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Eric Andre Dishes On The Bad Trip Scene That Almost Got Him Killed - Exclusive Interview

After over a year of delays due to a certain pandemic, Eric Andre's buddy/prank comedy Bad Trip has made its long-awaited debut on Netflix. Narratively, it's the story of Chris (Andre) and his friend Bud (Lil Rel Howery) driving from Florida to New York so Chris can confess his love to childhood crush Maria (Michaela Conlin), all while Bud's convict sister Trina (Tiffany Haddish) chases after them for stealing her car. More directly, it's a reason for Andre, Rel, and Haddish to prank people across the country in increasingly obscene ways.

Looper spoke with Andre about Bad Trip, a project he's thrilled everyone finally gets to see. He told us about how he avoided getting caught, what various Hollywood bigshots thought of the movie, and the comedic genius of Tiffany Haddish. He also matter-of-factly told us how he almost got killed because someone did not approve of one particular prank.

Finally releasing Bad Trip

Loved the movie, by the way.

Thank you, buddy.

Normally, when I watch a movie, I like to take little notes. And the biggest note on yours was just the word "cringe," which I circled about three times.

That's not the takeaway I want, "Cringe!" This is like slam poetry level of cringe!

It was!

Did you like the movie?

I did! So you've been promoting this movie since 2019. How does it feel to get it out?

It's surreal. I have PTSD. I'm like, are we going to get to next week, and they're going to tell me there's another global pandemic happening? It's surreal. Obviously, I would have enjoyed doing a red carpet at South by Southwest, amongst thousands of screaming maniacs. But whatever, Netflix is the best venue in town, with 200 million subscribers worldwide. So I think that's a huge silver lining.

Setting up pranks and almost dying

I've seen you say you've gotten a little more sophisticated with how you pull off pranks. How do you get the locations on board for all the things you do?

Money talks, my man! No, I mean, the locations, that's not hard. Nothing's ever easy, but like the locations is just talking to the owner of the location, telling him like, "Hey, you want to do a hidden camera prank? You want to prank some of your employees? You want to prank some of your customers? You want to be in this cool movie?" And then you just give them some money, and they're usually on board with it. They're pumped to shut the store down for the day and make some money and have a cool camera crew filming a prank thing in their place. That's not the hard part. It's not easy, but there's much more challenges.

What's the most challenging part then?

Not getting murdered.

Yeah, I read that you almost got murdered during the Chinese finger trap prank.

Almost got murdered, yeah. Almost got murdered. I had my penis stuck in a Chinese finger trap with my co-star Lil Rel Howery, and we went into a barbershop. And we asked the gentleman who was cutting another gentleman's hair, "May we borrow your scissors, sir? Our penises are stuck in a Chinese finger trap." He didn't think that was funny, so he tried to kill us.

Avoiding fans and meeting Good Samaritans

So you don't really try to disguise yourself during this. How often do you have to abort a prank because people are going, "Hey, it's Eric Andre and the guy from Get Out!"?

Yeah. So, frequently asked question. We basically avoid the demographic. Most of my fanbase is under 40, under 35, pretty young. So we weren't doing any pranks at skate parks or college campuses or places that I would get recognized a lot. You see the majority of the people in the movie are over 40. And as long as I stayed over 40, I wasn't really getting recognized that much.

Every once in a while we would have... We had a code word. "Phyllis" was our code word. So if I saw a young kid that would probably recognize me, walking towards me or close to the location we're about to film, I would just talk in my hidden lav microphone. I go, "Hey, my friend Phyllis is here in a green shirt." And my stunt coordinator or PA would intercept the person and go, "Hey, you know what? We're kind of trying to do something here. Let's be cool." And kind of just shoo them out of the scene.

We deal with that on The Eric Andre Show all the time, and you just got to wait it out. You give the person a hug and just give them like a, "Shh" and then pirouette into the different part of the location and continue filming.

Something that really struck me about a lot of the pranks you did were people genuinely wanted to help you and —

Yeah, so that's the thing! That's why I was hoping it wasn't cringe! I don't want the movie to be cynical. It's very hard to make a prank movie and not have some degree of cynicism or misanthropy. You know what I mean? And we had to keep my character and Rel's character sympathetic, because we're the protagonists. So by keeping us sympathetic, it forced us to write all these, we call them "help me, help me" pranks, where we're in peril and where we remain sympathetic figures.

