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How Getting Hypnotized on Stage is Bullshit

Hey!

On the Carolla Show I mentioned a couple of things about my trip to Vegas.  The first was the actual reason that Mia and I went to Vegas – we went to a seminar for a UFO sex cult called the Raelians, and we even got to interact with Rael himself.  Mia and I will be posting a blog about that next week. But I also mentioned being hypnotized on stage by a Vegas hypnotist/showman.

Since I don’t have photos from the hypnotism show I’ll post some other photos from our trip. Here is Mia in the new City Center off the strip.

For years I’ve been fascinated with stage hypnotism. It started when I was a kid and saw a special on cable called “Pat Collins, the Hip Hynotist,” which I thought was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen.  My interest has continued over the years with hypnotists appearing on the Howard Stern Show, YouTube videos, etc.  Anyway, I’ve always wanted to experience hypnotism myself, or at least see others hypnotized close up.  So when I went to Vegas seeing a hypnotism show was at the very top of our list.  We booked tickets to one of the top shows on the Vegas strip.

Vegas overload on our way to the Bellagio.

We arrived in the small cold theater and the hypnotist came out, a weathered guy who has been doing this for twenty or thirty years.  He made a bunch of sex jokes, and then asked for volunteers from the audience. Right away, my arm shot up.  He picked me – one of about sixteen people or so.

We all went on stage, each sitting in a folding chair, and they put us through the paces.  Basically, what they’re doing here is trying to pick out those who are “hypnotizable” from those who are not.  The hypnotist whispers a bunch of mumbo jumbo about heat in the center of our brains, does some counting, and then asks us to raise our arms.  He said as we raised them they would become lighter.  Because he asked me to raise my arms, I raised my arms.  They in no way became lighter, and I in no way felt hypnotized.

The Venetian and its painted-ceiling-eternal-twilight.

Then they walked along the line of us, told us they were putting us to sleep, shouted “Sleep!” and knocked us in the heads.  Because I was supposed to sleep, I laid down on the person beside me and closed my eyes.  Again, I didn’t feel hypnotized at all.  And I definitely wasn’t asleep.  Instead I was thinking, “Fuck! I’m not hypnotized!” But I didn’t want to get kicked off stage, or ruin the show, so I decided just to play along.

It was then that they picked out half of us to stay on stage, and sent the other half back to their seats.  Basically, the half that raised their arms and “fell asleep” they kept on stage.  They ones that giggled and stayed upright as they tried to knock them over went back to where they came from.

We decided to take furious photos of ourselves in the diner.

And, essentially, I think this is the sad truth to stage hypnotism, which is a real disappointment to me personally after being fascinated by it since I was a kid.  No one is really hypnotized.  I think they keep the people on stage who are extroverted, and who want to play along either for their own pleasure, because they don’t want to say “no”, or because they don’t want to disappoint the audience.  For me, it was largely the last one: “Jesus, all these people paid money to be here, sixty bucks a ticket or so, I don’t want to let them down.”  It catered to the entertainer in me. And it was also because I wanted to follow through on this experiment, and see what it was like from the inside.

One of the first things the hypnotist did was put me to sleep and tell me that every time he said the name of the large-breasted girl beside me I would hear her vagina talking to me.  The vagina was going to say my name, and start flirting with me.  So as he’s telling me this I’m thinking, “What in the hell would I do if the vagina of a girl beside me actually started talking to me?”

So as I woke up and he said the girl’s name I did a big double take, looking toward the large-breasted girl’s vagina.  This got a big laugh.  Then I pretended to be freaking the fuck out, getting close to her vagina, and laughing at it in a confused way.  Then I was lost.  Because, honestly, I think I might try to get the girl to the hospital if her vagina was talking, and I didn’t know how to pull that off on stage.  My other realistic option to hearing the vagina of a girl I never met talking to me, would be to have a psychotic breakdown.  That also seemed a little difficult to pull off on stage, at least without disturbing people and putting an end to the fun, light part of the show.  So I just giggled and shook my head in confusion.  It was definitely not my best acting performance ever.

Every once in a while I’d turn and look at Mia, who was sitting in the front row.  I was trying to figure out a way to wink at her, but couldn’t do it without the rest of the audience seeing.

Cool ant installation at the Bellagio.

Next, the hypnotist put me to sleep and told me I was going to sneeze every time he said the word “pepper”, and every time I sneezed the three girls to my right were going to have an orgasm, and the two guys were going to fart and be proud of it.  Things were getting complicated.

I was terrified about sneezing.  I can cough or laugh or burp on command, but I can’t really sneeze on command.  I was afraid it was going to look fake.  I still wanted to trick the audience into thinking I was truly hypnotized, and wasn’t sure whether the rest of the volunteers beside me were hypnotized or what.  So when the hypnotist said “pepper,” I just sort of sniffled.  The girls beside me were, I think in retrospect, confused over whether they were supposed to come or not.  The hypnotist said “pepper” again and I let out the lamest sneeze in the world, which caused the girls to have some pretty weak orgasms.  I felt like the hypnotist was getting frustrated with my lame ass sneezes, and he started sneezing loudly himself.


