Comedy Hypnotist Matt Hale returns for his sixth Fringe World this week with his new show Bonkers, offering audiences complete mental relief with the ultimate in silliness, laughs and fun. As the local entertainer prepares to embark on a massive series of 34 performances from January 15 to February 14, across five venues spanning everywhere from Cockburn to Joondalup (get more info and tickets here), BRAYDEN EDWARDS checked in to find out some of the secrets of the mysterious craft and why after a challenging 2020, laughter is all the more important for the body, mind and soul. 

How did you get into hypnotising people? Did you people around you think you were a bit “Bonkers” when you first told them that was going to be your profession?

I think they still do when I introduce myself as a hypnotist! Many years ago I became fascinated with the mind, how it worked, and what you could do with it. I was always involved in the entertainment world though, so once I came into contact with hypnosis it became a natural progression for me to learn how to do it and put it into a show format.

And what are the biggest misconceptions people typically have about hypnosis?

For some reason, the cliché of turning people into chickens still lingers, but I’ve been doing my best to get rid of that one – from day one I’ve always given my shows a 100% Chicken Free Guarantee!

Luckily over the years I’ve been doing it, and trying to strip away the mystery of it, more and more people realise it’s just a way of increasing focus on something and making it feel like reality.

Is it possible to hypnotise yourself?

Absolutely. It’s similar to meditating, but giving yourself a suggestion to focus on while you’re in that relaxed state.

Who is the most famous person you have ever hypnotised and what was that experience like?

I had the chance to chat very briefly to Mike Tyson in Vegas a few years ago.  Although I wasn’t there to hypnotise him, I used a couple of fun hypnotic techniques that lead to us locking eyes and ended up with him roaring in my face at the top of his voice. It was quite a moment considering the size of him…and the size of me!

You have described your new show Bonkers as your “most ridiculous yet.” What is it that makes this show a notch up on the ridiculous scale compared to your previous performances?

I’ve always loved to rev up the audience during the show and make them feel pumped, but this year they become an integral part of the performance. At various points, the whole audience gets a chance to play a supporting role with some of the stuff that is happening on stage. Get ready to thrash that air guitar!

And do you feel that sense of fun is all the more important after the year we have had, and the uncertain times we continue to live through?

I think it’s highlighted the need for us to have fun as part of our daily routine, no matter what year it is. Last year was such a tough year for many, that when you found yourself doing something that made you happy, it really stood out.

I spent a lot of time in online sessions last year helping people realise that when you go out of your way to add something that is fun, or silly, or gives you joy and happiness on a daily basis, you are actually creating a new pattern of thinking that your mind gets used to. In turn, you become a much happier person in general, whose mind actively seeks out those opportunities to feel good.