05 May Mochrie and Mecci blend talents in Hyprov
Mochrie and Mecci blend talents in Hyprov
Improv legend Colin Mochrie has teamed up with master hypnotist Asad Mecci to create an off-the-cuff comedy show called Hyprov: Improv Under Hypnosis.
Currently on a 55-city tour, the duo will make a stop at the Sanderson Centre in Brantford on Jan. 29.
Even with a number of European shows under his belt, Mochrie, perhaps best known for decades of hilarity on the British and American editions of the television show, Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, describes the feeling of walking out onto the stage each night as “terrifying.”
“When working with improvisers that I know, we have the same foundation of the teachings of improv,” says the 64-year-old Scottish-born improv veteran. “If I’m not on top, I can sit back and let them take charge. I can’t do that with these people I’ve just met and who are in a hypnotic trance.”
Mochrie calls the people in a trance “pure improvisers. They are reacting to everything I say to them.”
Mecci, who has been practising hypnosis for more than two decades, invites members of the audience to take part in the show.
“They rush the stage,” Mecci observes. “A lot of them want to experience hypnosis, and they want to be in proximity to the great Colin Mochrie.”
An initial group of 20 participants is whittled down to four or five deemed to be the most susceptible.
“The part of the mind that deals with self reflection becomes disconnected when a person is hypnotized,” Mecci says. “They’re no longer reflecting on their behaviour. They’re just carrying out the suggestion I give them. They automatically become great improvisers.”
Mochrie says there are a lot of misconceptions about hypnosis that people may have gained from movies or television. He notes he’s always fascinated when talking to people after the show who share that they remember everything.
“I give them the suggestion they’ll remember everything they’ve done up on stage, and they’ll feel wonderful afterwards,” Mecci says.
The master hypnotist says his favourite part of the show is having people sing love ballads, or the blues, with Mochrie.
“They really stretch Colin as far as his singing ability,” Mecci says. “I get a front row seat to some of the best comedy in the world because sometimes these people give Colin lots to work with, sometimes they don’t give him much to work with, but Colin is always able to come out on top and make the show absolutely hilarious.”
“It’s called panic, that’s how I get through it,” Mochrie observes. “This show is terrifying to begin with, but we added this element where I sing a duet with them.”
Mochrie recalls a recent show when Mecci gave a fellow the direction that he was the biggest rock star in the world.
“The guy I sang with a couple nights ago said after the show, ‘I can’t believe I was singing. It was like I was above myself, looking down saying who is that guy? I can’t sing.’ And yet he did this amazing job.”
Acknowledging some people may think that hypnosis is fakery, Mochrie says: “What I love about this is that, after the show, I think Asad and I proved to the audience that each of our art forms is valid and truthful. It’s a fun show the whole family can enjoy.”