Ever wanted to be hypnotised? Are you sceptical of hypnotism? FOCUS was dazzled by Wayne Donnelly, a Hypno-Comedian who’s bringing his act to the Armidale City Bowling Club in April.
Tell us a little about yourself …
I have been doing the shows for about seven years now. I originally got into hypnotherapy by doing a fire walk with Anthony Robins many years ago. Then in 2005 I had a major back injury, which included some drastic surgery to get me walking again. I ended up going through some major depression, and a hypnotherapist brought me out of my depression.
In 2008 I was managing a financial planning firm, and during the GFC my presence was no longer required. So, I took a look at what I could do and thought, I’ll try to help people. I was helped by hypnosis, so I started to study it and neuro linguistic programming. I was already doing some therapy work as well.
In 2011 I got into stage work; I got a professional out from the States to come and assist me and help me with my first show. After that, away I went – and I have been doing shows ever since. So now I travel Australia doing shows and workshops.
What happens at a show with you?
To give you the best idea, you’ll come to the show and expect to be entertained for two hours, with a break in the middle. The first part of the show is creating a rapport with people. I have to create the trust pretty quickly, so as to get some volunteers on stage. We do some tests to see if they will allow themselves to go into a hypnotic state on the night of the show. I don’t take too long putting people into a trance; it can be very quick. I generally find three types of people come to a show. 1. the people who think hypnosis is great, 2. the sceptics and 3. the people who put their hands in front of their eyes and say, “Please don’t look into my eyes”.
Does the comedy come into it naturally?
The focus is on getting people to do things that are funny – not embarrassing, just funny. Like when you see a guy give birth to a doll or a kangaroo and he thinks it his own, feeds it and so forth – it can be pretty entertaining. We might do a talent quest, which we did at the Tamworth Country Music Festival recently.
Is there a certain ratio of people who will be susceptible to being hypnotised?
Generally if you get somewhere between 10 – 20% of the audience as volunteers, usually you’ll have about half of them who can be hypnotised. Within that group who stay hypnotised, you’ll have a beautiful few who are what we like to call “floppers”. They will be the ones who when I click my fingers, they “flop” in their chairs, they’ll respond to whatever suggestion I given to them, like forgetting their own name or not being able to lift a chair because it’s stuck (mentally) to the floor. It’s always fun to get the strong young man to try and lift it, but he can’t and can’t figure it out.
Around the hypno-comedy shows, do you host workshops to hypnotise people?
Absolutely. I run workshops for weight loss, stopping smoking, nail biting, amongst other things – like phobias. Generally I run some workshops around the time I will be in the town. Places are limited to about twelve participants. I like to talk to people before the workshops, to make sure they will be in the right frame of mind. If you are keen to make a positive change in your life, come and get in contact.
So there are two types of hypnotism, the permanent and the temporary. Is it possible to have both?
Yes, it is. For the people in the show, if they are wanting to, for example, quit smoking, I’ll give it a very nasty taste and after they leave the show, when they smoke, the taste will present itself. The funny suggestions given in the show are meant to be temporary. I make sure of this at the end of every show, by making a very strong command that: “All suggestions in the show were just for fun and are now null and void”. Everyone has had a lot of fun, and now they go home, still chuckling about the show.
WAYNE DONNELLY HYPNOTIST, FRIDAY 20TH APRIL, 8PM TO 10:30PM.
Tickets are $35 and can be purchased via the Club or online through EVENTBRITE.