Mia getting ready to go see one of the Cirque shows we went to.

At this point, I felt very guilty that I had let everyone down.  My sneezes sucked, and weren’t able to make a single girl truly cream her jeans.  I also started to realize that, essentially, everyone on stage was faking.  The audience didn’t want me to truly sneeze.  They wanted me to fake sneeze, loudly, because it was funny that way.  Everyone on stage was acting, and doing so badly, but everyone in the audience was amazed and buying it completely, just like I did as a kid, because they wanted to.

So from then on I decided just to do everything as funny and ridiculous as I could, and I became the star performer of the evening.  They hypnotized us into thinking that we were on the Jerry Springer Show.  The large-breasted girl beside me became my girlfriend, and she had to tell me that she was having sex with the girl beside her.  Instead of being outraged, I became turned on.  I was cool with it and suggested the three of us have sex together.  At this point the large-breasted girl got closer to me, and started rubbing my leg dangerously close to my genitals – so close, in fact, that the hypnotist had to come over and remove her hand from my leg.  But the audience was loving it.

The hypnotist then told us all that we were supposed to be speaking Chinese.  While some of the others were saying things like, “Chickety chickety chopsticks,” I am well-versed in the art of speaking gibberish, or speaking in tongues,  so I went into a long rant on the mic in my version of Chinese (I was hoping I wasn’t channeling dark forces and telling any Chinese people in the audience to fuck their mothers and worship Satan).   This Chinese rant turned into a large argument with the hypnotist, who made me stand up as we screamed at each other in different versions of Chinese.  And, then, suddenly, it turned into a kung fu battle between the two of us, as “Kung Fu Fighting” started playing on the loudspeakers, and then the kung fu battle turned into a huge dance routine with the two of us.  This was by far the audience’s favorite moment, my big dance number, and people were laughing so hard they were crying.

Waiting for Mia in the Juicy shop.

I think it’s important to note that no one ever hypnotized me, telling me to dance.  It was simply that, before we actually came to blows, the hypnotist started dancing a little.  I got the idea and turned it into a full-fledged dance number.  By this time, I wasn’t worried with anything even remotely resembling real hypnotism – the audience was willing to believe absolutely anything thrown at them, and I just wanted to be as funny as possible.

After the show was over, and we left the theater, I told Mia I was never hypnotized.

“I know!” she said. “It was obvious!”

We got in trouble from the Juicy folks for taking this one. You’re not allowed to take pictures in their store.

I asked her if she was jealous when that big-breasted girl was rubbing my crotch.  She told me no, but she was jealous when I was laughing at her vagina.  I promised Mia I would only laugh at her vagina from there on out.  She seemed pleased with this.

As we walked out into the casino I was swamped with people coming up to me and asking me what it was like, and telling me all the weird stuff I did as if I didn’t remember every moment.  They asked me if I remembered anything, and I told them, yes, I remembered most of it.  But I certainly didn’t tell them I wasn’t hypnotized – by this time I was a co-conspirator.  I was in on the scam.  And I still didn’t want to disappoint them.

I talked to my fellow hypnotized volunteers.  I asked them if they remembered everything.  Most of them – including the large-breasted girl – said, yes, they remembered everything.  And they all looked at me a bit sheepishly, as if they were embarrassed – not because they had been hypnotized and done something foolish, but because I knew they had done something foolish of their own volition.

Me, I don’t give a shit. I do foolish shit like that every day.

One woman, who had acted a big loopier on the stage than the rest of us, said she couldn’t remember what had happened.  Frankly, I didn’t totally believe her.  But I also think it’s possible that she was an extremely gullible person who talked herself into believing she was hypnotized.

And, through all of this, I’m not completely counting out that some people DO get hypnotized on stage.  In fact, if you’re one of those people, I would love to hear from you.  My investigations into stage hypnotism are not totally over!  However, overall, I do believe that the majority of people on stage are just playing along for the fun of it.  There is zero magic involved.

When I mentioned that I thought it was all bullshit the other day on the Adam Carolla Podcast, Adam seemed to agree with me.  What he didn’t mention is that he himself was hypnotized on the Kevin and Bean Show a few years earlier.  Our friend Giovanni turned me on to this — you can check it out HERE.  To me, it just looks like a bunch of bad acting.

Next week!  Our encounter with the Raelians!!  Not to be missed!

Best,

James

P.S. One thing that I didn’t mention when I first posted this blog is another secret of the stage hypnotist.  Throughout the show, he would hold the mic away from his face and scratch his nose or his cheek.  The audience couldn’t see or hear that every time he did this, he was whispering commands to the volunteers on what to do or so.  For instance, one of the guys was hypnotized into teaching a teddy bear how to jack off.  Because I could hear the hypnotist, I knew he was whispering to the guy: “Spit on his hand,” or “Shove his paw up his butt.”  But the audience couldn’t.  So after the guy shoved the teddy bear’s paw up his butt, the hypnotist would turn to the audience, laughing hard, saying, “I can’t believe he just – Oh my God! – He just shoved the teddy bear’s paw up his ass!!”

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