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Friday

Most comedians mess with your head. Flip Orley does, too—the difference is that he does it literally. Orley is a comedian and hypnotist who gets inside the skulls of audience members and, once in charge, runs amok like the Cat in the Hat. Gathering volunteers onstage, he commands them as if they were Barbie dolls, wringing big laughs from making full-grown, free-will adults act as impulsively and openly as children. Although Orley declares that he never intends to embarrass anyone, it’s impossible not to guffaw as poor, inexplicably uninhibited souls struggle to remember their names or react to the imaginary outrages and absurd scenarios that he impishly presents. But here is a case where you can laugh both at and with others—after all, Orley’s subjects agree to become the butt of the jokes. Be aware, however: Although Orley initially trains his hypno-rays at the willing folks on the stage, quite often viewers in the seats fall under his spell. Relax your mind and float upstream at 8 and 10:30 p.m. at the Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. $17. (202) 296-7008. (Dave Nuttycombe)