If the start to your 2019 has been slightly lacklustre and you need a bit of a ‘pick-me-up’, then maybe the remedy is Comedy Hypnotist Matt Hale’s Feelgood Factory. With a massive season of 34 performances to choose from, catch Matt Hale at FRINGE WORLD on Friday, January 18 through to Sunday, February 17 at the new Megamouth in Yagan Square; weekend shows at The Big Top at Scarborough’s Sunset Veranda, Joondalup’s Redmond Theatre and the Piazza at Cockburn Gateway Shopping Centre. Matt caught up with CHERYL LIM to share what really happened when he thought it would be a good idea to hypnotise Mike Tyson.
You’ve led an incredibly interesting life: a club DJ at 15, breakfast radio announcer, comedy writer, producer and presenter on radio, presenter of a travel show and now a hypnotist. You once put boxing legend, Mike Tyson, under your ‘spell’. Were you afraid he would hurt you if you failed to impress him?
I really didn’t know how it would go as I wasn’t there to actually hypnotise him. I had a random chance to meet him, but thought I’d make the most of it and try a couple of little hypnotic techniques. It was either going to end with him punching me, or having fun with it. Both would have made an equally good story! Fortunately, it ended up with him roaring positively in my face, however I still got moved on by security as it caused quite a scene.
While you are known for your comedy hypnotism, many may not be aware that you are also a corporate motivational speaker specialising in mindhacking memory, happiness and success. How has hypnosis helped you in your motivational speaking?
It’s enabled me to show people how the mind gets used to certain patterns – the more often it triggers a certain response in a situation, the more it gets used to that pattern. At some point that becomes the way it will think automatically, whether you like it or not. With that understanding, you can then start to force certain new patterns until they become the new automatic response, or way of feeling or thinking.
Your many talents include being a memory expert. Did you always have a good memory and how did you train your memory?
Good or bad memory is pretty much a myth (unless it is physically damaged). It simply comes down to mental techniques and applying them.
I learnt some basic techniques many years ago, which I’ve since built on. It gives the illusion of some kind of special brain, so I love it when I can shatter that presumption and share some of those skills that people can immediately put to use, much to their amazement.
Would you say that some people simply cannot be hypnotised? What would make them different to those who can be hypnotised?
Absolutely. It’s not something I do to people, it’s a two-way process with me guiding that person on how to relax and engage that focused imagination. So of course, you initially have to want and be willing to engage with that process. Although many people are great at it first time, others may take a bit more practice. On stage I use a very general process designed to work with a group of people, however when I send people back to the audience, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t be hypnotised, they may just need a different technique or more time (which is not viable in the middle of a show, but easy in a one-on-one situation).
What is the strangest inanimate object or person that you were able to hypnotise someone to impersonate?
Not inanimate, but in last year’s show, those on stage were told they were human chameleons, so they believed they had the ability to blend into the background without me or the audience being able to see them. That made for some huge laughs as they snuck around thinking they were pretty much invisible!
You make it a point to challenge preconceived notions about what a hypnotist does on stage eg. hypnotists like to make audience members cluck like a hen or embarrass them. How does your show, Comedy Hypnotist Matt Hale’s Feelgood Factory, differ to typical hypnotist shows?
100% Chicken Free Guarantee! No swinging watches, or mysterious stares! I love to bust the clichés and also take the mystery out of hypnosis, show how it works and why, and how that kind of focus can be applied to other parts of your life you want to change. Of course, along the way, there are a lot of hilarious things happening on stage. However, I’ve always wanted those taking part to feel proud of their participation and remember it with pure joy…and I want the audience to leave wishing they’d taken part and wanting to come back to try it themselves!