(Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
To hearlist off some of his favorite films — which include Airplane!, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and, more recently, the Safdie Brothers’ Good Time and the Nic Cage-starrer MANDY — is to get a glimpse into the bonkers and brazen cinema the comedian gravitates to. In the spirit of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat and Brüno, as well as Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, Andre’s latest prank-filled film feels like a combination of these various styles of bold filmmaking.
In Bad Trip, Andre plays Chris, a guy hopelessly trying to make his way from Florida to New York City with his friend Bud () to reunite with his high school crush. That they’re being pursued by Bud’s escaped convict sister Trina ( ), who’s intent on getting her car back, is just one of the many obstacles the two men face on the road. The pranks (and the reactions of the unsuspecting bystanders caught by director ) are best left unspoiled. But know they include a very horny gorilla, a NSFW encounter with a Chinese finger-trap, and naked pratfalls aplenty.
Ahead of the movie’s release on Netflix, Andre spoke with Rotten Tomatoes about his favorite films. He admits he had a hard time narrowing them down (“I know you only asked for five and I’m giving you, like, 15, but this is very hard for me”) but that just speaks to his eclectic taste. Where else, after all, could you find Fernando Meirelles and Stanley Kubrick sitting pretty next to Weird Al Yankovic?
Manuel Betancourt for Rotten Tomatoes: How did Bad Trip begin?
Eric Andre: Well it’s been seven and a half years since we first started talking about it. October 2013 is when Bad Grandpa came out. I was on season two of The Eric Andre Show and my agent called me up and he goes, “Hey man, you’re going to go see Bad Grandpa this weekend?” I was like, “Hell yeah.” And he goes, “Dude, I think it’s gonna make like 100 million bucks. It’s, like, testing through the roof.” And then he was like, “You should make one of those movies.”
Still to this day, I don’t know how to write a movie. All I know are jokes and pranks. I’m a joke writer, not a story writer. I didn’t know the importance of story. So we were throwing spaghetti at the wall for years, developing the idea and building it up and bringing it down and building it up. It was like we went to film school without going. We just had to educate ourselves on how to read a story, and then we teamed up with [Bad Grandpa’s director] Jeff Tremaine, and then we just kept cracking away at it. But it was an ongoing process until the very end of editing, and we finished editing the movie 2019. So it was a long and winding road.
RT: What was the most terrifying scene to shoot? I was terrified for you during so many of them.
Andre: Yeah, I mean we shot a lot in Georgia and it’s an open carry state so…
There’s a scene where Rel and I, we have our penises stuck in a Chinese finger trap — you know, as it’s known to happen. And we went into a really “hood” barber shop in Atlanta and this dude took out a knife and chased us, trying to kill us. That was Rel’s not only day one of filming the movie, but the first hidden camera prank he ever filmed.
RT: And he stuck with it!
Andre: Barely! He quit the movie that day. He told me, just in the interview before this, that his kids talked him back into doing the movie. And because he almost got killed, he called Tiffany Haddish later that night to vent, and was like, “Hey, Eric Andre put me in a stupid prank movie and he’s gonna get me killed. This guy took a knife out! I want to quit.” So she starts dying laughing and calls me five minutes later and goes, “You almost got Rel killed?” And I was like, “Yeah.” And she goes, “I wanna be in your movie. I live for that s–t.” So in a weird way, that got us Tiffany in the movie.
is available on Netflix from March 26, 2021.
Thumbnail image: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney, 20th Century Fox (Borat), Courtesy the Everett Collection