If you're not familiar with the magician Derren Brown, here's a quick rundown: He's played Russian roulette live on TV, predicted the national lottery in Britain, and been banned from most U.K. casinos.
"I'm a British psychological illusionist, which is a term I made up, but I do these kind of mind-reading and psychological experiments. There's nothing magical about it at all," says Brown.
What is magic, he says, is how his work is a useful metaphor for daily human interactions.
"A magic trick of any sort works because you tell yourself a story about what you see," says Brown. "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."
He added, "If you do magic, it's the quickest most fraudulent route to impressing people."
We also took a quick route, fraudulent to impress him, surrounding him with his favorite things — coffee, an old fashioned cocktail, and taxidermies — while he spilt the beans on his personal life, including his experience going through gay conversion therapy.
This segment originally aired June 25, 2018, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.