s really a lot of silly, happy belly laughs,” Danylo said. “[The show] is very light-hearted in its essence and people crave that. It’s overwhelming to me when we get so many heartfelt thank-yous sent to us afterwards.”
He added, “Life can be quite hard and challenging at certain times. But what can be better than getting together with your friends and having a giggle? It’s kind of a bonding experience for everybody in the room.”
• Tickets for The Comic Strippers on Friday and Saturday are via the box office at the Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam) by calling 604-927–6555 or visiting evergreenculturalcentre.ca.