Russell Brand experienced a feeling of "psychological vertigo" at the London 2012 Olympic Games closing ceremony when he realised he could "say anything".
The British comedian was one of many acts to appear at the event and was seen singing on a psychedelic bus dressed as Willy Wonka. He was excited to be involved with the ceremony but had a brief moment when the realisation he could sabotage the whole thing flashed through his mind.
"It's kind of like a psychological vertigo – the knowledge that you can jump off an edge makes you want to do it a little bit. Like, what will happen to reality if I do that' Just in that moment, when I had that live mic in my hand, and I could say anything, and the knowledge that I could say anything to a billion viewers – and I think, oh my God, if I could do something like that, it would be almost just to watch the consequences – to see it all unfold. It interests me," he explained to British newspaper The Guardian.
"Well what would be the worst thing you could say in that situation' The worst thing would be, given the climate of fear that exists in public events of that nature, something that would stimulate those fears."
Russell has hit the headlines for his poor taste stunts in the past, including leaving lewd voicemail messages for an elderly British actor during his radio show. He worked at MTV when the September 11 terror attacks took place and came to work the following day dressed as Osama bin Laden.
The 37-year-old star has battled drug addiction, which he has said is one of the reasons he made so many poor decisions.
He has now been clean for nine years and spends time campaigning for better treatment facilities for drug addicts. The star understands many people think it is easier for him because he is famous and has money, but he insists that is of little relevance.
"In the end not everyone is going to go off and be in movies and live some superficially sequined glitzy little life," he admitted. "But to tell you the truth... that's f**king bulls**t anyway. You know that, I know that, everyone who's worth anything knows that there is no real satisfaction or gratification in, 'Oh look, you've got a nice car,' if you're not happy inside."
Although Russell has done things he regrets, he doesn't dwell on them. In the same way he doesn't trawl the internet looking for comments about his work as he knows reading them would drive him mad.
"Now of course I require a certain number of people to like me for my livelihood. But I'm beyond the point where I need to do a head count. All I care about now is having an intrinsic relationship with what I do, as a performer, that's legitimate and real and authentic," he explained.
"We've only got a short time here and I can spend my time stimulating my mind however I want."