world's funniest hypnotic show

8pm nightly 2770 Old Lake Wilson Rd. Kissimme, FL 34747

direct from the strip in las vegas

Billboards
showBiz

"For all your hypnotic needs, this is the guy
to see!"
- David Letterman

showBiz

"Audiences are in for an unbelievable, high-energy extravaganza unlike any stage show in las vegas."
- showbiz weekly

whatsON

"Marshall is the
Greatest Hypnotist
I have ever seen!"
- Howard Stern


most televised hypnotist of all time

5 times on david letterman
5 times on the howard stern show
5 times on montel williams
5 times on the late show
donny deutsch's big idea
dozens of others

Marshall Sylver's 5 appearances
on David Letterman

"Dave vs. Dave" by Fred Schruer rollingstones

On a Friday evening in early April, as the Late Show is about to segue from what's called Act 1 (comprising the monologue and a comedy bit) to Act 2 (the Top 10 list, followed by the first guest), some marvelous grotesquerie is about to erupt on the set. In a taped segment, hypnotist Marshall Sylver puts various staffers under.

Biff Henderson, the cherubically pudgy and balding stage manager often exploited in Late Show skits, is induced to perform an alarming Madonna impersonation, complete with bleeped-out profanities, then is coached in the absurdity of Dave's big paycheck. Asked if Dave is worth the money, Biff snorts and tee-hees helplessly. This has all been seen on videotape, but now onstage, Letterman, reminded that Biff can be put under with one command, can't resist dimming Biff's lights just before reading the Top 10 list. "Sleeeeep," says Dave, and Biff lists sideways, jarring the camera. When Dave repeats it, Biff steps up ("like a punch-drunk boxer," Burnett will note) and slumps into the first guest's chair in a trancelike sleep. Either that, we can see the suddenly-not-chuckling Letterman thinking, or he's dead.

As Letterman says later, "I thought, 'Oh, well, you're screwing around, his liver has exploded, and you're looking at a dead man here.'" Upstairs in the seventh-floor offices, a staffer vaults into the room saying, "Biff's really out! And Dave's really scared!" In the editing room, images from several cameras bounce around amid near-panicky chatter: "Add a minute twenty to the break!...Are we gonna can the top 10?... Get Sylver on the phone in Vegas!" Letterman, staring out toward Burnett at the producer's podium, looks thoroughly rattled as he takes Biff's pulse. "People will look at it," Letterman says now, "and say, 'Was he kidding? Was he pretending to be out? But I'm telling you, during the commercial that we extended, it must have been like five minutes, he didn't move nothin'. Didn't blink, didn't breathe hard -- nothing," Letterman's all-pro sang-froid coming out of the break is as startling as what went before.

He tells the audience, "Biff, like many of our staff members, enjoys a nice nap during the show," then takes Sylver's call. When the thoroughly showbizzy Sylver tells Dave he's lucky to catch him between shows in Vegas, Dave needles him ("We have a medical emergency, but I'm glad things are going well for you there in Vegas") and wakes Biff up per instructions. At his best, Letterman celebrates chaos. Would he rather have a row of solid, topical, witty guests, or does he prefer the giddy feeling you get near the edge of the cliff, when Madonna starts spewing profanities, a dog craps on the stage or Biff suddenly sleeps? "You always would rather have something haywire," says Letterman. "You can only do the perfect show, you know, 80 times, and then you realize, 'Yeah, it's perfect, but something unpleasant and ugly and sloppy is more memorable.'

I think that our track record is about 50-50, where we can get something out of it. So you do run a risk there. But it's hard to orchestrate anarchy every night." "That hypnosis show was different, it was totally out there," says Bill Carter, who wrote the Letterman-Leno history The Late Shift while on his Times TV beat, then co-wrote the HBO movie (which Letterman richly despised). "Maybe they need to do stuff like that. That's what got them a reputation years ago."
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