From: Silver Screen

‘Bad Trip’ is Eric André’s hilarious break into scripted prank comedies

‘Bad Trip’ is Eric André’s hilarious break into scripted prank comedies
Eric Andre as “Chris” & Lil Rel Howery as “Bud” in Bad Trip.

“Bad Trip” follows Chris (Eric André) and Bud (Lil Rel Howery) on a hilarious road trip up the east coast. Along the way, they encounter some interesting people, whom they rope into their hidden camera-prank chaos. 

André plays a smoothie shop employee as his high school crush Maria (Michaela Conlin) walks in. Enamored, Chris asks her on a date. She explains that she has plans to go home to New York soon, but invites Chris to her gallery opening at the end of the week. This launches the movie into a mission for Chris to find Maria and confess his love to her. Chris reaches out to his friend, Bud, asking him to join him on this road trip to New York.

Chris and Bud get themselves into an array of ridiculous circumstances: sneaking into the gorilla exhibit at a zoo, acting reckless and drunk in a rural bar, destroying their car and many more.  

Beyond being a hilarious hidden camera prank movie, “Bad Trip” is the first ever all BIPOC cast in this genre, André said in a roundtable discussion. André, Howery, Conlin and Tiffany Haddish, along with the victims of all their pranks, put on an excellent performance of nonstop humor.   

This is Andrés’ first time working on a scripted piece. In a press conference with André, Howery and Conlin, André described how this process was different from any of his previous works, like that of “The Eric André Show.” He said he was used to writing out comedy sketches to perform on stages but had never written for something like this. He said he was constantly in the writer’s room making adjustments based on the types of content he got from people's reactions. 

In the same press conference, Howery said that one of his favorite sketches included André pretending to be possessed, while a real priest performed an exorcism on him. He said that although this was one of his favorite moments while filming, it could not be included in the final cut because it did not go with the direction of the plot. 

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André and Howery said that they are hoping to release some of the cut skits sometime after the movie’s release, but they did not specify when.

During the press conference, the actors were asked how they were able to handle performing these types of pranks. André said that, although he has been doing this for a while, there are some situations that still get uncomfortable. 

“It took me a long time to get used to doing hidden camera pranks,” André said. “I've been doing these hidden camera pranks since I was 20. Like, my organs used to sweat from nerves.” 

He also gave a lot of credit to his co-stars because they all really threw themselves in for these roles.  

All of the actors emphasize the importance of director Kitao Sakurai in the process of making this movie. He helped them both on and off camera with their pranks. Conlin describes her final audition for this role, which included going to a mall and improving with the director in order to feel what it felt like to film hidden camera pranks.  

You can also see the role Sakurai plays for the actors in the credits of the movie as he directs André through the incredibly hilarious and unforgettable gorilla scene. 

“Intent and context are the DNA of what makes a comedic event feel good,” André said. 

The cast never went into a situation with malicious intent. Their end goal was always to make the audience at home laugh and the participants in their pranks laugh. I can easily say they accomplished this goal.   

“Bad Trip” became available on Netflix starting March 26, 2021.

gveseli@theeagleonline.com


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