Entertainment Features

HYPROV: Mochrie and Mecci's Hilarious Hybrid.

HYPROV: Mochrie and Mecci's Hilarious Hybrid.

By David DeRocco   dave@gobeweekly.com  https://twitter.com/?lang=en 

Hypnotize a group of willing participants and set them to task performing improv comedy skits. That’s the concept behind the hilarious hybrid being delivered by comedy legend COLIN MOCHRIE and master hypnotist ASAD MECCI in their mind-blowing, side-splitting show, appropriately titled HYPROV.

Conceived in 2015 after Mecci proposed the idea to Mochrie's agent, the pair have combined the two art forms into a laugh-a-minute comedy tour that’s been capturing the imaginations of audiences around the world since their very first show on the main stage at Toronto’s Second City.

“Our first performance was really a surprise to the audience,” explained Mecci, who’s entertained over 1.5 million people as a hypnotist solo performer. “We came out after a Second City main stage performance and explained Colin and I would be doing a surprise performance. Everybody stayed, everyone wanted to see the show. We were like, I really hope this works. The rest is history.”

After their well-received debut, Mochrie and Messi set to task perfecting the concept, rehearsing with university-aged guinea pigs at the Second City’s John Candy Theatre before hitting the road. HYPROV proved to be an immediate success, selling out Montreal’s Just For Laffs in 2016 and eventually taking the pair to Scotland for two years of sold-out performances in Edinburgh. Now in the middle of a 50-date tour that arrives in St. Catharines January 23rd, Mecci says he’s amazed at the variety of people flocking to take part in this wholly-interactive comedy show.

“We’ve had everyone from a nuclear physicist to a cement sales guy to someone working at the Mayo clinic to a tool and die maker participate,” he said. “It’s unbelievable the variety of people we’ve had come up on stage from all different walks of life.”

Under the skilled direction of Mecci’s hypnotic powers, the five or six people who get whittled down from the 20 who usually want to get hypnotized each night become excellent pupils for Mochrie, an improvisational genius best known for his television appearances on the British and U.S. versions of Whose Line Is It Anyway?

“The people who are hypnotized on stage become incredible improvisers, because the part of the mind that deals with self-reflection becomes disconnected when hypnotized,” explained Mecci. “First time improvisers, they’ll often consciously play to the crowd, which isn’t so funny. But people who get hypnotized on stage carry out the suggestion I give them, so it makes them really good performers.”

Mecci says people most susceptible to hypnosis enjoy the most vivid experience, because hypnosis tears down the walls of the conscious critical part of their mind, making them more uninhibited as performers. “It’s really amazing to watch how some of these people with no acting or improv experience really become rock star improvisers on stage. It’s just mind-blowing to see how well the concepts work.”

The unique aspect of the show is that each night is entirely different, because the skits are built around audience suggestions and the unique personalities of the hypnotized performers. However, Mecci says the true joy each night is that Hyprov is the perfect showcase for Mochrie's improvisational talents. 

“Every night you get a front row seat to see Colin Mochrie perform. With great improvisers, the number one rule of improv is to make your partner look good. He’s always been the supporting cast on his own show. But with this show he really gets to do what he wants to do. With a savant like Colin, it’s amazing how creative and how off the wall and funny he can be. It’s shockingly funny.”

HYPROV hits the stage at FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines January 23rd.


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