Comedy Hypnotism, Gags and Palagiarism
I went to see another stage hypnotist last night. I think it is a professional courtesy to introduce oneself under those circumstances, so I popped into the kitchen of the venue where he was hanging out to say “hi!”. After discovering that I too was an entertainer, his first remark was that he hoped I did not “steal his material” (classy?!?).
He then went on stage to perform a show containing gags that have been around for literally decades, and some for centuries. With one or two minor variations, the entire show was based on material published in Gil Boyne’s Encyclopedia of Stage Hypnotism.
I suspect that even he didn’t think that this material was his own invention, and even if it was some of the gags were so obvious that it is likely that others would have thought of them as well. I had a neat idea once based on Dancing With The Stars. Needless to say, a TV phenomenon like that has probably inspired many of my peers, and there are likely to be hundreds of related gags out there.
After all, there are really only a few hypnotic phenomena, and combining them with popular TV entertainment, for example, is likely to lead to many similar inventions.
My show is currently about 30% “standard” gags that others use too, and which are excellent warm ups and great fun for everyone. Another 30% are fairly unique to me, things Simon and I thought up and have never seen others do (but others may have had similar ideas on their own). The remainder is made up on the spot.
And as with all comedy – the secret is in “how you tell ‘em”. I am proud of our show - it is fast, energetic, and original; but also clean and inviting. Last night was funny for sure. And I came away comfortable that someone who went to both that show and mine would have found them hard to compare; ours is so different.