I developed an interest in hypnosis in the sixth grade. My first book on the subject was Hope to Pick Up Girls with Hypnosis. To be honest, it didn't work. I was left looking like an idiot on the playground when I tried to get a girl to concentrate on my voice and have her eyes get heavy.
As time went by, I found books that provided better and more honest information regarding hypnosis. I looked for books that explained what it was, how it worked, and about it's history. After a few years of reading everything I could get my hands on, I saw a hypnotist do a show at my school. After his show, I had the chance to sit down and talk with him for a couple of hours. After the show and our short meeting we became friends and I ended up studying hypnosis with him for the next couple of years. The individual attention was an amazing opportunity for me.
In college, I continued my interest and study of hypnosis. I originally majored in Psychology, only to later decide that I had no interest in being a psychologist. So after making a few changes, I finally settled on a Communication major with a Psychology minor. While attending the University of Arizona, I got involved with a student group called "The Komedy Korner." It was a group that got together to perform comedy in the Student Union on Friday afternoons.
After a couple of years, I transferred from the University of Arizona in Tucson, up to Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. I had a number of reasons for the transfer, but one of the biggest reasons was that a full time comedy club had opened in Tempe. I immediately enrolled at ASU and then got a job in the Promotions Department of the comedy club.
While working at "Chuckles" in Promotions, I started getting up at clubs around town doing open mic nights. Initially I was only doing stand-up comedy.
After a couple of years, a friend of mine challenged me to get on stage and do a show as a hypnotist. I have no idea why I accepted the challenge, but I did. I talked to the manager of "Chuckles" and he told me I could do a long set on a Monday night (Open Mic Night) as the last comic on the list. He gave me about 30 minutes to do my entire show. I was scared, but when that Monday night rolled around, I took the stage, explained what I wanted to do, and then asked for volunteers. To my surprise, people flooded the stage. I was amazed. To be honest, I didn't expect any volunteers and really hadn't planned out the details of the show. Once the volunteers were settled, I realized I had to get started.
"Chuckles" had a really big stage, so I initially had around 30 volunteers. When I was finished with the first part of the show, more than 50% of the volunteers were showing signs of being hypnotized. I didn't have much time, so I just did things like ask people to forget the number 4 and then to count their fingers. It was pretty harmless, but a big rush. The response from the audience was immediate and very positive. I can't say I was completely hooked at that point, but I was pretty amazed and very happy.
For the next couple of years, I continued to work on stage around Phoenix. Some nights I was doing hypnosis, other nights a short set of comedy, and some nights emceeing the show. Phoenix provided a lot of opportunity to get up on stage and work out material.
Little by little I was getting more work as a hypnotist. I began to see that it was a great hook and something that set me apart from the other comics around town. I started writing material for a show that featured hypnosis. I wanted to apply a comedic feel to the show. Most hypnotists who worked on stage either humiliated their volunteers or did a show that was more like a seminar.
I thought of myself as a comic who used hypnosis. The show (from the beginning) was meant to help people explore their creativity and to have the volunteers interact. I never wanted to do the "Dog and Pony Show." From the very start, I decided that no one would ever be asked to bark like a dog, cluck like a chicken, take their clothes off, or do anything else that was mean, obvious, or humiliating.
In the last few years, I have had the opportunity to do several television shows. I was on The Today Show (twice), The Rikki Lake Show (twice), Maury Povich, Entertainment Tonight, Comic Strip Live, and Rolanda. I have also done a pilot for Fox, and was a guest on another independent pilot.
The show continues to evolve as I learn from the experiences of the people who volunteer to get up on stage with me. No two shows have ever been the same. After so many years of working on stages across the country, I continue to be amazed and impressed with people. Most people are so much more creative, interesting, and intelligent than they realize.
I have the opportunity to fill many roles up on stage. I play the part of a comic, a hypnotist, a participant in the hypnotic situations, and an audience member. Just about every show there are some moments that make me laugh out loud. I feel as intrigued and happy to be doing my show now as I did when I first got started.
I still have a very close relationship with the man who spent so much time teaching me about hypnosis. In the past, I have taught hypnosis at Pima College in Tucson, Arizona. I taught classes and seminars on self-hypnosis, relaxation, stress management. Although I don't do many private sessions, I am developing a series of audio CD's using hypnosis for self-improvement. The first group of CD's will include Sleeping Better, Procrastination, Positive Attitude, Stress Management, Relaxation, Weight Control, and Smoking Cessation.
Along with doing the show, I will continue to work on hypnotic tapes and CD's that can help people to tap into their mind's strengths and abilities.