December 7, 2011 in Interviews
Jack Benny would have made the world’s greatest hypnotist, the difference between Vegas hypnosis and corporate hypnosis is the difference between Disney and Quentin Tarantino and more… Kevin Lepine, one of the Strip’s best comedy hypnotists, took some time out from hisHypnotiq (formerly Hypnosis Unleashed) schedule to sit down with Brittany Walters-Bearden to share the story behind his hypnotic show, some interesting insights, and what happens when you hypnotize a yoga instructor.
Kevin Lepine is unique among hypnosis stage acts in a number of ways; most notably that he has a certification in hypnotherapy. When asked why he chose to use it for stage rather than going into practice, Lepine responded; “I knew that I was going to use it for stage. I’ve been doing variety arts since I was 16 and I wanted to know everything that I could know before I went on stage for the sake of audience safety. I’ve never had a problem with anyone up there because I had the proper training.”
Although most of us might not anticipate problems in a hypnosis show, they are a reality; “Someone will have a reaction that you’re not expecting… I can easily take that person and put them back in a positive mode because of the training that I’ve had.” It is not only the person on stage who is affected, but the entire audience; “If you’re taken to a negative place in hypnosis immediately, the audience is going to be afraid. I have to make sure that I always put you somewhere good. My number one goal is for the people on stage to have the time of their life.”
“Every hypnotist has a different point of view, like a rock n roll show. It’s a show I do with the audience and share with the audience on a nightly basis; they’re never made fun of or humiliated and are always stars. Everyone in Hypnotiq shares the belief that no one should be humiliated.”
When asked what the difference is between his corporate functions and his Vegas show, Lepine jokes, “It’s the difference between Disney and Quentin Tarantino…” Switching to a more serious mode, he explicates, “My Vegas show has no limits on it officially; the only limits are the self-imposed ones that I choose not to cross.”
Corporate functions are different because of the setting, environment, and audience; “As much as corporate shows are there to have a good time, they’re with their co-workers.” For Lepine, this does not mean that corporate audiences should get shortchanged, which many hypnotists do in the effort to water down their show; “You can be entertaining, you can be engaging, you can have them have the time of their life.” Lepine vows, “I will never dumb down my show for the corporate crowd. Just as we have different aspects of our personality that we share with our friends than the ones we share with our colleagues, we have different aspects in the show.”
Lepine, a lover of culture of all kinds, cites a broad base of influences for his show; “Both Terry and Michael [Stokes and Johns, respectively, of Hypnotiq] have been wonderful influences… Other comics: Amazing Johnathan, Chris Titus, a lot of different stand-ups… What resonated most with me is when performers were being honest and you could tell that they were sharing something real and authentic; I want to share myself with my audience.”
Offering a truly original insight, Lepine continues; “I believe Jack Benny would have been the world’s greatest hypnostist. He gave the setup so that you could give the line and sit back; that really influenced how I do things up there.”
Lepine cites Obi-Wan Kenobi as inspiration for learning hypnosis; “I always wanted to use the force.” He began with variety arts, which naturally transitioned into hypnosis; “Hypnosis allowed me to utilize my talents the best and that is to share the stage with other people.
Some Surprising Moments at Hypnotiq
When asked about the most unexpected incident during a show, Lepine laughs, recounting what happened the night that he had a yoga instructor on stage; “Recently, I had someone who was a yoga instructor on the stage. I tell people that the room smells and they can use their shoe as a gas mask at one point in the show, but he didn’t take his shoe off… He just lifted up his leg and put his shoe against his nose!”
Another of his favorite memories includes the part of the show when he tells the volunteers under hypnosis that the audience is naked; “When I said that people in the audience were naked, one man kept staring at the audience and, after about 30 seconds, he shrugged his shoulders and took off his shirt.”
“I’m excited to be in Las Vegas; I’ve been here two years and just bought a new condo. I love Vegas and being surrounded by some of the people that I respect… some of these great performers are willing to make everyone else better by talking to you and critiquing you. There are going to be a lot more corporate gigs, I’m excited to be doing Hypnotiq on Thursdays. There’s a lot going on around town with Sinn Bodhi and Stacy Carter’s Freak Show Wrestling and the 12:30 Clown Show… I’m having the time of my life.”
Fans can catch Kevin’s show, Hypnotiq, every Thursday at the Harmon Theatre at Krave at Planet Hollywood. Keep in touch with Kevin on Twitter @hypnotistkevin, on Facebook at the Hypnotiq fan page at https://www.facebook.com/HypnosisUnleashed, or on his websitewww.kevinlepine.com.