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TO SEPTEMBER 27

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I’m not sure when comic hypnotist Flip Orley first had me sold. Maybe when a frat-boy volunteer announced that Smurfs were locked inside his watch and crying out for help. Or when all eight successfully hypnotized volunteers were convinced that Orley himself was buck naked and sporting a three-foot long penis. (“Do you have a girlfriend?” Jossy, a University of Maryland student asked him. “Why do you think I learned hypnosis?” Orley rejoined to the crowd.) Originally skeptical of how entertaining hypnosis could be, I had bought the schtick by the time Orley transformed the eight into inbred Mississippi trailer trash chomping at the bit to tell all to Ricki Lake. Orley himself, a slyly mild-mannered, 37-year-old Louisiana resident, refuses to upstage the true comedians on stage, offering only quick asides while we laugh both with and at his hapless hypnotics. His interest in unleashing the powers of the mind was sparked by a sixth-grade-era purchase of How to Pick Up Girls Through Hypnotism; it’s to D.C.’s benefit that Orley’s moved on from his original goal. Thanks to the snowflakelike nature of our individual psyches, each show is markedly different, so if you end up digging his odd career be sure to go again—Orley spends about six weeks a year here. At 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday, Sept. 25 & 26, and 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, at the Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. $12-15. (202) 296-7008. (Jake Tapper)