Hypnosis skits have long inspired laughs on sitcoms and cartoons. We’ve all seen the episodes where a character is unknowingly hypnotized to cluck like a chicken or revert to infancy every time they hear a bell ring. But, the power of hypnotism is real, says professional hypnotist and entertainer Gary Conrad.
For nearly three decades, Conrad has entertained audiences across the country and he’ll bring his adults only hypnosis show to Boca Black Box Center for the Arts on Oct. 21.
He may not have audience members clucking like chickens or bawling like babies, but he just might convince a couple of guys they are Chippendales dancers and get them to rip off their shirts and dance on stage.
“It will be serious, sexy, maybe a little bit scatological without being too gross,” said Conrad from his New Jersey home. “Human sexuality in all its various tones and colors and shapes and forms is universal. There’s no nudity, but other than that, who knows.”
At the very least, the show will deliver plenty of subconscious double and even triple entendre.
Conrad added, “I don’t want ‘Hustler,’ I want a French postcard, but if they read ‘Hustler,’ well, you know….”
Conrad first became interested in hypnosis as a student in Catholic school. A nun assigned his class to write reports on a human organ and Conrad chose the brain. He discovered several books about how the brain functions and how hypnosis could influence both the conscious and subconscious minds.
Decades later, while working in sales, he recalled the experience and wondered what might happen if he could convince a client to send more business his way.
“I read some books about suggestibility and that led me back to hypnosis,” Conrad recalled.
After reading every book he could find on the subject, he eventually left his job and became a professional hypnosis therapist, helping clients kick smoking and manage their weights and stress levels. While he enjoyed working with patients, he was drawn to the stage with the inherent challenges of a busy nightclub.
“Initially I was pretty good at hypnotherapy, but doing it in a nightclub where people are giving orders to waiters and there are glasses clinking, well, that requires an additional skill set,” he explained.
Like every skill, practice makes perfect and, in the process of touring 49 states, he perfected his act. In every audience he has to deal with an unpredictable combination of exhibitionists and voyeurs.
“The trick with this type of show is getting them to get out of their own way and let creativity flow without embarrassment or remorse that they volunteered,” he said. “My goal at the end of the night is for them to be so happy they got up on stage and I really want the guy in the audience who didn’t volunteer to wish he had.”
Conrad added, “Once they’re on my stage and participating in my erotic circus, if they still need to quit biting their nails, we can work on that, too.”
Gary Conrad presents his R-rated hypnosis show on Friday, Oct. 21 at 10 p.m. at Boca Black Box Center for the Arts, 8221 Glades Road #10 in Boca Raton. Tickets are $20 at BocaBlackBox.com.