Hypnosis shows are different than any other medium of entertainment. Comedy Stage Hypnosis shows are not like music - either bands or DJ's, dance troupes or dances, singers or any form of vaudeville, variety, novelty or specialty act - but Hypnosis shows can have elements like all of them at times - especially if the performer is good.
There are exceptions to all rules, always - however generalities can be made.
First, hypnosis shows need to be 45 minutes or longer. 60 minutes is better. I personally do a 90 minute show when permitted the time. Why so much time as a minimum? First the hypnotist needs to come on stage and make friends with the audience. They also educate the audience about what and how hypnosis works. Many tell jokes, some do a magic trick. Others will do general "tests" with the whole audience to check susceptibility that way.
This part of the show can last 3 minutes or long. Some people drag it out and it is long. Some are brilliant comedians and are very fun and entertaining. Experience and showmanship in this area shows greatly.
The next phase is "invite people on stage to volunteer." There is not always a proper stage, but most hypnotists have chairs lined-up and they try to fill them. Some top flight people only have as few as six chairs. Others have as many as 20-30 chairs. I personally like 12, but this is not always a reflection on how good a hypnotist is necessarily. In many cases if does, but in many cases it is just individual style.
The hypnotist must educate the volunteers how they are supposed to act on stage, i.e., not talk, laugh, fidget, not leave of their own accord, and in general not distract the other volunteers in any way. Hopefully they do this in an entertaining manor. Again, experience and talent help here.
Next comes the induction, putting them into hypnosis. Some do it as fast as 3-1/2 minutes, I take 5 minutes, some take as long as 10 minutes.
Up till now the show I do is about 15 minutes long. I have seen really slow hypnotists that take up to 40 minutes to get to this point and they can be really boring. 20-25 minutes is not unreasonable.
This explains why a hypnotist needs 45+ minutes to do a show. If the pre-rap, volunteer instructions and induction take 15-25 minutes, they then need at Least 20-30 minutes to entertain from here.
Things to know when hiring a hypnotist
Being safe is important and there is an inherent risk in hypnosis shows. No more risk than many other things, but a hypnosis show has many volunteers, on a raised stage, dancing and prancing around together. Verifying the hypnotist has a valid general liability insurance policy in effect is a good idea. Not mandatory, but a good idea. One can also ask to be "additionally insures" I personally don't know a lot about this aspect, even though I have had insurance for 25 years. If you want to know more about insurance for hypnotists, contact Stephanie Weiss of Specialty Insurance in Wisconsin and ask her insurance questions.
Stephanie Steph Weiss <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Stage size and sound are important elements to me and I have a web page that covers a lot of this: www.alansands.com/technical
1. What should a client consider when looking to hire a hypnotist?
Check credits and references
Watch the youtube video
are they clinically trained as well?
2. What questions should a client ask a hypnotist that they are considering booking?
Are you funny? How long have you been doing stage hypnosis? Are you clean or naughty? Again, checking references. A great third-party endorsement is a good thing to consider seriously.
3. Once a client books you for a performance, what details should be discussed prior to the event?
My on-line form tell me all I need (http://alansands.com/agreement)
The four most important questions to make sure the performer knows is: Time, Place, Date and Amount agreed on.
Hypnosis shows do require a good sound system, in my opinion, because the audience must hear clearly what is going on and being said, and the people on stage need to hear clearly.
If the audience is over 100 people, visibility is important and the performer and subjects should be raised on a platform large enough to be safe on.
4. Please tell us - when did your act get started, and why do you do perform?
I began doing regular stage hypnosis 20 years ago (1993), but had played with it a bit in high school (1978) then stopped doing it for 15 years. In those 15 years I did a comedy magic act that took me all over the world. Now I do both acts as needed. I had an advantage as a child because my father was a magician and a hypnotist. I learned my basics by simply watching my father perform, but I then read books and took training with a number of other clinical hypnotists, gestalt therapists and stage hypnosis training.
5. What kind of gigs do you usually book?
I personally do 1/3 high school events like post proms and grad nights beginning in March and going all the way through June. I also do county, state and agricultural fairs most any time of the year. I do corporate events of all sorts but mostly holiday parties and company employee appreciation type events. I also do an occasional college or university, have done a few amusement parks, and very few comedy clubs and cruise ships.
6. What is the most interesting/unique event you have ever worked?
I was paid by Fosters Beer (Australian) to Work in a British Pub, in Bejing, China for English Speaking patrons that frequented the bar - mostly embassy employees. The Bar Owner also got us a show for the "American Club", 5,000 Americans working in China for; Ford, Hershey, Coca-Cola, etc - on July 4th.
I got to go to the UAE and perform for a Shopping Festival for ten days.
I worked in Maui on Y2K, and have done the Alaska State Fair four times.
Unusual might be I did a family day on the nuclear aircraft carrier the USS Enterprise for 5,000 soldiers and their families and we went out to sea on the carrier.
One of the more interesting fun events was I worked for a small medical factory in Wisconsin and the owner had his pilot pick me up with his private jet and fly me there with my family for the show, they gave us a car to use - I felt like a rock star.
7. What other advice do you have for clients booking a hypnotist?
Don't decide that "local" is better, or "cheaper" is better. I work with a lot of nationally touring performers who are willing to travel and they are brilliant performers. We are very portable. Quality is not necessarily local or cheap and experience usually means "safer" in this business.
8. Anything else you’d like to share?
When booking any entertainment, the contract is not a real estate or insurance contract. All parties need to feel comfortable with the agreement and if you - the person paying for the entertainment do not feel comfortable with the agreement, then change it. I personally think every agreement should treat the other party the same way one would want their own children treated - that's how I treat people. I call that rule "My Moral Compass."
The agreement is simply a written agreement that avoids misunderstandings between adults and if you are not comfortable with the agreement, don't sign it until you are comfortable.
Hypnotists can be some of the most egotistical people in the world. They can be humbled and if they won't eat crow, then find a different performer to work with.
Alan Sands - Comedy Hypnotist - The SandMan