Comedy and hypnosis come together for animals in Rich Guzzi Comedy Hypnosis Show

October 31, 2012|By MARIE GILBERT |
  • Rich Guzzi has been fascinated with hypnosis since he was 12 years old. He will bring his comedic hypnosis show to Leitersburg Cinemas Thursday, Nov. 8.
Submitted photo

Look deep into his eyes and relax.

Now, let Rich Guzzi transform you into a Chinese rap singer, a model on the runway or a moon-walking Michael Jackson.

Through the power of hypnotic suggestion, the Nashville, Tenn.-based performer can get you to do just about anything — and have a good time doing it.

Forget the stereotypical cape-wearing Svengalis of the past, whose shows were a bit dark and scary.

Guzzi puts you under his spell with a touch of comedy.

But don't expect him to have you quacking like a duck.

"You'd find that in a really bad hypnosis show," he said.

Instead, his skits bring together everyday pop culture and current events "that result in ridiculous scenarios," he noted.

Guzzi will be bringing his Comedy Hypnosis Show to Hagerstown when he appears in a benefit for The Humane Society of Washington County on Thursday, Nov. 8, at Leitersburg Cinemas. The two-hour show begins at 7 p.m.

An animal lover, Guzzi enjoys sharing his talents with organizations that provide animal care and advocacy.

"My girlfriend, Jolana, and I have a dog and a cat and we all travel together on the road to every gig," he said. "The cat loves it, too, by the way. We actually found her on the road when she was only 2 weeks old."

Guzzi became fascinated with hypnotism, he said, when he read a book on the topic at the age of 12.

"It seemed very powerful and mystical in nature," he said. "I kept practicing, but really never did anything with it."

An entertainer from the time he was 14 years old, Guzzi said he played in a band and then became a regular standup comic.

He was a nationally touring comedy headliner for more than 10 years before he decided to incorporate hypnotism in his routines.

"One night, I brought some people on stage during one of my regular shows and did some quick hypnosis and the crowd went wild," he said. "I figured I was on to something. Eventually, it all sort of fell into place. It's like I was being guided."

Today, Guzzi said, there are fewer than five comic hypnotists working on a regular basis in the United States, which could be the reason he's so busy. He averages 300 shows a year, performing mostly in comedy clubs.

Guzzi said hypnosis changes the way your brain interprets experiences.

"It can change your perceptions, your thoughts, your behavior and your feelings," he explained. "A hypnotic state is a deep level of concentration, where you will be extremely focused on everything the hypnotist says while tuning out everything else going on around you. Ideas and commands are absorbed by your subconscious mind."

Guzzi received his first training in hypnosis on the East Coast.

"But I actually got certified in California, when I was living in L.A. doing the whole Hollywood thing," he said. "However, hypnosis is one of those things that you never stop learning. I still do experimentation with it all of the time because there are so many benefits to the people who practice it in their everyday lives."

Although his shows are funny, Guzzi takes hypnotism seriously and supports the positive things it can achieve.

"As funny as my shows are, they are only a demonstration of what you can do with this amazing power," he said. "If I can get you to do all the crazy stuff that you do on stage, then I can easily get you to quit smoking or lose some weight."

Guzzi also works hard to debunk the preconceived notions that many people have about hypnotism.

"There is a lot of big-time skepticism," he noted. "Hypnotism still has that stigma attached to it that it is some kind of carnival trick or that there is a mind control thing going on."

And that's unfortunate and frustrating, he added, "because so many people could be helped if this thing gained more wide-spread acceptance. I'm working real hard to bring this powerful tool to the mainstream forefront."

According to Guzzi, the benefit show for the Humane Society of Washington County will feature "fun for all ages. There are not many things anymore where adults, seniors and younger people alike can all laugh hard at the same thing.  This show is so universally funny because it becomes personal. The people hypnotized on stage aren't just people in the crowd watching the show — they're family and friends."

The money raised from the show will go toward the care and well-being of the 5,700 sick, abused and homeless animals the shelter receives each year, said Katherine Cooker, manager of development and community relations with the Humane Society of Washington County.

"This event, along with the other fundraisers we hold throughout the year, enable us to continue to provide for the animals whose care we have been entrusted with," she added. 

Cooker said she hoped the Rich Guzzi Comedy Hypnotist event "will give attendees a wonderful and unique evening while giving them the satisfaction of knowing their participation will help animals in need in Washington County.

"We appreciate the help the community provides," she said.

If you go ...

What: The Rich Guzzi Comedy Hypnosis Show benefiting the Humane Society of Washington County

When: 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8

Where: Leitersburg Cinemas, Leitersburg Pike, Hagerstown

Cost:  Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at or by calling 301-733-2060, ext. 239.  Tickets include unlimited popcorn and soda.

More information on Rich Guzzi can be found at

Submitted photo

Rich Guzzi has been fascinated with hypnosis since he was 12 years old. He will bring his comedic hypnosis show to Leitersburg Cinemas Thursday, Nov. 8.

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