It may be rude to laugh at a conventional stripper, but a group of men set to perform in Maple Ridge aims to make their audience laugh.
The Comic Strippers is a male stripper improv show that presents a variety of middle-aged bodies, and the men are coming to the ACT Arts Centre in Maple Ridge on Jan. 19.
“It’s a male stripper parody and improv show. We’re making fun of the whole macho thing and the idea of being perfect. Our show is very body positive,” explained Ken Lawson, one of the improv strippers.
“Whatever you’ve got, rock it. We play these fake, retired male strippers who are doing improv comedy to gain respect. So it’s already a ridiculous premise.”
The cast is made up of six Canadian improv comedians who perform a fictitious male stripper routine, while interacting with the audience.
The men, who are in their late 40s and 50s, try their best to be sexy, but it mostly ends up hilarious.
“Most of us are very average people, [with] very average looking bodies. It’s Whose Line Is It Anyways, meets Magic Mike with dad bodies,” explained Lawson.
In between dance scenes, the strippers interact with the crowd, perform improv skits, and sing.
Lawson said the show is in its seventh year, and was inspired by one of the largest male dance shows in the world, Australia’s Thunder from Down Under–a group of men with chiseled bodies who perform dance routines.
The idea sparked seven years ago when one of the other Comic Strippers, Roman Daylo, heard his wife talking about the Australian act who she had watched.
While taking a bath, Daylo thought to himself “we’ve got torsos, and we can dance like idiots.” And with his agreeable friends, the show was born.
While you wouldn’t expect self-esteem to be an issue for these topless public performers, Lawson said he hasn’t always been confident with being on stage half-naked.
“I used to be terrified to even take my shirt off. I’m a tall, thin man, and I was always self-conscious of it. Who wants to go on stage with no shirt on. It’s a nightmare. But we become these characters.
“We have these moments where we look at each other and realize what we’re doing. We’re in front of 500 people with no shirts on. It’s ridiculous and we still love it. It’s actually quite liberating,” said Lawson.
The show is enjoyed by any gender, according to Lawson, and audience members have told him after the show that their bodies hurt from all the laughing.
In 2016, the group won ‘best live production’ at The Canadian Comedy Awards.
The Comic Strippers is on the main stage at the ACT at 11944 Haney Place, on Jan. 19, at 8 p.m. Tickets are for ages 19+ are can be purchased online here: https://tickets.theactmapleridge.org