In Double Take, Chris Jones Uses Hypnotism to Shake Up the Prank Show Format

Comedian and hypnotist Chris Jones is host of Double Take, a prank show with a twist premiering on Facebook Watch on October 24. America’s Got Talent viewers will recall Jones hypnotizing Howie Mandel, even getting the germaphobe to shake hands with his fellow judges; he’ll also be on hand for the Cynopsis Model D Awards in NYC on November 9. Jones tells Cynopsis what to expect from his new show – and what it was like to work with his partner in pranks, exec producer John Cena.

Cynopsis: Congrats on Double Take. What can we expect from the first season?

Chris Jones: In each episode, I conspire with a different celebrity to give one of their adoring fans the surprise of a lifetime: meeting their idol … but they are hypnotized and unable to recognize them. There are no disguises – hypnosis is enough. When under hypnosis, the celebrity appears as just another person. You will see John Cena posing as a baker, Adam Rippon as a mean director and NeNe Leakes as a nosy furniture salesperson-amongst others. I mean- in what other universe could these things happen?! Each episode will truly make you laugh and cry- which I am very proud of.

Cynopsis: John Cena is an executive producer on Double Take. What was it like working with him?

Jones: Working with John Cena was a dream. The fact that he believes in me personally means so much – working with him for our first episode of Double Take was nervewracking, but he truly is the nicest guy. Cena was a hypnosis skeptic, so the fact that he is now a believer says it all.

Cynopsis: In every episode of Double Take, you hypnotize an unknowing superfan. Did that get any easier as the season went on?

Jones: Absolutely not! I met each superfan for the first time on set of Double Take that day and had to immediately create a bond with them so they would trust me, in the same way that I do in my live shows. In my live shows, I have endless time to bond with my participants and about 10% of an audience will be hypnotized – and with hundreds of people in my audience, it isn’t difficult.

With each episode of Double Take, I had one shot to get it right. That was a lot of pressure but when you see these superfans meet their idol for the “first time” once they come out of the hypnosis, it made it all worth it.

Cynopsis: How did you become a hypnotist? How do you even find yourself in a profession like that? 

Jones: It’s actually a pretty normal story. I was getting my Masters and had a lot of free time on my hands. I started studying hypnosis because it intrigued me and I quickly realized that I could leverage my personal passion of making people laugh into a profession. People tend to think that hypnosis is a skill you are born with, when in reality it’s a learned skill that just requires a lot of practice. I have been honing my craft for over eight years.

Hypnosis isn’t magic – there is no smoke and mirrors. It is a true psychological process. I like to relate it to meditation. On Double Take, everything you see in the show is 100% real – no tricks.

Cynopsis: So Double Take the perfect project for you.

Jones: Double Take was truly the perfect fit for me just because of the fact that it is such a positive show – we truly gave our superfans the opportunity of a lifetime and what could be better than that?

Ultimately, I just want to have fun and make people laugh in the process. Being able to work with such a force in the digital industry like Facebook Watch, ITV America and John Cena made Double Take what it is – a beautifully shot show that I hope viewers will love as much as I do.

 

The Cynsiders column is a platform for industry leaders to reach out to colleagues, followers, and the public at large. In their own words and in targeted Q&As, columnists address breaking news, issues of the day, and the larger changes going on in the ever-evolving world of television, video and digital. Cynsiders columns live on Cynopsis’ main page and are promoted across all daily newsletters. We welcome readers’ comments, queries, and column ideas at Lynn@Cynopsis.com.

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