The incredibly unique and hilarious “HYPROV: Improv Under Hypnosis” show, co-created by the legendary “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” improv comic Colin Mochrie and master hypnotist Asad Mecci, rocked the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts stage on Friday, April 8 at 8 p.m. leaving UConn wanting more, with laughing cramps and smile creases.
Mochrie started the show by describing it as “the most unusual show that most of you will remember.” Mecci would hypnotize audience members, and Mochrie would play improv games with them. Even if you weren’t an on-stage volunteer, Mochrie often asked for the audience to shout out suggestions to set up the scenes, allowing you to be as involved as you wanted.
After Mecci and Mochrie’s grand entrance, 20 empty chairs lined the stage for hypnosis-eligible audience members. Once the brave volunteers settled in, Mecci came out to work his “magic” — not actually magic, just psychology, but from the audience, it sure felt like magic. He set all the volunteers up for success: feet flat on the floor, back on the chair, hands on your lap and constant eye contact with the hypnotist.
“People on stage, with every breath, you go deeper with the sound of my voice — and the deeper you go, the better you feel,” Mecci coaxed.
“PEOPLE ON STAGE, WITH EVERY BREATH, YOU GO DEEPER WITH THE SOUND OF MY VOICE. AND THE DEEPER YOU GO, THE BETTER YOU FEEL.”Asad Mecci
Mecci kept the audience in the loop, explaining that to determine who was responding best to the hypnosis, he looked for physiological changes in the body. Once hypnotized, he warmed the volunteers up with a prompt: You’ve lost your belly buttons. When asked what they need them for, one volunteer put simply, “lint.” Soon, Mecci whittled the candidates down to the five most promising, and the improv began.
“I feel like we hit the jackpot,” Mecci said, gesturing to the on-stage volunteers.
“Who knows, maybe we’ll find the next Ryan Stiles — or someone funny,” Mochrie joked about his former “Whose Line” co-star.
The first improv scene required one of the volunteers to propose to Mochrie, but with a twist — Mochrie had to be sitting. The man tried to coax Mochrie to sit, but Mochrie was being difficult, of course, sitting for just a second and immediately standing again — making it all the more funny to watch.
Next, Mochrie sang a duet with a volunteer about how they fell in love and went to Mars, eventually breaking up because of the thermostat. The absurd premise made for a hilarious real-time auto-tuned melody.
“WHO KNOWS, MAYBE WE’LL FIND THE NEXT RYAN STILES — OR SOMEONE FUNNY.”Colin Mochrie
After that, Mochrie asked the audience to come up with a pet, settling on Phil the zebra. Shortly after, Mochrie revealed we were at Phil’s funeral, resulting in a chorus of devastated “aww”s. “Let me remind you, we didn’t actually kill the zebra,” Mochrie laughed.
Each volunteer acted as a member of Phil’s family. Some of them were actually moved to tears while others were a bit more rote. One volunteer recited Phil’s last words: “Gag … cough … choke.” They can’t all be winners, Mochrie remarked.
In the next scene, the “super star” of the show emerged. Mochrie set the scene of the Wild West, choosing “pole dancers” as their occupation. A volunteer immediately joined in, saying, “I’m locked and loaded baby,” with a surprisingly solid western accent. They rode horses (chairs) across the landscape (stage), and Mochrie asked him to demonstrate his pole dancing. The volunteer held nothing back — twerking on the imaginary pole and dropping low to the ground, leaving the audience erupting with laughter.
For the grand finale, a 1940s murder mystery, Mochrie used two volunteers: One to make all the wrong sound effects, and the other to switch between every character he would encounter. “You’ll take this very seriously,” Mecci told the volunteers. Through a gauge of audience cheering, the Wild West volunteer was chosen as the star.
“this is a slow ‘suddenly’…but a ‘suddenly’ nonetheless.”Colin Mochrie
Mochrie, playing Dick Danger, investigated the murder of the Eggos — yes, the waffles. The star of the show played the sheriff, the taxi cab driver who for some reason had an Indian accent and a female witness with a ridiculously high-pitched voice. Through a collection of ambiguous, obscure details including an onion, somehow Mochrie tied it all together into a cohesive story, suddenly solving the murder:
“This is a slow ‘suddenly’ … but a ‘suddenly’ nonetheless,” Mochrie stalled.
Throughout the HYPROV performance, Mochrie and Mecci showcased their talent and embraced the audience’s fortes, leaving everyone with lingering stomach aches and hurting cheeks — the good ones, from prolonged laughter and smiling. The show seemed to end all too soon.
The hilarious, charming duo is touring the U.S., showcasing a unique and hilarious show every night. They will be back in the New England area this May, so be sure to check out the HYPROV website for more information and to purchase tickets to experience the craze yourself!