What the heck is a mentalist?
I opened my mentalism show at the Iris Theater in Gatlinburg in August 2012; and after a couple months and many different audiences, I began to notice a trend: My audiences were becoming smarter.
A smarter audience greatly appeals to me; because any entertainer worth his salt will tell you that the smarter an audience, the more easily fooled they are. That's a very counterintuitive idea, but it's true. Studies have shown that the more intelligent a person is, the less likely they are to believe that an authority figure on stage is employing a methodology to deliberately deceive them. As you will read later, this is a critical ingredient to my performance.
For over 23 years, I performed a stage hypnosis show across the U.S.; and the members of my audiences where an excellent cross section of the population. No one specific demographic stood out more than any other. My stage hypnosis show appealed to almost everyone. My mentalism show, however, seemed to be appealing to a more sophisticated demographic.
With a degree in marketing and an insatiable need for answers, my mind began dwelling on the question...
"Why is my mentalism audience skewed toward a higher intelligence level?"
It took several days of thinking before I realized that the answer to my question was right in front of me the entire time. The intelligence level of my audience is higher at my mentalism show, because of one word: Mentalism.
When you ask someone to tell you about a hypnosis show, you will get a correct answer immediately from 95% of people. On the other hand, when you ask someone to tell you about a mentalism show, you will get a correct answer from 5% of people. Who knows what a mentalism show is?!?
If you take the time to look up Mentalist in the dictionary, you will find out that a mentalist is a mind reader, psychic, or fortuneteller; and at that point you are uber confused; because who has ever seen a mind reader, psychic, or fortuneteller perform a show? Answer... Very few people.
The reason my audiences seem smarter is due to the fact that they are. These are people who either already understand what a mentalist is, or they are willing to experience a performance that they know little about just to expand their view of the world. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to explain what a hypnotist is, but it does take someone with a strong vocabulary and understanding of words to explain what a mentalist is.
The moment I had this epiphany, I changed my marketing plan to appeal to the more sophisticated, intelligent crowd who want to laugh and be entertained while learning something about themselves. That 5% is my core audience.
So, what the heck is a mentalist?
The introduction to the hit television show The Mentalist reads...
Someone who uses mental acuity, hypnosis, and/or suggestion. A master manipulator of thoughts and behavior.
That is a great definition of what I do, but how is that entertaining?
By combining my skills as a hypnotist with NLP™, suggestion, psychology, directed awareness, and showmanship; I am able to read the unconscious signs of what a person is thinking, influence their actions, and manipulate the person's decision-making process to give the appearance that I am a mind reader with supernatural psychic powers.
In other words, I have practiced for many years to read and influence others. I have become so proficient in my field that most people cannot comprehend someone being able to do what I do, and they come to the conclusion that I must be psychic.
When you combine all of what I just wrote with the fact that I lie, steal, and cheat throughout my performance; you get a 75-minute show in which I appear to pluck thoughts directly from the deepest corners of your mind.
Of course, don't take my word for it. Attend my show, and see it for yourself. You will walk away from my show with a memory of a great time and an expanded view of what's possible as a human being.