If you’re finding yourself entertained by AMP’s jesterish antics, then I’m delighted to let you know that there are wilder and more efficient clowns out there, and they’re on Netflix right now. Consider the long-awaited, pre-Covid Bad Trip, a hidden camera comedy film directed by Kitaro Sakurai (who also does “The Eric Andre Show”), produced in part by Jeff Tremaine from Jackass, and starring Eric Andre and Lil Rel Howery, known for his role as Rod Williams in Get Out. As a film, it feels like Eric Andre’s escalated, chaotic love letter to Nathan For You and Jackass… because it kinda is.
To be clear, Bad Trip is a transparent excuse for endless gags to dogpile the viewer’s eyeballs. The plotline swells with the drama and emotional urgency of a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Basically every scene involves Andre’s ass-hattery as the punchline in a world of stooges, and you could probably get these same kicks from an episode of a hidden-camera magic TV show like The Carbonaro Effect. But if you easily fall victim to Eric Andre’s stupid charm, or have a soft spot for stoner-friendly buddy movies, or just like seeing dudes be rewind-and-replay levels of stupid — all of which I do — then there will not be a single critique that actually dampens your enjoyment of the movie. It’s funny to watch Michaela Conlin, aka Angela from Bones, deal with the likes of Eric Andre. It’s funny to see some random guy publicly humiliated at the car wash for no comprehensible reason at all. It’s funny to see the public be sympathetic and take sides in a series of scripted, illogical pranks. Bad Trip actually has no goddamn right to be as funny as it is. It’s as if there’s a divinely ignorant bliss to hidden camera pranks, along with an impossible, unstoppable charm to Eric Andre’s persona, that render Bad Trip an instant surreal-comedy classic.
Uniquely for Ticket Stubs, I bring you more than just a review. In preparation for Bad Trip’s release, AMP got to officially screen the movie before release (and let it really marinate in our brains before publication). Not long after, I actually, non-satirically, attended a virtual press junket, representing AMP, and was able to speak to three awe-strikingly famous actors — Eric Andre, Lil Rel Howery, and Michaela Conlin — who starred in the movie. Selfishly thinking about how much I love hidden camera comedies, I asked about the famous folks’ secrets to not getting recognized mid-filming.
According to Lil Rel, a lot of the success came from “picking the right marks” for the best effect, with Eric Andre confirming that he fully tried to “avoid the demographic” of “college students, skateboarders” that would make up his viewers, as well as the Bones fans who would recognize Michaela Conlin. While the main cast expected to be recognized a lot, it ended up being an uncommon, “once or twice” occurrence, Lil Rel attested. “Like Eric says all the time, we’ve got forty-and-up moms who’ve had a long day, who ain’t got time to be recognizing nobody.” Both actors also testified to the importance of pacing and costuming, with Lil Rel dressed like a “civil rights attorney” at one point, charmingly described by Eric as having a “Johnny Cochran haircut.” Even if they did get recognized, incidents were easy to rectify: right before a zoo-themed prank, a woman at the zoo actually told Lil Rel that he looked like Lil Rel Howery. He brushed it off, telling her that “[he gets] that all the time,” before she seamlessly progressed to the topic of the zoo’s unusual, misbehaving gorilla.
In even more interesting details, revealed throughout the press junket, Michaela Conlin auditioned for Bad Trip by going to a local mall to “beat up [Andre’s] director, Kitaro”, in front of the unsuspecting public. Lil Rel’s favorite prank was actually a deleted scene where Eric’s character, Chris, was possessed by the devil, and Lil Rel’s character, Bud, called an actual priest to exorcize his friend. (“This dude really thought he was, like, truly doing something … he probably dreamed of it. He probably watched Poltergeist or something and said, ‘I’m gonna become a priest.’”) In the end, a lot of the pranks they recorded were insanely funny but didn’t fit within the movie… but Eric Andre said he’ll be uploading these deleted scenes on Youtube. (“We did a prank with Chris Rock… that kinda failed, just the prank didn’t work, we’re gonna release that. We did a prank with Lil Rel driving around a golf cart in the mall, he’s like bashing into mannequins and garbage cans, and these women on the back like aaaaaah! We’re gonna release that.”) And yes, I did, on pure instinct, subject three famous people to a Zoom background of Temoc because I forgot to name my school when asking my question.If all of that doesn’t make you want to watch a 2020 Eric Andre movie, and the bonus content (when it comes out), I don’t know what to tell you. If you know, you know. Interested parties can watch Bad Trip on Netflix right now.