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Prepare to have your mind blown by mentalist Doug Segal

Prepare to have your mind blown by mentalist Doug Segal

Some mentalists enjoy being mysterious about their act but not Doug Segal. He's ready to make you a mind-reader too.

Five years ago, the award-winning comedian/mentalist swapped a high-paying job in advertising for a slot on the comedy circuit.

In the past he's been described as "Derren Brown but funny" but is keen to step away from that tagline.

Admitting that Brown's first TV appearance revolutionised mind-reading shows, Doug set out to do something different and enrolled in a stand-up comedy course.

  (Doug Segal)
via STV via STV

"I knew I wouldn't make as much money but I thought it would be fun and I would get my soul back," said Doug.

"So I did the obvious thing you do in a high pressure job – I booked myself a fortnight in the Barons Court Theatre in London and it sold out."

He's now gone a step further to put the focus on his audience in his latest show I Can Make You A Mentalist which he'll perform later this month as part of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival.

During the show, which Doug describes as 60% mind-reading, 40% comedy, a member of the audience is chosen at random to join the mentalist on stage to complete a series of mind-reading challenges.

"The difference is that I act more as a guide and teach the audience how to do it," said the 38-year-old Londoner.

"I pull back the curtain just enough so the audience vaguely understands how it works but not enough to spoil it.

“I thought it would be interesting to make it the audience’s show and turn it over to them.”

As you'd imagine, Doug has no qualms about sharing industry secrets and is keen to dispel the myth that some people actually do possess psychic abilities.

"It’s absolute nonsense and I make a lot of jokes about it in the show," he said. "There are two types of people that say they’re psychic.

"There are people who say that and are lying and then people who genuinely believe that they are and are just quite confused. You can’t disprove it though."

It turns out there is a way to prove his own show is above board though.

There's no better - or terrifying - way for an act like Doug to prove he's legit than having your on-stage subject be your harshest critic.

Last year, he was unexpectedly joined on stage by The Scotsman's leading comedy critic Kate Copstick.

"The whole thing hinges on the audience knowing that the person on stage isn't a plant so I ended up performing with Kate Copstick, the "Cruella de Vil" of comedy criticism," said Doug. "Luckily she loved it."

  (Doug Segal)
via STV via STV

So much so that in her Fringe diary, the writer said: "It was possibly the most extraordinary experience of my life.

"Knowing that it is not “real” psychic ability, only made what he does and however he does it even more mindbogglingly impressive."

While he's been a permanent feature at the Edinburgh Fringe for several years, this is the first time Doug is getting into the minds of a Glasgow audience.

He said: "I spend a lot of my time talking to the audience because it’s an interactive show and I think around 30% of the people who see me in Edinburgh are actually Glasweigan."

"You can tell straight away that they're up for a good laugh and I love that, so if the Glasgow contingent of my Edinburgh shows are anything to go by then it’s going to be a fantastic night."

What we really want to know is, does he still use his incredible powers of persuasion in real life?

"Early doors in my career I did," he admits with a laugh. "But as the show became less serious and less about me, I’m not constantly reading people.

"I’m still pretty good at getting a discount on a car though."

Prepare to have your mind blown when Doug Segal brings I Can Make You a Mentalist to the Tron Theatre Friday, March 21.

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