Many a punter walks away from a Derren Brown show with their mind blown. 14-year-old, Alfie Hawes, came away with two broken bones in his forearm.
An industrious magician in his own right, young Master Hawes, was attending a show at Southend’s Cliffs Pavilion when he tripped while returning to his seat during the intermission.
“I had been trying to get to the stage to write a question that are put in sealed envelopes for Derren to guess what was written on them in the second half,” he told the local press. “I was walking back up the stairs and fell and hit my wrist on the step.”
While he shrugged off breaking his arm like a true performer, Hayes was disappointed he didn’t get to see the second half of Brown’s show. Fortunately for the plucky young lad, his parents managed to snag some complimentary tickets for the following day.
This time Hayes managed to get through the whole performance with his limbs intact, and even got to meet Brown after the show.
“I don’t think Derren understood how young I was because when he saw me he said ‘Oh my God’.I think he thought I was 16 or something.”
“He was lovely, really lovely. I have spoken to other magicians about him. They have said he is one of the loveliest men and he was.”
Vice News has uploaded a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it interview with “British psychological illusionist,” Derren Brown, that originally aired on HBO late last month.
The interview mostly concerns Brown’s “vices,” which as the headline of this piece implies, include taxidermy, gourmet coffee, and romantic encounters with other men. I’m not sure I’d call being gay a, “vice,” per-se, but it seems Brown once thought of it as such: He underwent gay conversion therapy during his youth.
It didn’t take. Brown is now a committed atheist as well as a proud homosexual.
It seems obnoxious now that Brown’s experience with conversion therapy has influenced his career, a large portion of which he’s spent railing against the use of psychological manipulation and “magic,” for anything beyond entertainment.
“A magic trick of any sort works because you tell yourself a story about what you see,” he says. “And politicians use this all the time in their own way by throwing a load of statistics at you when things don’t quite follow and then saying, ‘So therefore blah,’ and you believe that ‘blah’ thing because of the confusion that’s come before.”
“If you do magic,” he adds, “it’s the quickest most fraudulent route to impressing people.”
My show ‘Miracle’ drops on Netflix on June 22nd. It’s about the present moment, the stories we live by, and debunks faith healing along with the way. I never thought it would work and it ended up being the most extraordinary touring experience I’ve had. Trailer: pic.twitter.com/d3PlpBYkAW
— Derren Brown (@DerrenBrown) June 14, 2018
It seems like every time someone brings up an upcoming Derren Brown TV special I find myself muttering, “Hasn’t that been out for ages?” and doing a quick Google search. The answer is usually, yes, yes it has. It seems like whatever deal Brown has with British TV channel, Channel 4 (we are not imaginative people by nature), often means you burger goblins have to wait a good couple of years to see those specials.
So it gives me no small amount of pleasure to tell you that while I didn’t see Miracle literally years ago, I definitely could have. Sadly, that feeling of superiority is fleeting, as Miracle will soon be available to your lot via the streaming magic of Netflix. It’ll be available in North America on June 22nd, to be exact.
Miracle contains all of the cool-but-unnerving-and-probably-not-entirely-ethical illusions Brown is known for, with an interesting twist. In a bid to discredit faith-healing, Brown attempts to trick members of the audience into believing their bodies have undergone some kind of supernatural change thanks to his admittedly impressive mastery of mentalism and illusion.
It’s a great starting point for talking about the neurological phenomena that allow faith healing, and indeed performance magic to work. Our brains control our bodies in ways we’re not aware of, and in ways modern science barely comprehends. To debunk faith healing (a noble aim indeed), Brown really shows us how and why it appears to work.
That being said, tricking people into committing attempted murder is probably funnier.
Every time I watch Derren Brown’s act, all I can think is that it must be overwhelming and probably terrifying to be the unwitting participant in his mind games. (The Push? Hell to the no.) Turns out, my impression isn’t that far off.
Richard Critchlow was the subject of a wildly elaborate stunt by the envelope-pushing mentalist for his Trick or Treat television show back in 2007. He was put into a trance in a phone booth in the UK, but when Critchlow came to, he stumbled out of the booth and onto the streets of Morocco. Now, more than a decade later, Critchlow has penned an essay about the experience for The Huffington Post.
His account feels partly like an episode of Twin Peaks with a healthy dash of Punked. “All I remember is 1,000 things going through my head and that I was scared,” Critchlow said of his realization that he had been transported thousands of miles away. No crap. This is one you really have to read for yourself. Tl;dr – anything could happen if you sign on to work with Brown. Anything.
