Hypnotist Asad Mecci and improviser Colin Mochrie will take the stage at the Elsinore Theatre April 28 for their “Hyprov” comedy show. (Courtesy photo)
Colin Mochrie has been racking up marriage proposals.
The Canadian improviser, best known for his years on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, is on tour with master hypnotist Asad Mecci for a combination improv-hypnosis comedy show that draws on willing audience members to surrender to Mecci’s suggestions. Sometimes, that means improvised proposals to Mochrie.
“I’ve met a couple of nice guys and some of them still keep in touch,” Mochrie said in a recent interview with Salem Reporter.
The two will take the stage for their “Hyprov” show at Salem’s Elsinore Theatre Thursday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29.
Mecci said he conceived of the idea of hypnotizing audience members who then participate in improv. He emailed Mochrie’s manager cold.
“I thought it was terrifying,” Mochrie said of the concept. He signed on right away. “I have the most fun when there is no way to predict what is going to happen,” he said.
The show relies on 20 audience volunteers who are summoned to the stage to be hypnotized, then participate in improv. The group is whittled down to five, who then perform with Mochrie.
Mecci said contrary to popular impressions about hypnosis, audience members remain conscious and can remember their participation. His hypnosis renders them more suggestible, which makes for better performances.
“First-time improvisers, they will look self-conscious, they will look nervous, they will hesitate, they will try to be funny, they will play to the crowd in a not funny way,” Mecci said. “People who are hypnotized just carry out my suggestions” rather than worrying about whether their hair looks bad or they’re sweating too much.
Mochrie said working with volunteers keeps the improvisation fresh. Unlike his “Whose Line” co-stars, Brad Sherwood and Wayne Brady, Mochrie said he often can’t tell where an audience member will take a scene.
“We improvise things that I don’t think even improvisers would come up with because they’re just reacting honestly to what we’re giving them,” Mochrie said.
Audience members who want to volunteer should contact the Elsinore box office in advance to provide proof of vaccination against Covid or a negative Covid test within 72 hours of the show. The box office can be reached at (503) 375-3574.