Imagine how you would react if the guy-stranger sitting next to you in a crowded theater began smelling like a skunk. And instead of the horrific odor dissipating after a few moments, it becomes more and more intense.
You can’t bear it any longer; you must escape, even if it means climbing over a heap of unsuspecting row-mates.
A nightmare? Maybe not. It’s probably just another typical evening with New London native Jim Spinnato, who is bringing his “Hypnotic Hysteria” — the R-rated version — to Foxwoods Resort Casino on Friday, July 24.
Spinnato, who has combined comedy with hypnosis for a couple of decades, said last week that every performance is different because each one features a totally different cast of characters — all volunteers from the audience who are “the real stars of the show.” Through a very real power of suggestion, the Waterford comic is able to convince his participants of just about anything.
“I do about 150-200 shows a year, and I still love it, still think it’s pretty cool,” he said, laughing.
COMIX at Foxwoods Comedy Club, 350 Trolley Line Blvd., Mashantucket. Friday, July 24, 10:30 p.m. $35-$15, with $10 per person food, beverage minimum. 21 and older. 800-369-9663, foxwoods.com
Each show is tailored for its clientele, from G-rated to Restricted (21 and older). For an R-audience, instead of a skunk-smelling man, Spinnato might attempt, for example, to convince a male from the audience that the four women with whom he is sharing the stage are all stunningly beautiful — and nude!
“It can get pretty crazy,” said the “60-something” entertainer. No matter what the participants do, audiences always react in the same manner: “We never stop laughing.”
If participants know they will be put in awkward, bizarre or R-rated positions, why on earth would they volunteer?
“I get that question all the time. I think it’s a lot of things,” he said, adding that for some it is a spirit of adventure. “I think some people just want their 15 minutes” of fame or want to experience the sensation. Others might not believe they can be hypnotized.
Spinnato is so popular with Foxwoods’ audiences that he already has several upcoming gigs slated: Sunday, Aug. 2, 8 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 21, 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Sept. 6, 8 p.m.
Spinnato said that he was initially transfixed by magic, having begun his studies at age 14. “I’ve loved magic all my life and went full-time as a magician at age 38.” Soon after, he “was an opening act for a hypnotist at the University of Rhode Island. That was it. I was blown away. I knew it was something I had to do.
“And believe me, it’s no special skill. It’s not like you have to be born with this” ability, he said, laughing. “It’s a learned talent.”
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