By Christina Collins
When you hear the word “hypnotist,” you might imagine a somber old man in a dark room swinging a pendulum before a patient’s eyes. Well, snap out of it, because Master Michael Grady blows this stereotype to smithereens. Not only does he possess an uncanny resemblance to Johnny Depp (join the line, ladies), but he also provides his audience ~ families, high school students, college kids, adults ~ with an experience they’ve probably never had before. His secret potion? A combination of comedy and hypnotherapy. And no, he doesn’t use one of those pendulum things.
Master Grady’s one-man company, Grade A Hypnosis, Inc., performs comedy hypnosis shows for all occasions imaginable, including school events, parties, fairs, hotels, and theme parks. During the shows, Grady brings volunteers up on stage and hypnotizes them. That’s when things get interesting. “At the beginning of the show,” Grady explains, “I may have people hallucinate, feeling temperature changes with their eyes closed by picturing cool frosty air blowing on their face and arms. By the time they have gone through many routines they will have their eyes open, seeing, feeling, smelling, tasting and hearing things that are not there. It’s quite amazing.”
If anyone is qualified to do this job, it’s Grady. He has the entertainment aspect down pat: he first started entertaining as a musician, playing bass and drums for a few different bands, and he later toured with the Big Apple Circus, doing various jobs that included being an usher and roustabout. As for the hypnosis aspect, he became certified as a hypnotherapist in June of 2006, after graduating from the American School of Hypnosis and earning his certificate from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute. College, for him, wasn’t the typical liberal arts experience. “It was very hands on and intensive,” Grady recalls. “As well as learning the concepts of hypnosis, psychology, and mind states, I also had to be hypnotized to know what it’s like.”
Grady performed his first comedy hypnosis show in February of 2007 at the Java Hut in Worcester, and since then he has made a professional career out of it. But if you think he does it all for the money, look into those dreamy eyes and think again. “I do fundraisers for high schools,” Grady says proudly. “They raise money for sports teams, band, clubs, class trips, yearbooks, etc. I’ve also worked with little league teams, Pop Warner teams, cancer research teams, and other non-profit organizations. It feels great to contribute to all of these communities.”
His favorite audience to hypnotize? “Adults,” he says with a grin. “Adults are much more reserved than high school or college kids and take more effort to hypnotize, but these shows are the funniest out of them all because they do wild things they would never do otherwise.” It’s not every day that you see your Uncle Ted dancing to classical ballet music, is it? Something like that might only happen at one of Grady’s shows.
For more information about Michael Grady and Grade A. Hypnosis, Inc., or to book a show, visit www.gradeahypnosis.com.