Lior Suchard revamps Nat’l Geo’s ‘Brain Games’

Lior Suchard talks with the Post on how Brain Games shows "the hidden potential of the brain."

Lior Suchard with co-host Keegan-Michael Key and guest Jack Black in 'Brain Games.' (photo credit: Courtesy)
Lior Suchard with co-host Keegan-Michael Key and guest Jack Black in 'Brain Games.'
(photo credit: Courtesy)
He never seems to be wrong and he’s always carrying an oversized marker in his pocket so he can write out what you’re thinking on a piece of paper. As Lior Suchard, master Israeli mentalist and trickster, sat for his interview with The Jerusalem Post, the marker was within reach at all times.
National Geographic representatives, Disney executives and members of the media gathered with Suchard in Tel Aviv Tuesday to launch Brain Games, his newest TV show.
“Don’t record me saying that I hate interviews,” said Suchard as he got ready to take questions while the rest of the crowd inside watched the pilot of the revamped series. Suchard is recognized across the globe for blowing minds and mystifying crowds with his brain tricks. From solving Rubik’s cubes to guessing the name of your first crush, the ruses are particularly shocking when done live. But for those who must resort to watching on television, Brain Games, which Suchard is now co-producing, is a redo of a National Geographic series that ran between 2011 and 2016, which explored cognitive science with psychological experiments done on humans.
“The show combines the live audience, the studio, the outside shooting, the inside shooting and celebrities, [all of which are new additions.] It’s a lot of fun,” Suchard said. “It’s different because it’s the first time that we explain a little bit of what’s happening in the brain. I usually perform and keep it an enigma. Now Brain Games gives a little hint to how the brain works and how to activate it – and the hidden potential of the brain.”
In addition to co-producing, Suchard will also be co-hosting the show with the American comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who is best known for his show Key & Peele. He’ll be creating content and special acts while bringing celebrity guests like Jack Black and Kristen Bell on board.
Suchard has been interviewed by dozens of talk show hosts around the world, including Ellen DeGeneres, who had Suchard on her show days ago. In addition, he’s been highlighted by celebrity hosts like Jay Leno and James Cordon. He’s performed for top artists like Drake, Kanye West and Barbara Streisand. Suchard says the way he makes his magic is by using what he’s learned about the power of the brain.
“Everyone can be influenced and manipulated, for good and bad. I’m doing it for good,” he said. And his message? “Believe in yourself and you can do more than you think.”
During a live demonstration at the preview, Suchard invited a guest on stage and asked him to think of a number. Using a whiteboard, he wrote a dozen two-digit numbers across a grid and asked the participant if he saw his number written. He did not. Suchard then began his calculations. He added the numbers vertically, horizontally, diagonally and even tallied up the numbers on just the corners. The summation? Exactly the number the volunteer had chosen beforehand. The crowd went wild. But how does he continue to find fresh material after doing so many shows and accepting so many televised appearances?
Suchard told the Post he gets his inspiration for new work through traveling the world, meeting people and by working on the principles of influence, suggestion and non-verbal communication. He says since there are not many people in his field, he never had someone to look up to. Instead, he realized his abilities and tried to develop his talent on his own.
By the end of the interview, the Post asked Suchard if there was anything else he wanted to note for the article. He said “actually yes.” He picked up his handy-dandy marker and grabbed the reporter’s notepad.
“Can I write something in your notebook here?” he asked. “Think of a two-digit number.” Suchard jotted something down on the page and waited for the response. The Post had settled on the number 26 and when he turned the notepad around, he had guessed those digits exactly.
“Put that in your article,” he said.
If you’re interested in mind games and politics, you can catch Suchard at his next event in Israel on March 2 where he will be making election predictions in real time. In 2013, he was dead on when he called the results of those polls. He anticipates the show to draw a crowd of 2,600 participants, which he says will be his biggest yet.
Here’s a brain teaser – is it possible Suchard guessed number 26 after telling the Post he intended on having 2,600 in the audience at his next show? The detail had only just been mentioned a minute or two before the trick. We may never know.
Suchard hails from Haifa. He is the youngest of three brothers and found himself to be talented in arithmetic from a young age. After completing his army service, he began to gain popularity through a number of morning shows on TV. Once he took the title of top mentalist in a TV game competition series known as The Successor, his career began to take off and he brought his live shows to the US, Australia and India.
The new TV program and all its tricks will roll out on February 7 on the National Geographic channel in 172 countries and 43 languages.