Comedian hypnotizes students in R-rated show they won’t remember

Comedian and hypnotist Jim Spinnato is seen on stage with hypnotized students in the Student Union Theater in Storrs, Connecticut on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

Jim Spinnato isn’t your typical comedian, nor is he a typical hypnotist, but his show, which catered to the sexual funny bone of the college demographic, left a packed audience at the Student Union Theater in fits of laughter.

As he called a group of eager audience members up to the stage, Spinnato stressed the importance of concentration to hypnosis, and those who were selected to be part of the show would recall nothing from over an hour of hypnotic manipulation.

Ashley Honiker, a second semester math and English major, was one of the participants in the show. She said she thought it lasted five minutes by the time Spinnato released her from her hypnosis.

“Since I did it before, I thought I would remember, but I don’t remember anything,” Honiker said, recalling a previous experience with a hypnotist.

Much of the show was sexualized and included a heavy load of profanity, especially from Spinnato, who wasn’t afraid to march his participants down the isles of the theater commanding them to scream curses and brandish middle fingers at a laughing audience.

“I wasn’t sure what R-rated would mean,” eighth semester political science major Andrew Cebry said. “I wasn’t expecting that at all.”

Cebry was the only participant that remembered being in the show. While he wasn’t one of the original students chosen by Spinnato, he was called onto stage as a willing recipient of lap dances from hypnotized students competing for an imaginary $300,000 prize.

His favorite act, Cebry said, was when a hypnotized student was convinced that a poodle was lost and roaming around the theater. Spinnato instructed the student to walk amongst the audience calling out the poodle’s name, “take it in the a--.”

Other audience members enjoyed seeing their friends participating on stage.

“He didn’t know what to do with himself,” Mike Cascone, an eighth semester allied health sciences major, said about Cebry. “He looked like he was trapped in a box.”

Sahil Laul, a second semester molecular cell biology major, was the unlucky target of a student who was hypnotized to be the “laughing police,” an ironic role considering the hilarity of the show. Laul was among many who could not stop laughing at the hypnotized student’s relentless insistence that the audience stop laughing. Spinnato gave the hypnotized student imaginary handcuffs and Laul was taken away, temporarily, for his uncontrollable laughter.

“I didn’t know what was going on. It was so funny,” Laul said. “Having the show be R-rated and with all the college students made it so much better.”

Spinnato’s spin on the traditional hypnotism show was both engaging and entertaining, students said.

“I thought what made the show strong was how comfortable Jim was up on stage,” eight semester environmental science major Anna Casale said. “It takes a lot to put up these scenarios.”

Casale, Cebry and Cascone accompanied Alexis Ludwig, eighth semester dietetics major, to Spinnato’s show for a night out with friends.

“We were just watchers,” Ludwig said. “You have to see it to believe it.”


Diler Haji is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at diler.haji@uconn.edu.