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Derren Brown reduced man to tears after he tried to start fight

Mason Jones

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| Last updated 

Derren Brown reduced man to tears after he tried to start fight

Whether he's playing Russian roulette, predicting lottery numbers or convincing a bloke to kill off national treasure Stephen Fry, Derren Brown has carved out a career confusing the British public for the past two decades.

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It turns out that the hypnotist's mind control skills aren't strictly for the stage, either.

Fresh off a 155-date national tour, Brown told LADbible about his new show and how he once outmanoeuvred an angry fella so much that the would-be attacker ended up in tears while the illusionist decided whether or not to 'stick his feet to the floor'.

Brown said: "I had a weird confrontation in the street. It was about midnight in north Wales and a guy came up with his girlfriend, really drunk, really aggressive, trying to start a fight.

"In all those situations if someone says 'what you looking at?' or 'do you want a fight?' or whatever, there's no way of answering those questions without digging yourself deeper into this relationship that they've established.

Brown is back bewildering audiences with 'Showman'. Credit: Seamus Ryan
Brown is back bewildering audiences with 'Showman'. Credit: Seamus Ryan

"The key is to completely ignore what they're setting up and set up something yourself. So, I said to him 'the wall outside my house isn't four foot high' and now he's feeling like he's missed something because it makes sense as a statement but it doesn't make any sense in the situation.

"If somebody does that you don't automatically go 'why is that?' - you think you've missed something, you come a bit bewildered and you kind of become very suggestible.

"The idea was I was going to stick his feet to the floor or something and make my daring escape but he kind of paused and said 'what' and I said 'oh when I was in Spain the walls were huge but here they're tiny, the walls'.

"I'm kind of talking rubbish but it makes sense - it's just really out of context.

"He ended up properly breaking down - ended up in tears. He just had all this adrenaline looking to fight and it just had nowhere to go.

"Weirdly, I ended up sat with him on the curb talking about what had happened that evening. His girlfriend had bottled somebody or something they'd had a massive drunken argument."

While Brown doesn't recommend this technique for every situation, he does have a few tips for getting yourself out of trouble.

Credit: Seamus Ryan
Credit: Seamus Ryan

He told LADbible: "The key thing is to have something like that up your sleeve. It could be song lyrics. It needs to make sense in itself, just be really out of context so that you can just very comfortably slip into.

"Obviously if someone is running at you with a knife then you just need to run, but in terms of those things that are just weird kind of intimidation, those sorts of conflicts it's really helpful."

The magician said that simple techniques like these can be applied elsewhere, too.

Don't fancy a train buddy on your commute? Brown has you covered.

"It's like if you want to keep the seat next to you free on the train. If you put your bag there it's going to annoy people because that's what they do, so they're going to want you to move your bag.

"But if you pat the seat and nod and smile as they walk past, no one is going to want to sit next to you."

Brown's newest project, Showman, is bringing in the best reviews of his career and has now come off the road for a four-month stop at the West End's Apollo Theatre.

While he won't reveal much about what audiences can expect, he has said that they'll be a big part of the show and he'll be throwing frisbees into the crowd for random volunteers.

He also told LADbible what sort of audience member is his ideal subject when it comes to getting them involved.

Credit: Seamus Ryan
Credit: Seamus Ryan

He said: "I just have to work with whatever I get. I want someone to be highly suggestible - and I can normally tell that by the time they've reached the stage - but equally, sometimes if someone's trying to catch you out all the time that makes them far more predictable.

"If you ask someone 'think of a letter of the alphabet' and if they're not trying to catch you out there's a one in 26 chance of getting it.

"If they're trying to catch you out - you know they're going to go 'Q' or 'Z' so it's a lot easier. Sometimes when they're trying to be difficult they follow much more predictable patterns so that can be helpful too.

"There is a certain kind of openness and readiness, a certain look in the eye that I know is generally going to be helpful - it's also part of what keeps the show fresh and specific and not just something I'm repeating every night. Part of that is me being on my toes and having to adapt what I'm doing."

For Showman, Brown is asking each audience member to bring a small sentimental item with them that they can hold in their hand during the performance.

He also noted how the show ties in with the pandemic and the lockdowns that came from it.

Brown said: "I do keep the show's content a secret but it's a personal show, it's a lot more of an emotional thing than previous shows that I've done. It has a proper heart to it.

"The idea behind the show was that the things in life that are most difficult are precisely the thing that we share and the things that really bring us together.

"Weirdly, the show was written about that and was due to go out on the first day of the first lockdown and then of course that whole idea gets played out.

"The things that are isolating us are the things that we're all sharing. It's sort of ended up being quite a well-timed thing."

Showman is at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Ave, from December 9 2022 – March 18 2023 with seven performances each week

Featured Image Credit: Seamus Ryan London Entertainment/Alamy

Topics: Celebrity, Channel 4, Hacks

Mason Jones
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