The Comic Strippers ‘tease’ Coquitlam with new material

The Comic Strippers return to Coquitlam to test gear before their fall tour across Canada.

After a few years of modified, postponed and canceled shows, the “Chips” with The comics are ready to put their bow ties back on and hit the road.

And just like before the COVID-19 pandemic, the fictional troupe of male strippers will kick off a Canadian tour from their home base in Evergreen Cultural Center in Coquitlam.

Four comic book veterans who are regulars at the improv center with Vancouver TheatreSports – Roman Danylo, Chris Casillan, Ken Lawson and Coquitlam resident Michael Teigen – will return to the downtown stage August 26-27 to test their gear before playing 20 dates, starting September 9 in Vancouver.

The rotating cast of seven wraps up its run Nov. 25 at the Prince George Playhouse.

“It’s been a strange new world with all the details and all the rules that have kept changing over the past couple of years,” Danylo told the News from the three cities.

“We had shows at half capacity. We had to move shows around and change them for distancing. It’s been interesting learning how to navigate all the protocols.”

But bookings and the act itself weren’t the only challenges during the pandemic.

Danylo said traveling was also difficult as flights and ferries were cut. Recently, The comics just arrived at their Grand Prairie show on time after being forced to fly to Edmonton and rent a vehicle to drive five hours to their venue.

They also lost their luggage during the trip; however, Danylo managed to hide “emergency” bow ties and boxers for the cast in his carry-on.

The response to their summer events has been overwhelming, he said.

“They just got packed. We had 700 people in Nanaimo and Surrey. The audience was so amazing and in many ways it’s touching to be a part of it.

“For some people it’s their first outing in a long time, so it’s emotional for everyone. There’s a lot of laughs, but there’s melancholy at the same time.”

For their fall tour, Danylo said The Comic Strippers will return to their usual shenanigans with audience participation for games and dancing, but no one will be invited on stage like in the past.

“We keep it as fun and interactive as possible, but safe too, so we had to reinvent some scenes that we do.”

Still, Danylo is grateful to perform again after a two-year hiatus.

“I learned to re-appreciate just having something to do,” he said.

“I learned to tackle challenges and problems one at a time. And I discovered that life isn’t about going somewhere and then it’s over. Instead, it’s about the struggle and energy to deal with the challenges as they arise is the reward in itself.”

The Comic Strippers are scheduled to perform on August 26 and 27 on stage at the Evergreen Cultural Center (1205 Pinetree Way).

The show is open to adults 19 and older, and tickets are $25 each as part of the venue’s special discounted rate for its 25th season.

For more information, you can call the box office at 604-927-6555 or visit the Evergreen Cultural Center website.

Daniel K. Denny