The first time Flip Orley got on a stage and used his hypnotic powers to make people do his bidding, he himself had to be coaxed into doing it.
Of course, it wasn't with a swinging pocket watch or a spinning spiral. Sometimes, nagging someone enough is its own form of hypnotism.
Orley, a comic hypnotist from Lafayette, La. who has become a regular fixture at the Addison Improv, dabbed in the practice throughout high school and college as a student of psychology, communications and general social sciences. He also did stand-up on the side and never thought of melding the two until a friend nagged him into trying it.
"The conversation came around often enough that I got aggravated and said, 'If I do it on stage once, will you leave it alone and never bring it up again?" Orley says from his home in Louisiana.
When asked why he didn't just hypnotize his friend to get him to stop asking, he laughed and says, "Actually, I never thought of that. That's a pretty good idea."
That night, he had to turn people away from the stage who wanted to be put into a trance and made to pretend they were Superman or made to believe that he's just a floating head. He says he never even expected to get a volunteer.
"I assumed I was going to say I'm going to do hypnosis and people would look at me like an idiot," he says. "So when a ton of people rushed the stage, I was surprised. It shocked the hell out of me."
Almost 25 years later, Orley travels from stage to stage to put people under and make them into human marionettes for audiences' amusements and he returns to the Addison Improv (http://addison.improv.com) for a Halloween weekend run. More »