Reading minds: Sean Bott entertains and connects with students

Alan Fearns/Sun Star Reporter
October 23, 2012

A student reads Bott’s closing letter to the audience. Oct. 19, 2012. Alan Fearns/Sun Star Reporter.

The Hess Recreation Center was filled with laughter last Friday, when mentalist Sean Bott, performed a show that blended comedy and magic tricks. Bott interacted with many students by posing thoughtful questions that he would then find the answers to.

Bott started working as a kid’s entertainer, followed by a year-long stint as a mind-reading stripper.

“There were way too many paper cuts doing that,” Bott said.

Bott trained under 20 different mentors, where he developed his knack for stand-up mentalism.  Friday evening, he opened the show with an ice-breaker called “The Lucky Lady Lotto of Love.” He asked the audience to think of a random number from 1 to 100 and “hoot” when they had it.  Then Bott pulled an envelope out of his pocket, and announced that in the envelope was a number that chose who Bott connected with that night.

“Its going to be a fantastic, fun, cute, flirty moment,” Bott said. “I like that you look sad when I say that.”

Bott asked several students what their number was, until he reached Kirill Frusin. Bott gave Frusin a love letter about their connection with the number 57.

“This is awkward Kirill, very awkward,” Bott said.

Bott then turned over a poster board that had been on the stage that described the appearance of Frusin and his friend seated in the audience.

After the show, Bott explained a little more about his opening act.

“I jotted down a target number for the kind of person I’m hoping will be picked.  Its not a surefire thing, so its a risky way to open the show,” Bott said. “It can backfire horribly, but that’s why there is a thrill in performing.”

The pace picked up when four students were called on stage to write down the answers to various questions in a large notepad.  The first student wrote down of the name of the person who meant the most to him.

The next students wrote down the name of a favorite location, movie and a number from 1 to 10,000.  The final student, freshman Meaghan Byman, tore the page out and put it in her back pocket.

Bott pulled out another poster to board and asked the first student to introduce himself.  Provided with this information, Bott wrote the name “Harry” on the board.  He then asked the student to say the name of the person who he was thinking of out loud, which was in fact “Harry.”

Bott went on to find the three other student’s answers.  Kyle Kruger, who had his favorite location guessed, was impressed by Bott’s talent.

“Blew my mind, but the problem was somehow I guess I got nervous and spoke in the language.  Berlin is a big city, so its kind of an obvious guess,” Kruger said.

In the final act, students threw around a red toy monkey to decide who would answer Bott’s dream vacation questionnaire.

With the combination of responses, Bott pulled a thank you letter out of his coat that a student read to the audience.  The letter described the exact responses that the students had given.

After the show many students waited around to speak with Bott and ask him about how he read minds.  He made a few more performances with the students, bending quarters and other mental trickery.  He was very approachable, speaking with everyone that wanted to ask him questions.

“If it’s surefire stuff, I’m not interested in it,” Bott said. “There has to be an element of finesse and an element of skill. I get more fulfillment out of doing things that aren’t 100 percent.”

Making a living off what he loves while meeting new people is what inspires Bott to perform.

“Everyday is completely different from the last one.  I could be in New York performing for a bunch of lawyers in a corporate setting, or I could find myself in Fairbanks, Alaska,” Bott said. “It’s exciting and beats the hell out of sitting at a desk from nine to five.”

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