Eric Andre is known for his extreme physical comedy, but one prank nearly got him killed during the making of “Bad Trip.” The prank comedy, currently the most-watched movie on Netflix, stars Andre and fellow comedian Lil Rel Howery as friends who set out on a road trip to New York City. The production set up prank set pieces in the vein of “Jackass” and “Bad Grandpa” to capture the live reactions of real people. One prank in which Andre and Howery pretend to have their penises stuck together and go into an Atlanta barber shop looking for scissors to separate them resulted in “the barber searching for a weapon and brandishing a knife, menacingly chasing the fleeing duo” (via USA Today).
“Part of my brain was like, ‘Wow, I could die right now,'” Andre told USA Today. “Another part of my brain goes, ‘This is going to be great footage.’ I felt the movie needed a couple of death-defying scenes to give it real stakes. To make it feel raw and intense.”
The knife incident resulted in Howery temporarily quitting “Bad Trip.” Andre explained: “He walked from the movie, we had to seduce him back.”
Howery eventually rejoined the production and brought Tiffany Haddish along with him to costar. Per USA Today, “Bad Trip” director Kitao Sakurai “beefed up the security team” working on the film with ex-law enforcement officials after the knife incident. Andre even came up with the safe word “popcorn” to say over his hidden microphone to notify the crew of a potentially threatening situation.
“It’s such a stressful process because it’s the real world,” Sakurai said. “The benefits of doing something like this are also the dangers of it. Things are unpredictable. You’re working in a crowd with people that don’t even know they’re on camera. Really anything can happen.”
During one prank where Andre plays drunk at a bar, one patron snapped at the comedian. “The guy did not think that was funny at all,” Andre said. “But instead of saying ‘popcorn!’ I started saying ‘goosebumps, goosebumps!’ My security was like, ‘Are you saying it’s cold in here?’ And then I was like, ‘popcorn, popcorn!'”
“Bad Trip” is now streaming on Netflix.