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Where There's Smoke...

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As long as Rich Guzzi is around, Ohio doesn’t need its new no-smoking law. The L.A. comic is in the middle of a 100-city campaign to hypnotize 100,000 smokers into kicking the habit. And for the cost of a carton of cigarettes, Guzzi insists he can put anyone under his spell at his Hilarities appearances today and tomorrow. “I have to work in smoky rooms every night,” he says. “I don’t smoke, I’m allergic to smoke, and my sinuses are always shot.”

A self-taught hypnotist since he was 12, Guzzi says his act was inspired by his dad, who died of lung cancer at age 50. But he doesn’t blame smokers for lighting up. “If you have a cup of coffee, you have a cigarette,” says Guzzi, who’s planning a similar campaign against the fast-food industry after he hits the 100,000-smoker mark. “If you’re taking a break from work, you have a cigarette. You just had great sex, so you have a cigarette. You’re basically hypnotizing yourself into thinking smoking is a pleasurable experience.”

Tomorrow night, Guzzi pulls double-duty as hypnotist and matchmaker. After the cig-busting part of his show, he’ll make love connections for audience members during a “hypnotic hookups” session. But be prepared for a little dirty talk. “If you’re easily offended, don’t come,” says Guzzi. “If you want to see something wild and outrageous, this is the place to be.”
Sun., Jan. 7, 2-5 p.m.; Mon., Jan. 8, 8 p.m.

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