Not all hypnosis is about bad habits. Hypnosis can be healing and it can also be hilarious. Stage hypnotists can free volunteers from their usual self-conscious states and allow them to act quite the fool, if they agree to it.
On Friday, July 17, Today Show anchors Al Roker, Ellie Kemper, and Natalie Morales were hypnotized on live TV by Richard Barker, a former British policeman trying to debunk misconceptions of hypnosis.
“What we’re going to do is demonstrate the power of the mind and the power of suggestion,” Barker told Roker, Morales, and Kemper before the session began.
The hypnotist explained that there was no way to get stuck in hypnosis.
The hypnotist sat Today Show anchors in chairs and instructed them to place their hands in their laps and rest their feet firmly on the floor. He then guided them into a deep guided meditation.
Once in a relaxed state, Barker suggested that the anchors were goldfish swimming in water. He then had them believe they were melting in a very hot room.
The hypnotist then began to play with the hosts. He told Natalie Morales what a good idea it would be to steal Al Roker’s shoes. The anchor immediately unlaced a shoe and slipped it off the entranced man’s feet.
“I don’t remember taking [Roker’s shoe] off, but I remember that there was something hard to do, because your leg is heavy,” Morales later explained.
Barker suggested to Roker, the weatherman, that he would howl like a werewolf whenever he heard the word weather.
After the session was over, the weather anchor joked about why he was so easily hypnotizable.
“It’s been a long week,” he joked. “At one point I remember being here and there’s another point where I don’t remember being here.”
Barker’s only failed attempt was to get Ellie Kemper believe that a bowl of her favorite ice cream tasted like an ashtray.
“It was just delectable,” Kemper said after the show.