(Contributed)                                The Comic Strippers are coming to the ACT Arts Centre in Maple Ridge.

(Contributed) The Comic Strippers are coming to the ACT Arts Centre in Maple Ridge.

Stripping away the notion of a perfect body image

The Comic Strippers bring their hilarious, semi-nude act to the ACT in Maple Ridge

A male stripper improv show boasting the sexiest dad bodies in North America is coming to the ACT Arts Centre in Maple Ridge.

“We always like to say it’s like Whose Line Is It Anyway meets Magic Mike,” laughed Ken Lawson, one of the six sexy middle-aged characters wearing nothing but dark pants and bow ties in The Comic Strippers.

The premise of the show is that they are a group of retired strippers doing improv comedy to try and get respect.

“Like these guys, they think they are really sexy, but they’re kind of clowns, they’re kind of idiots. They think the best way to get respect is through improv comedy,” said Lawson.

“Which is like our little inside joke, there’s a million other things you can do to get respect,” Lawson laughed.

The show is 90 per cent improvised and unscripted with audience interaction, meaning there is an entirely different show every performance.

Lawson and his colleagues have been touring the show for almost five years now. They are professional comedians that have been performing for years at Vancouver TheatreSports, where they all met.

“The idea is we do an improv scene, the music plays, we dance around like idiots, then we talk to the audience, we do an improv scene, music plays, dance around like idiots,” Lawson explained.

It was inspired by one of the biggest male dance revue acts in the world, Australia’s Thunder from Down Under, a group of men with chiseled bodies who act out female fantasies with humour and boy-next-door charm.

Roman Daylo, the star of the CTV show Comedy Inc., heard his wife talking about the Australian act whom she had just gone to see and he thought, “we’ve got torsos, we can dance, we can dance like idiots,” said Lawson.

So the group got together, did a photo shoot and the act took off from there.

The Comic Strippers won the Canadian Comedy award for best live show in 2016.

They even took the show to the Adelaide Fringe Festival, where it was ranked in the top 10 out of 600 performances.

Now with more than 22,000 followers on Facebook, fans of the show have become a community.

“We’ve had people who have seen us four times now,” said Lawson.

“It’s silly and it’s very safe and it’s fun and lighthearted. And it takes the piss out of the whole macho perfect kind of thing,” said Lawson.

Lawson is also proud to be part of a positive show that addresses the notion of there being a perfect body image.

“I’m a very tall and skinny guy and I felt super insecure,” said Lawson remembering how he felt about himself in his 20’s.

“This ridiculous notion of perfection is just crippling for people and I know a lot of dudes that have experienced that,” he said.

Lawson used to be terrified to take his shirt off.

“Now I am going around North America with no shirt on. Going to guys whatever you’ve got, this is the only thing you’ve got and you’ve got to learn to love what you have,” Lawson chuckled.

Lawson says The Comic Strippers is a show for all genders.

“We just happen to be a bunch of dudes with no shirts on,” he said

And he wants to make clear that there is no extreme nudity in the act.

“Just extreme hilarity,” he laughed.

“It’s a really safe way to feel like you are having a sneaky kind of slightly naughty time but it’s very safe and it’s very respectful and it’s fun and ridiculous.”

The Comic Strippers takes place at 8 p.m. on Jan. 27 at the ACT, 11944 Haney Place in Maple Ridge.

• For more information call 604-476-2787 or go to theactmapleridge.org.