By Bobbie Katz
It’s 9 p.m.; do you know where Grandma is?
She could very well be in her chair, but the question may be, is she really doing THAT to it? If she’s on stage at the Anthony Cools show at Paris Las Vegas along with other willing participants, Grandma could very well be off her rocker, at least in the literal (not to mention entertaining) sense. That’s because Cools, billed as “the world’s best uncensored hypnotist,” goes where no hypnotist has gone before – and takes the entire crowd with him.
Happily at home in his own theater at the hotel called the Anthony Cools Experience, the entertainer ensures that, from beginning to end, the adult evening can be classified as a mind-blowing experience. Black-hairs to blue-hairs do things one wouldn’t expect them to do even in the privacy of their own homes, surviving to tell the tale in a most relaxed and unabashed manner. If they don’t feel like talking, a video of the evening’s happenings for sale at the end of the show tells it all. It’s all just good clean dirty fun that, needless to say, defines the very essence of mesmerizing an audience.
“I have about 10 hours of different material,” explains Cools. “Every show is different. Each is also 100 percent interactive because I use volunteers from the audience. It’s an uncensored, very adult-oriented show; there are no guidelines and no rules. I write the show on the fly every night. I start the show with a three-minute orchestra piece in which the participants are hypnotized into thinking they are playing certain instruments. What I see in their personalities and how they are reacting during this bit determines what is going to happen in the entire show.
“There are still things that happen during the evening that shock me,” Cools continues. “One of my signature skits is that I tell the people on stage that they are auditioning for a porno movie and that their chairs are the people they’re auditioning with. Two months ago, a 65-70-year-old woman removed her teeth and put them on the stage so that she could give the chair oral sex. I have another trademark bit in which people shake my hand and a have an orgasm on stage right in front of their family and friends. People you wouldn’t expect to be doing certain things are doing them and I never know what’s going to happen until it happens. When they become hypnotized, all their inhibitions have been lifted. When I tell them something, it is the truth and it makes sense, irrelevant to what it is.”
Cools notes that everyone of sound mind (meaning not drunk or high and willing to give hypnosis a shot) is hypnotizable and that, in about 50 percent of his shows, someone in the audience falls asleep as he is doing the induction with the people on stage.
“As long as a person is focusing, I’m going to win, whether he or she is a believer or a skeptic,” the comedy hypnotist maintains. “I can’t tell who is going to be a good subject and who isn’t until about 10 minutes into the show. The Alpha state is the lightest state of hypnosis. I push people much deeper, into the Theta state. It shuts off a part of the brain that says, ‘This is the wrong thing to do.’ But there is no danger -- ultimately, the only people that hurt themselves are the ones with sore stomachs and jaws just from laughing. My show is outrageous.”
By using a relaxation technique, Cools actually does a susceptibility test of the entire audience before he asks for volunteers. Once the participants are on stage, it takes him only five minutes to put them into a trace deep enough to put them in very adult situations. He admits that it is very rare for everyone who gets up on stage to be the proper participant each show. He says that there is always the giggly girl or the inebriated man or the unwilling person encouraged up on stage by friends who cannot be hypnotized. They are sent back into the audience as soon as the induction is over.
“Many times the way an audience feeds me is not the way I expected the show to pan out,” Cools reveals. “For example, for a particular skit I may want to do, I’ll need three men and might have nine women and one man on stage. So I’ll do an impromptu piece instead and my production team, who knows me well and can read my signals, will follow.”
At the end of the show, Cools gives all the volunteers a post-hypnotic suggestion that they will remember everything they did but that they will be free of embarrassment and remorse. His other post-hypnotic suggestions, which depending upon how he words them can last the rest of a person’s life, include feeling positive, sleeping well, no drinking and driving, no texting and driving, and no hangover.
“One of the things that makes me different from other hypnotists is that my subjects remember everything,” Cools notes. “That’s because the primary reason for my show is entertainment and the look on their faces when they remember what they did is priceless – that’s one of my favorite parts of the show. I guarantee that people have never seen anything like this before.”
Cools reveals that hypnosis is an altered state of thinking, an extension of focus. He likens it to driving in your car and going past an exit you have taken hundreds of times before because you are so focused on something else that you don’t notice what’s going on around you. In fact, while he tapes the shows every night to sell at the end of the evening, he never tapes the induction because he says that it is dangerous.
“If people watch the videotape at home, they could easily go back into a trance,” Cools sums up. “The reason I don’t put the induction on there is to avoid that.
“You cannot force anyone into a hypnotic state,” he emphasizes. “Hypnosis is an extension of focus and you can’t force someone to focus. You also cannot force someone to relax. Anyone who is willing to be hypnotized is a great subject. You can guide a willing participant. Part of the relaxation technique I use is creative visualization. Sometimes, people who do not volunteer end up falling asleep in the audience because they are susceptible.”
Cools, who hails from Calgary, Canada, says that he has been “messing with” hypnosis since the age of 15, having become fascinated by it as a child after seeing a stage show. He took a circuitous route into show business, having been a radio, television and film major in college who held jobs as a busboy, a dishwasher, a deejay and finally as a nightclub manager before he decided to promote himself as a comedic hypnotist in the club.
Actually, Cools, who plays drums, bass, keyboard and guitar, thought that he was going to be a rock star. Always very comfortable in front of an audience, he became a deejay at 12, at which time he started getting into magic. That evolved into hypnosis, which to Cools seemed like a natural leap.
“I’m self-taught,” he notes. “Even though I had been reading about hypnosis since I was 15, I never started practicing it until I was 27. When I learned hypnosis, no one was teaching it so I didn’t have a particular technique drilled into my head – I was able to create my own principles. The nightclub I managed in Calgary was called Dooie Stevens. I decided to do a free hypnosis show there and promoted it and 550 people showed up. The next day I quit my job and I had a manager within a week. An agent came along about a year-and-a-half later.”
Cools relates that his act went into the X-rated mode because the more adult he got, the more his audiences loved it. He says that something will happen at each and every show that sticks in his head and gives him a genuine laugh.
No one is more aware than Cools, however, of the power hypnosis can have in everyday life. He does not do any kind of therapeutic practice but he has been practicing self-hypnosis for years. He says he does it almost every day, giving himself suggestions to counteract lack of sleep, to prevent hangovers when he’s been out partying with his friends, and to increase motivation. He says that he quit smoking after 18 years and lost 40 pounds, thanks to hypnosis.
“Everybody can learn hypnosis,” he adds. “My talent and niche is to be able to pull it off on stage the way I do.”
You may be getting very sleepy but Cools guarantees that you’ll wake up to some great fun….and still be able to look at yourself in the mirror in the morning.
This article appears by courtesy of Vegas Insider Daily.com.