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.
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