Andre explained that he’d been tinkering with Bad Trip off and on for years but finally started working on it in earnest after the success of the Jackass-affiliated flick, Bad Grandpa (Jeff Tremaine, one of the producers on Bad Grandpa, also produced Bad Trip). While the pranks were obviously the crux of the film, Andre and Sakurai spoke about why it was still important to ensure the film had a classic story and relatable characters.
“Story and the emotional arcs of the characters are really, we realized, what gives the pranks a sense of stakes,” Sakurai says. “These characters are setting out on this journey, and, through that journey, they need to accomplish these things and hit these story points, and if those are told through pranks… those pranks hit so much harder.”
Elsewhere, the duo discussed fine-tuning the film’s tone so it didn’t just feel like a classic hidden-camera prank show, how Harambe inspired the film’s wild gorilla prank, and all the extra footage that didn’t make it into the movie. One such scene, Andre recalls, involved them picking up a real person in their car, planting a bunch of fake drugs on them, and allowing hilarity to ensue when a cop — played by Chris Rock — pulls them over. The mark, however, didn’t buy it: “He was laughing the whole time,” Andre says with a laugh. “He was like, ‘This is clearly Chris Rock!’”
Andre and Sakurai also spoke about why Lil Rel Howery was perfect for Bad Trip’s co-starring role — and how he almost quit after the first day of shooting after a prank involving his and Andre’s penises getting stuck together led to a barber pulling a knife on them and chasing them out of his shop. Andre says Howery was on the phone with his agent, manager, and kids about wanting to quit the film, but his children convinced him to stay on because they love prank shows. It also happened that Howery was venting to Tiffany Haddish, who found the story so funny that she called Andre and asked to be in the movie herself.
“Tiffany Haddish is a movie star, she’s like one of the funniest comedians of all time, and we were just like, ‘Uh, yeah! Sure!’” Andre recalls. “She was like, ‘I live for that prank shit! I was in a prank show back in the day, I love when people get angry, I love when people pull out knives on me!’”