Thursday, March 15, 2007

As Long As You Don't Call Them Elves

I went to the Improv last night to see Flip Orley, the hypnotist. My date suggested it, and though it sounded like fun, I'd never seen a hypnotist before and had no idea what to expect. And I haven't laughed that hard in years.

I was laughing so hard I was howling. I was crying. I was sure I'd leave with mascara streaks down my face, but thankfully, that didn't happen.

The hypnotist, Flip, was kind - he didn't do anything rough or mean or degrading. He just had fun with the people. And they did some of the most hilarious things.

He had one skit where he divided the group of eight into two sides. One side had devoted their entire careers to proving the existence of Santa Claus. They had been to the North Pole. They had incontrovertible evidence of his existence.

The other side had devoted their lives to proving he was a fictional character. Parents were lying to their children, setting them up for disappointment. They had evidence. And they were not going to be convinced otherwise.

It was amazing to see these people, very sincerely and adamantly promoting their positions. They stated the most bizarre things like everyday facts.

One woman, when asked about the elves, said, "First of all, don't call them elves. It insults them. They like to be called tinies."

So when one of the men on her side started to say something about the elves, he immediately apologized and said, "Sorry - I meant 'tinies' - I forget sometimes."

An attractive blonde who seemed to be fairly tightly wound was sitting at the far end of the stage, next to a large, gruff, grey-haired main. She had a very stern look on her face. Flip walked over to her and asked what she had to say about the Santa debate.

She burst into tears. She waved him away. "My parents..." she sobbed disconsolately, "my parents dressed up as Santa Claus. He's not real!"

Sobbing. The big gruff man, an absolute stranger, put his arm around her to comfort her. "There, there." He chastised Flip. "She's been through a lot. Her parents."

Back to the pro-Santa side, one guy waved his arm and thrust his finger at her, "Your parents were taking Santa's job away from him! They need to just let him do his work!"

Anti-Santas: "What, you really think he goes all the way around the world in one night? You think he could actually eat that many cookies and drink that much milk?"

"Dude! I was there! At the North Pole! I pulled his beard!"

Back to the anti-Santas. The big, gruff man bellowed. "There is no Santa!"

"How do you know?"

He glowered at him. "I wrote a book!"

"What's it called?"

He thought for a moment. And said, "Santa's a Dick."

When asked if this book could be purchased on Amazon or in any bookstore he said no, but for $34 he'd send you one.

Flip later convinced them that they were world-renowned hypnotists. Basically, they were addressing a huge forum about the use of hypnotism for good. They could improve the quality of the lives of Americans by giving them relaxation techniques. And they all thought he was a phony. When he counted down from three, they were real hypnotists, and had nothing but contempt for him. 3...2...1

They opened their eyes and sneered at him. They were asked to come up to the microphone and share their secrets.

The uptight blonde gave him an utterly disdainful look and said, "I'm not in it for self-promotion."

One young, enthusiastic guy said, "Here's how you get people to relax. The word is 'pickles'"


"Yes, you just say it over and over. Pickles."

A few of the other people on stage gave this some obvious thought, slowly nodding their heads in agreement. One woman added thoughtfully, "Or turtles. Turtles would work."

Others nodded in agreement. "Turtles. Sure."

This tough looking, shaved head guy looked around, got up, and said, "You know what works really well? 'Fuck.' You just say that over and over. It's a short word, feels good to say. Fuck. Everyone likes to do it, too. What's more fun than that? Makes you feel good, relaxes you. Fuck. Just keep saying it. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck."

Enthusiasm all around. "Hey, yeah. That's a good one! I bet that works really well."

The uptight blonde? She looked at him very sternly, shook her head and said, "Oh, that would never work in elementary school."


  1. When you own them (or are friends with the owner) you can call them elves, or anything else you want...
    (anyone who grew up in Cincinnati will probably appreciate this link)

  2. whoops.. that link didn't come out right.

    Elves link

  3. vvk: Thanks for the link. I grew up just outside of Cincinnati and I remember going to see the elves at Shillitos and the model trains somewhere in downtown, goo. We used to go see Santa (his helper as my mother explained), at Western Hills each year.

    Lisa: Sounds like a fun date! What a great story.

  4. Well done. I was laughing so hard I had to read it in small sections- I couldn't catch my breath.

    I've seen the show and this is a great description.

  5. Well done! Very funny post! I've seen a few hypnotists in my day, and always think they're a riot. And comedy is almost always good on a date. What base did he get to?

  6. dcup: The local power company (CG&E, then Cinergy, now Duke Energy) does the train display in the lobby of their office building down town. They still do that.

    I'm still amazed that Federated (owners of Shillitos / Lazuras / Macys) didn't want anything to do with the elves after they knocked down their building and built a new one in the '90's. Those elves are a huge area tradition.

    Oh well... if they'd kept them, my friend wouldn't have been able to rope me into spending many many hours of my time helping with them. :-P

  7. VVK - Thanks! That was a very fun article to read. And how cool that your friend has them and you're working on them!

    DCup - Thanks! I love that you know about the elves VVK talked about and they were part of your childhood. This is one of the things I think it so cool about the internet. Not to sound corny, but I do feel like it's such an amazing tool to make connections you wouldn't otherwise make.

    Pagan - Thanks! I cannot remember the last time I laughed that hard. I would recommend this show to anyone!

    2x4 - I'm not kissing and telling. But it was a fantastic date and he's absolutely lovely!

  8. Hurray for a fun date!!

  9. Thank you! It was! I've held off on the blogging so far so as not to jinx it...

  10. Flip Orley is awesome. I saw him several years ago, and I think my favorite part was when he made the people on stage think a hand was coming out of their chairs to goose them.

  11. That goosing part was hilarious! A friend of mine has never been and after hearing me talk about really wants to go next week. And she wants me to get up on stage. I am thinking about it...


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