It takes work to make the stupid pranks of “Bad Trip.”
For each bizarre, sometimes dangerous and — let’s just call it — moronic gag on the raucous Netflix comedy, filmmakers would seriously sweat out details for weeks.
The trick: Fooling unsuspecting members of the public into believing Eric André and Lil Rel Howery, playing best friends Chris and Bud in the unscripted road trip comedy, had flipped their car, or Tiffany Haddish (as Bud’s escapee sister Trina) had plowed a police car into an art gallery.
Then, capture incredulous bystander reaction on hidden cameras.
“It’s a fascinating process, figuring out how to do something that seems crazy impossible,” says director Kitao Sakurai. “But using tricks and sleight-of-hand, you realize that it’s actually crazy, but possible.
Here’s how “Bad Trip” pulled off its best pranks.
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The car vacuum mishap required a breakaway onesie with a hook
One of the comedy’s opening skits features André’s Chris working as a car-detailing attendant in Los Angeles whose entire uniform gets sucked into the power vacuum cleaner.
André wore a specially made breakaway onesie work uniform with small hooks attached to a super-strength invisible line in a vacuum tube. When André yelled, “Hey, I’m stuck,” that was the cue for the hidden film crew to pull the line, yanking the breakaway uniform off — leaving Chris naked after his dream girl Maria (Michaela Conlin) pulled up.
“That took a lot of trial and error to get it right,” says Sakurai. The third mark was the perfect foil, even helping to hide naked André in his car’s backseat.
The event bouncer took his detail seriously
For a scene where Chris tries to enter an art gallery party hosted by Maria, filmmakers hired a bouncer outside a fancy Los Angeles location, giving strict instructions only to allow invited attendees inside. Chris was not on the list. The bouncer rebuffed André’s multiple attempts to enter, but finally, begrudgingly allowed him in on the sly for the sake of true love.
So romantic, right? Until the bouncer found he had been pranked. “He was not happy. He had a long, seething moment,” says André, who needed the bouncer to sign a release form for “Bad Trip” to use the scene. “We really had to massage his emotions after the prank to get him to sign. But he did.”
The car really flipped on an Atlanta street
Howery’s Bud was not at the wheel for the film’s dramatic car flip. However, “Bad Trip” stunt coordinator Charles Grisham flipped the film’s pink Cadillac into the air on an Atlanta street during a controlled stunt. “It had to be a precision driver,” says Sakurai. André and Howery got in the car afterwards. A crowd of spectators taking part in a fake street art tour were brought past the carnage to see the two seemingly dazed stars emerging from the upside-down wreckage.
The ensuing screen argument between the two characters was made even more dramatic by a real, controlled fire bursting dramatically from the car.
Tiffany Haddish drove into an art gallery
When Chris does finally get to Maria at her art show, the moment is ruined by Haddish’s Trina, who drives her stolen police car literally into the gallery. To pull that stunt off, Sakurai set up a believable gallery, with credible art pieces and invited guests. The unsuspecting guests were discreetly kept away from a fake brick wall. “We set up a system to make sure all the art admirers were in a safe zone,” says Sakurai.
Given the all-clear signal by the stunt coordinator, Haddish was behind the wheel as her car plowed through the fake wall into the building — with the car attached to guiding wires to keep it on course. As the guests looked on in shock, Haddish emerged and turned her destruction onto remaining art pieces.
It takes practice to make a drunken fall
André’s Chris appeared to have too much alcohol at the Electric Cowboy bar in Kennesaw, Georgia. He stood in a precarious perch above the bar to make a drunken toast to his friend, before falling. André practiced the 15-foot tumble into a nearby container, with hidden padding beneath folded boxes, the day before. “I did it over and over, so that it looked fluid when it was real,” he says.
After the true tumble, a crew member posing as a concerned patron discreetly attached a tube that ran up Andre’s body, enabling his Chris to projectile vomit — actually a combination of material including pea soup and vegetables.