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James R. Zingelman, better known by his stage name Rusty Z, is, in fact, a clinical hypnotherapist, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be helping anybody quit smoking at his show tonight. He may, however, convince you that you can speak Martian.

“I’ve always been interested in it, since I was a kid,” says the beret-wearing comedian, whose stage aesthetic is unabashedly hep-cat, replete with groovy, psychedelic spiral lights. “So I went to hypnotherapy school, and that was easy to transfer to the stage. I basically just wanted something else to do with my act.” What results is a show that is literally mesmerizing — at least for the audience participants (whom he selects with a short screening process before the show: “You gotta want to be hypnotized for it to work,” he explains). For everyone else, “it’s a party. It’s like a big Amway meeting where people get hypnotized.”

The Denver native comes up from his current home in Albuquerque for performances tonight, tomorrow and Sunday at Comedy Works South, 5345 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village. For more information, call 720-274-6800 or visit
Jan. 12-13, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 16, 7:30 p.m., 2011


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