Half-naked for laughs

Comic Strippers return to Kamloops on Friday

The Comic Strippers are as clueless as they are shirtless.

The fictitious male stripper troupe will soon return to a River City stage and this time they’ve brought along a new cast member with different anatomy.

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This year, the troupe has changed things up and added a woman to the mix — although on stage she’s just another Chip, the name for each of the male stripper performers in the show.

For two of the group’s upcoming shows, Denise Jones will don a sleeveless shirt and a moustache and become one of the guys.

Another one of the guys, also portraying a man named Chip, is Kamloops native Ken Lawson.

Lawson, who calls Kamloops one of his hometowns along with Logan Lake, has once again contributed his “comedy body” to The Comic Strippers and will return to a stage in his hometown Kamloops.

The group, which has recently gone back on tour following a brief summer hiatus, will be at the Sagebrush Theatre on Friday.

Lawson is well-adjusted to the tour life.

The day KTW contacted him he had just arrived in Prince George for a show and had, earlier that day, recorded an audition in his hotel room with the help of fellow performer Michael Teigen.

“We do that quite a bit, actually,” Lawson said.

Along with their regular improv performances, Lawson and the others are also film and television actors, and make time to fit auditions and filming into their schedules.

Last year, Lawson added credits for Netflix teen comedy film The Package and Amazon Prime streaming show The Man in High Castle.

The Strippers cast has a history of about 15 years together performing as part of Vancouver TheatreSports League, a competitive improv comedy show held regularly in Vancouver.

The Comic Strippers is borne out of that group and its cast took it out to tour the province and beyond.

“We’re all good friends and it’s wicked to travel around, hang out with your buddies and make tons of people laugh,” Lawson said.

Despite the improvised nature of the show, the group’s long history together means Lawson and company are very comfortable on stage.

“It’s kind of shocking how relaxed we are jumping up on stage in spandex pants and no shirts,” he said.

In addition to the improv, however, the show also features some more carefully prepared parts — choreographed dance Lawson said the group has worked out in some bizarre places across the province, like on the side of the Coquihalla Highway and in a hotel parking lot in Powell River.

The choreographed parts of the show have been somewhat of a challenge, but Lawson said sometimes it’s just not all that important dancers get it right.

“With improv you’re in the flow and then all of the sudden you have to remember a dance. The thing with our show is that even if it’s not quite there, that just makes it funnier,” he said.

Tickets to the show, which starts at 7:30 p.m. are $39 and available at the Kamloops Live box office online at kamloopslive.com.

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