Cards Against Hypnosis: The Experience

Last Wednesday David Hall’s comedy hypnosis show, Cards Against Hypnosis, hit Tallahassee at the Moore Auditorium. While Hall may truly be the one pulling the strings of his audience volunteers via hypnosis, the true stars of the show were those under his spell. After bringing the volunteers on stage, Hall put them in a hypnotic state that lasted through the entire show. Like the popular game Cards Against Humanity, there were black cards with situations and different white cards with different endings to each situation. The only difference was that the situations and the audience choices were applied to the hypnotized volunteers. Below are three perspectives of the show: an audience member, a hypnotized volunteer, and the hypnotist himself.

The Hypnotist: David Hall

David Hall first got involved with hypnosis after studying it in college and then doing additional training in Las Vegas. But hypnosis isn’t exactly an easy thing to do. First, the subject must be willing to be hypnotized, otherwise, your mind will simply block out the hypnosis. Hall says, “The hardest part about hypnotizing someone is trying to get them to focus and relax. Once they can focus and relax they can become hypnotized.” Nevertheless, Hall achieves hypnosis over his audience members during the show.

Hypnosis and a popular card game aren’t usually linked together. When asked about how he got the idea to combine the two, Hall says “I came up with this idea as a way to engage the entire audience, as they get to choose what routines they would like to see. I wanted to come up with a way to allow the entire audience to participate not just the people on stage.” Hall also says that his favorite card is the one where the volunteers believe they won a million dollars. “It is my favorite every time because of how happy and excited they get.”

When asked about what he wanted his audience to take away from his show, Hall says, “I want the people on stage to be the stars of the show. I also want the audience to enjoy watching your friends become the stars of the show.”  


A Volunteer: Nichole Markvicka

After seeing the hypnotist show during the Seminole Sensation week, Nichole Markvicka knew she just had to go to Cards against Hypnosis. “I thought it was really cool and wanted to be in it instead of watching it this time.” Lucky for her, she was chosen to come up on stage, and she easily slipped into the hypnotic state. She had three favorite cards, one being Hall’s favorite million-dollar card and the other being the Beyoncé performance. The Beyoncé performance involved Hall convincing the volunteers that they were either meeting Beyoncé, that they were Beyoncé’s background dancers or, in one case, that they were actually Beyoncé.

Her other favorite card was the one where you see your favorite animal in the audience. However, Hall especially went up to her and did something unique; he told her that she would see her favorite celebrity in the audience. She ended up seeing Jim Carrey in the audience. When she realized that it was in fact not Jim Carrey but actually just an FSU student, she became super confused. Overall, Markvicka says she would do it again and describes the hypnotic state as being “Really relaxing, pretty much like you didn’t care about anything going on around you.”

An Audience Member: Me, Savannah Tindall

Coming to the show, I was a skeptic. I had never been to a hypnosis show and only knew about it through movies like Get Out, so it was always a thing of fantasy. As I watched Hall attempting to hypnotizing people, I began to see that it was a lot more than just make-believe. While I don’t think I believe all the way in hypnosis, and I certainly don’t think I would ever volunteer, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the show. For me, it wasn’t about whether or not the volunteers were actually in an altered state, but rather it was about the laughter and the idea of something slightly supernatural.