And because of that, we brought out and awakened the Good Samaritan nature of people, which I think is good to watch right now, because America feels very divided on our... We feel very polarized, because our media focuses on our polarization and our differences. It doesn't focus on common ground. So yeah, I hope it's a positive experience for people. I want this movie to heal America.

'Feel like you're getting a back massage'

I actually did get a little bit of that. When I'm saying "cringe," I do mean uncomfortable, but like I said, I was very —

I want you to be comfortable. I want you to feel like you're getting a back massage while you're watching.

One of the guys that really stood out to me was when you were in Trenton, and there was that guy who was trying to calm you down after the car issue.

Yeah, no, he was incredible. He was so good. I showed the movie to Jon Favreau. I showed him an early version, and he goes, "I thought that was the only other guy that was an actor in the movie." And then in the credit scroll, when we show the reveals, he was like, "Oh, my God, that guy was real too?" That guy was just so invested in my character and Rel's character falling out, that he was... I don't know. I think it was just such an intense situation, that, that pressure brought out his Good Samaritan nature.

And there's one that's, I wouldn't say it's the opposite end of the spectrum, but there was that one guy who helped Tiffany Haddish escape from prison. What happened to him?

He was amazing. He was one of my favorite people in the movie, and he was very, very relieved that it was a hidden camera prank. [Laughs]

Tiffany Haddish

Tiffany Haddish. She may be the funniest person in America. She is just so good in this movie.

She is comedy. I just said that about her yesterday on Colbert. She is comedy on a cellular level. There's a reason she's a movie star. Every medium of comedy, she does 110% — standup, hidden camera pranks, comedic acting. I said on Colbert last night, I go, "She could be a synchronized swimmer in the Olympics and make it the most comedic experience you've witnessed." You know what I mean? She's a god.

There are times where I was terrified of her, but I was still laughing.

Yeah. That's my cup of tea, terror mixed with comedy. That's my favorite too.

What's she like when the cameras aren't rolling? Is she still that funny?

She's so funny. She's meant to be a comedian. She's like a... I don't know. She has the perfect job for her. She just won a Grammy too. You know she used to sleep in her car?


Yeah. So she deserves all the success she's getting. I'm very proud of her.

Advice from Sacha Baron Cohen

So you showed this movie to Sacha Baron Cohen, because he's the king of this whole genre.

He's the Obi-Wan Kenobi.

What did Sacha Baron Cohen have to say about all this?

You know what? It was really interesting. We had an early rough cut of the movie, and we brought it over to his house and showed it for him in his living room. He didn't have a lot of prank notes. All of his notes were story advice. It was just fixing some story structure stuff in act two, act three. It was like going over to like Aaron Sorkin's house more than a prankster's house.

He was like, "The pranks, you got. You know how to do a prank." It was more about structural, like end of act two, act three story stuff, which I thought was interesting.

So he takes this very seriously, then?

Oh yeah. I mean, he is a true Jedi Knight with this stuff. He's told me some tactics he's done just to prank Donald Trump and Mike Pence and people that are very hard to access. I won't reveal any of his secrets. He's like David Copperfield. You know? But he really is a ninja. The CIA should hire him. It's like espionage. Again, his level is espionage in the best way.

Big targets and a cut scene

I noticed that he (Sacha Baron Cohen) tends to go after big targets, and you seem to go after the average person. Would you say that's an accurate assessment of you?


Are there any big targets you still want to go after or tried to go after?

Yeah. I mean, look, I would love to go after as many politicians as he's pranked. I mean, he's just so good at it. It's like, what can I do that he hasn't done? You know what I mean? The sky's the limits with pranking. I feel like I'm kind of like whoever gets the best reactions, whether it's the everyday American or Mitch McConnell, I think it's kind of fun and pranking everyone.

Were there any reactions that you liked, but you couldn't get in the film?

There was a great scene, it was just too surreal for the body of the movie, when I'm possessed by a demon. There's an exorcism scene we did in a motel, and we pranked this real preacher. And we have all these supernatural, spooky effects everywhere. We have blood dripping down the wall, and I was levitating, and Rel was trying to exorcise the demon out of me. We're going to release that later. It wasn't like we couldn't put it in the movie because the guy didn't sign the release.

They actually had to hunt the guy down. He was a preacher in the middle of nowhere, Georgia. And they had to drive for miles and donate to his church. He really didn't want to sign the release, and then they eventually seduced him into signing them at least. But it just didn't fit in the body of the movie, because it was just too wacky and surreal. It works better as an independent prank.

Bad Trip is now streaming on Netflix.