Hypnotist Tom Deluca returns to GV

GVL/ Archive
Hypnotist Tom DeLuca shows his talents on stage.

GVL/ Archive Hypnotist Tom DeLuca shows his talents on stage.

Nate Smith

The word hypnotist often conjures imagery of spirals, strange moustaches and overall imposing figures. Tom Deluca is a person that not only challenges such tropes, but also manages to keep his audience smiling while he does it.

On Dec. 5, Tom Deluca will be performing at the Fieldhouse Arena for what will be his thirtieth performance at Grand Valley State University.

In a telephone interview he talked about one of his favorite moments visiting GVSU.

“I can remember this guy about four years ago on stage in that gym….who was so miraculously funny,” Deluca said. “I turned him into a cheerleader for Grand Valley. He had such a spontaneous and creative personality.”

Deluca’s show mainly focuses on creativity, a stark difference between his act and the clichéd ‘act like a chicken’ routine utilized by many other hypnotists.

In his performances, Deluca focuses on volunteers themselves instead of what he can make them do. This changes the dynamic of his shows from that of potential embarrassment to one of creativity and discovery. This approach means that the success of the show depends on the volunteers selected.

“Thank goodness we always seem to get a good group of people on stage,” Deluca said. “Bringing those personalities out separates the show from ‘okay, that was kind of interesting for 20 minutes’ to a really interesting exercise in seeing people’s imaginations and creativity.”

Deluca has honed his craft for more than 30 years. He began his career as a hypnotist by working under a psychologist while attaining a master’s in psychology at the University of Illinois. Deluca paid for his schooling by hypnotizing people to help them lose weight, quit smoking and things of the like.

“I got a lot of one on one experience in that time and I’m really glad I did,” Deluca said. “I really knew what I was doing. I wasn’t just some person who just picked up. I just got an email a couple days ago from a woman that asked ‘Are you Tom Deluca from Decatur? I lost a lot of pounds with you a long time ago.’”

Deluca has come a long way from his humble beginnings performing on Wednesday nights at the local Sheridan Inn. Since then he has gone on to do thousands of shows in front of diverse audiences. Deluca believes the wide array of things he’s experienced over the years helps him keep his act fresh and flexible.

“I have to change with the way people change,” Deluca said. “The trick is sometimes you do it right, sometimes you don’t do it right. The trick is figuring out which person is going to be best for which routine.”

While touring the country, Deluca has had to be flexible in many more matters besides his routine. Traveling the country alone and on a consistent basis can be strenuous for anyone. However, Deluca has met the challenge – even going further and developing techniques for others to meet the challenge as well.

“I actually trademarked the term ‘Power napping,’” Deluca said. “When you’re traveling and you’re not getting a lot of sleep, naps are fabulous. If I wasn’t able to take naps, I couldn’t do the shows.”

Deluca gained a lot of notoriety for his “Power Napping for Less Stress Workshop,” even going on talk shows to spread awareness on the benefits of napping.

There are some things that napping couldn’t replace for Deluca while on the road.

“It can get very lonely on the road because you’re by yourself,” Deluca said. “There’s a lot of tension, but you have to adjust. You have to be able to put all of your energy into the show or else it isn’t going to be good.”

After performing for decades, there have been rumors of Deluca’s imminent retirement. While these rumors have been circulated for years, Deluca assures fans that he has no intention of doing anything of the like in the near future.

“NO. I don’t know why they say that. I don’t even know how that started.” Deluca said with a laugh. “No, I am not going anywhere.”

Deluca’s show starts at 8:30 p.m. and is free to attend. For more information, visit the GVSU events calendar.
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