Most of us will, at point in our lives, have heard some variation of phrase, “So if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?”, usually from some kind of authority figure. It was a personal favorite of my mum. So common in, fact, that I took to sarcastically responding with, “yes. If all my friends jumped first, I’ll have a soft landing.” Don’t be a clever clogs, kids, it’s never worth it.
— Megyn Kelly TODAY (@MegynTODAY) March 21, 2018
Of course, as an adult I realize that my deliberately stupid answer isn’t that far from the truth. There’s mountains of studies suggesting that not only are most people incredible prone to succumbing to social pressure, they’re actually very good at picking up behavioral cues subconsciously. It’s an interesting phenomena that can have some funny effects, as English illusionist and mentalist, Derren Brown, proves in the video above.
Brown’s appearance on The Megyn Kelly Show was to promote the recent US release of Derren Brown: The Push on Netflix. Originally released as Pushed to the Edge in the UK back in 2016, the show demonstrates how an ordinary person could potentially be manipulated into committing murder.
Derren Brown, possibly the most unsettling mentalist currently on the magic circuit, paid a visit to The Late Late Show with James Corden last week. The usually affable Corden may have regretted the choice of guest when Brown asked him to put a shard of a broken light bulb on his tongue and then eat it. Corden managed to eat the glass fragment with understandable amounts of trepidation and coaching from Brown.
“What’s going on?!?!” Corden yells at one point. Took the words right out of my mouth, James.
If you want more of this decidedly unnerving approach to mind games, then check out Brown’s special The Push, which recently became available on Netflix. And then you’ll need some patience, because he’s got another Netflix project still in the works.
The premise behind “psychological illusionist” Derren Brown‘s upcoming Netflix special, “The Push” is very simple: is it possible to manipulate an ordinary person into committing murder? Here’s the Netflix description:
In The Push, Brown exposes the psychological secrets of obedience and social compliance. He expertly lifts the lid on the terrifying truth that, when confronted with authority, our natural instinct is to unflinchingly obey without question – to such an extent that even the most moral people can be made to commit the most horrendous acts, simply because they are told to do so.
From a strictly sociological/psychological viewpoint, that’s fascinating stuff, and certainly valuable in our current political clime. But what about the poor guy who’s not in on the scheme? If he does, indeed, go through with the faux murder, how will he be viewed by his friends, family, future employers? How will he view himself?
Of course, Derren Brown isn’t just some shmuck out to go viral, so one has to assume all of that has been taken into consideration. Hopefully the special will answer those questions when it comes to Netflix on February 27.
Derren Brown has been known to push the envelope with his shows, and it seems that his new production with Netflix will be no different. The team is keeping most of the information under wraps, but a Deadline reporter is sharing that the new special for the streaming service is just as “daring” and “jaw-dropping” as his earlier efforts. And, as the man himself tweeted, filming on the project is now complete.
Sadly, that veil of secrecy extends to a release date for the as-yet-unnamed project. But we do have one tidbit of Brown’s scheduling information. When the news of his Netflix project first broke, it was also announced that the streaming video service would get the rights to show two of Brown’s other specials. Derren Brown: The Push will arrive on Netflix on February 27. No date yet for his other work, Derren Brown: Miracle, which has also been confirmed for Netflix availability.
Brown has recently been touring the UK with a live show called Derren Brown: Underground, but Netflix isn’t his only upcoming stateside appearance. His mind-reading and psychological illusion show, Derren Brown: Secret, is due to land in New York later in 2018 before going on a nationwide tour in 2019.
Mentalist Derren Brown is currently touring the UK with an encore performance of Underground, a collection of his best routines from over 15 years of magic. In an interview with the Hull Daily Mail, Brown also confirmed that he’s currently working on a brand new television special, exclusively for Netflix.
When asked if Brown was working on a new special, Brown responded:
Yes – for Netflix. They are showing Miracle and The Push – two of my [British television network Channel 4] shows – and right now I am making a brand new special for them. That’s been another interesting change – away from terrestrial TV into quite a different world. Channel 4 have been wonderful to me over the years and I hope we’ll do more together in the future: at the moment this is very exciting, too.
With this, Netflix appears to be making a larger push into the realm of illusion, previously greenlighting a project starring Justin Willman to air sometime in 2018. No word on what Brown’s special will be called or when it will air, but magic fans with a Netflix subscription should have another reason to get excited shortly. For more from the interview, including his thoughts on performing his greatest hits, and his thoughts on the current state of magic, head over to the Hull Daily Mail.