Since the ‘90s, Frank Santos Jr. has been using hypnosis to entertain audiences while having them become part of his show. Along with performing in numerous theaters across the country, …
Since the ‘90s, Frank Santos Jr. has been using hypnosis to entertain audiences while having them become part of his show. Along with performing in numerous theaters across the country, he’s also done corporate gigs for the likes of Google, Nike, CVS and even that old company Blockbuster folks used to rent movies from. He’s also been featured on ABC numerous times while doing clinical hypnosis as well. On April 15 at the Park Theatre on 848 Park Avenue in Cranston, Santos will be hypnotizing people to do some weird and crazy things. The show starts at 8pm and it’s R-rated so leave the kids at home if you’re a parent who’s looking to attend.
We had a talk ahead of the gig about how he structures his show, switching things up on the fly, an unforgettable moment during a show in Maine and what people can expect when they show up.
Rob Duguay: As a hypnotist, there are two sides to your craft with one being your comedy show and the other more serious side being clinical hypnosis. For your comedy show, how do you go about forming the structure for it? Do you kind of have a skeleton for the show’s structure and then you let the audience members kind of add to it during the show?
Frank Santos Jr.: You’re exactly correct. I have a set thing in my head that I will do, and then those certain routines dictate the way the show goes. I get volunteers, hopefully more than I need, and then I’ll do a series of little tests and it gets fun. You wouldn’t be able to tell unless you’re me, but those tests dictate the way the show will go. When I do my R-rated show, I’ll do something more r-rated with a certain person so I can read them very well.
When I do clean shows, the people that I think are more hypnotized or more outgoing I’ll use more. The bigger routines go to them while other people get easier ones.
RD: When it comes to the material you use for both the clean show and the R-rated show, how do you go about curating it? It’s kind of like a musician with a setlist where both shows are different, but how often do you change each show up?
FS: I do have set routines, but I can ad lib to them. I can change them up on the fly, but it depends on who is on stage with me and how well they’re hypnotized. That’s when it comes to the adult style shows, with the clean shows I pretty much do a set list because I have to be crystal clean. There’s not much ad libbing, there’s a little bit but not much. With an R-rated show, if someone says something or something happens that’s funny I can really go with it.
There are set routines that I do, but I do change them up so I don’t go back to the same place over and over again.
RD: That makes sense. For clinical hypnosis, it usually focuses on either quitting smoking or eating healthier. How successful would you say this therapy is? Do you ever get people coming back to you to get re-hypnotized because they've fallen off from what they were aiming to accomplish?
FS: That side is great, I do it just to help people. I have an office and the people who do come in pretty much just pay the bills there, I don’t do it to make any money. I don’t usually have any repeats, I do sometimes with healthier eating because they go down a different path. People will come to me because they want to exercise more, they want to eat healthy and they want to make better decisions. I’ll do what they need, I’ll even make a recording of the hypnosis so they can listen to it whenever they want.
The people who come back to be hypnotized again come back because they went down a different path, like they never had a sweet tooth and now they have a sweet tooth. For quitting smoking, they come in for three sessions, they never come back and they stay a non-smoker. I have a 100% success rate with people who come in to quit smoking.
RD: That’s great, congratulations on that. What would you say is your favorite moment of hypnotizing someone during your comedy show?
FS: For my R-rated show, I do a routine where I tell a person that his “manhood” sings to him and it sings the Billy Squier song “The Stroke”. What happened was I did a show one time in Maine at this place with a round stage, it was this dance floor that was up high like a boxing ring and everyone sat around it. This guy was facing my backside and he proceeded to do that song in his pants, if you get what I’m trying to say.
RD: Yeah, I can see that being an unforgettable moment.
FS: The crowd was going crazy and I tried to ignore him and as they went crazier I turned around to see what was happening. Once I saw what was going on I was like “Oh no! You can’t be doing that!”. That never happened before, it hasn’t happened since and that was around 15 years ago and I’ve been doing shows now for over 30 years.
FS: Every show is different, but the best thing about it is that I’ll hear about a high school friend of someone I hypnotized being the quietest person. After being part of the show, they’re very outgoing and very happy. They finally had the excuse to be the person they wanted to be and they ended up staying that way.
RD: It’s cool that you get to bring people out of their shell. For anyone who hasn't seen you perform before and they're thinking of seeing you at the Park Theatre, what can they expect?
FS: It’s a lot of fun. It’s always better if you know who’s on stage, so I suggest coming with a large group. It’s always great when someone volunteers out of a group of people because it makes the show that much better. I never know what to expect on stage and you never know what to expect either, everyone’s different and it’s almost like it’s improv going on the entire time. You never know what direction the show is gonna go in, what someone is gonna say or what someone is gonna do.
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