You ruffle your feathers, flap your wings, forge the face that people make fun of on Facebook; yes, you’re a duck, or at least pretending to be one while under hypnosis.
Jay Hawj is the AMP (Anchorage MPowerment Project) facilitator at the Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association; he is also a stage hypnotist (under the name of Jay Her) who has been putting on comedy hypnosis shows in Anchorage for the past four years.
“It’s me talking to people, and I give them enough information to where their mind just goes really relaxed. Once that happens, whatever I say from that point on just feels like the right thing to do,” explained Her.
Her began studying hypnosis in his home state of California in 2004 after attending a comedy hypnosis show at an entertainment conference. He began taking classes and performed his first show (to an audience of 10) later that same year.
“I still remember that first show; it was really just for friends and family,” said Her. “But I still remember the first person who got hypnotized; she was Mariah Carey, a race car driver and everything else we had her do.”
Colleen Crinklaw, a local comedian, has attended four of Her’s shows since he began performing them in Anchorage in 2008 and was even hypnotized at one of them.
“Everybody on stage was a zombie at one point; I think I bit somebody,” said Crinklaw.
According to Her, no one can be hypnotized unless they want to; he explains this to his audience at the beginning of each show as he performs exercises with the crowd to help them better understand the process.
“If you don’t want to do anything, it’s not going to happen,” said Her. “If they go on stage and do happen to get hypnotized, and they are asked to do something that they don’t want to do, chances are, they won’t.”
From there, Her selects volunteers from the audience to participate in the show as his cast and immediately begins the process of putting them under deep hypnosis. Once they are there, the comedy aspect of the show kicks in.
“It’s not so much that he’s making you do something that you don’t want to do; it’s more like he’s encouraging you to say the things that you would have said if had absolutely no inhibitions,” said Crinklaw.
Crinklaw now remembers her time under hypnosis but didn’t immediately upon coming out of it. It wasn’t until after friends began describing what she’d done that she recalled anything.
“When I first came out from under it, I didn’t remember anything that had happened until somebody told me what I did, and then I remembered everything,” she said. “I remember the things that I did, but I don’t really remember experiencing them.”
Her explains that, eventually, everyone remembers what happens while they are under hypnosis.
“It’s kind of like that feeling of when you’re super tired and you don’t remember what you’re talking about, or are kind of drunk to the point where the night’s kind of hazy. You don’t remember too much, but as people begin to talk about it … it starts to come back to you,” he said.
Most of Her’s shows in Alaska have been in bars, but he has performed under-21 shows as well. His next one will be at the Wilda Marston Theater located in the Loussac Library on Saturday, June 16. Her explains that while he has a particular goal in mind for the show (being relatively family friendly), it is impossible to know exactly where the show will go by the time it is over.
“I shoot for a more family friendly, family oriented show; it’s kind of pushing it, since it is a comedy hypnosis show, so you kind of anticipate some stuff,” said Her. “But, it’s not as crazy, we don’t get people stripping down to their leopard print underwear and giving blow jobs to chair legs and stuff.”
Jay Her’s Saturday, June 16 show will open doors at 7:15 p.m. and begin at 8 p.m.. Pre-sale tickets are available online for $15 at his website, www.jayher.com. Tickets will be $20 at the door.