Be prepared to be hypnotized, Fort Lauderdale. Flip Orley, a standup comedian and hypnotist, will perform Thursday through Sunday at the Fort Lauderdale Improv, and he's looking for some volunteers to join him onstage.
His approach to making people fall into a dreamlike state is not like what you see in the movies. He won't make you divulge your secrets (unless you want to) or act too foolish. "If the people are nice enough to come to my show," he says, "I want to entertainment them. But not by being mean."
Orley, who won't disclose his age, says he has been studying hypnosis since he was 21 and has been performing standup for 25 years. During his shows, he asks for 15 to 20 volunteers. As the audience watches, he puts the volunteers into a trance. Sometimes, they become a family, theme-park workers or a group of salesmen. He says no two shows are alike, and people are always amazed at what happens. "A lot of times, they'll want to volunteer, but don't," he says. "And then, they come back to another show to do it."
Orleysays not everyone can be hypnotized. "You have to keep an open mind about it, and it really depends on the person," he says. "Let's say someone comes onstage and they are opposed to do it, but their friend bets them $100 to volunteer. If that person doesn't feel like something will happen, it probably won't."
Some pretty funny things have happened during his shows. "I don't do this bit very often, but there was this one time where I had a group do regression, where I asked them to travel back in time," Orley recalls. "So they were 5 years old. This one guy, he was probably about 30, asked, 'Can I go potty?' He left the stage and never came back. About 10 or 15 minutes later, the manager handed me a note that said, 'There's a man in the bathroom screaming for someone to help him wipe.' "
Of course, he understands volunteers have a "fear of the unknown." But he promises only a good time. "I like to think of myself as Joey the cruise director," Orley says. "What I do onstage, at a comedy club, is silly and fun."
Flip Orley will perform Sept. 19-22 at the Fort Lauderdale Improv, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, 5700 Seminole Way, in Hollywood. Tickets cost $20. Go to Ftl.Improv.com.