In comedy, almost anything can happen. Roman Danylo is no stranger to this, with a successful 20-year career that has taken him from the stage to television and theatres around the world.
There was a show in Victoria about 20 years ago where a surge of adrenaline hit him and he ran up to the second story balcony and jumped about three metres onto the stage below.
There was a stretch of nine shows at the Adelaide Fringe Festival where he somehow ended up having to do one-armed push ups each show. The run ended with Danylo very, very sore.
At one show, the opening act was the Extreme Bikini dance team. At another, the only source of lighting was a buffet table heat lamp.
Then there was the show where he got to share the stage with one of his idols, Martin Short.
“It’s really amazing when you idolize somebody and watch somebody growing up doing their characters, and suddenly you find yourself with that character,” Danylo told me. “He’s right across from you, staring at you, talking at you. That’s a very strange moment, it’s like stepping into the TV.”
Danylo, who is from Calgary and based in Vancouver, is bringing his show to the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre this Saturday, Nov. 29. Called Roman Around the Country, the show features a mix of standup, sketch comedy and imrpov, complete with audience participation.
Danylo launched the show in 2008 after the five-year run of his CTV and Comedy Network TV show Comedy Inc. ended. The show was a mix of sketch comedy and improv; at tapings the cast would perform each skit twice — first as written and then with improvisation.
“We would do a second take where we would improvise everything we’d do in our lines and experiment with the entire form of it, which was always way more interesting. Suddenly things would come alive,” he said. “I think people tangibly feel that when things are happening for the first time. That’s why the improv-based stuff is most exciting.”
A typical show begins with what Danylo describes as a “Seinfeld-esque” standup routine. “Every day observations kind of thing,” he says. He’ll incorporate some jokes about Revelstoke, a town he’s passed through many times but hasn’t spent a lot of time in.
The second half is where the improv happens. To help him out, Danylo is bringing Denise Jones, the artistic director of the Vancouver Theatre Sports League with him to Revelstoke. For a little more help, they’ll be inviting audience members onto the stage.
“We do a lot of interacting with audience members, so you never know what they’re going to do when they get on stage,” he said. “It’s your job to make them look good. We role with whatever they do, so that’s a lot of fun.”
Danylo said he loves coming to smaller towns, where the atmosphere is looser than at big, important gigs like a TV show taping. He called it the “Holy Grail of performing.”
“What happens when it’s a big deal show like a TV taping, the comedy gets very tight and the performance gets tight, but it’s really not the best show,” he said. “What happens when you get to the smaller towns, I find I put on a better show for people. That’s what I find fun about it.”
Catch Roman Danylo at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Saturday, Nov. 29, at 7:30 p.m. as part of Welcome Week. Tickets are $15, available at the visitor information centre, ArtFirst, and through the Revelstoke Arts Council website.