Eric Andre looks back at the wildest things he's done for a laugh
The host of The Eric Andre Show — and star of Netflix's road-trip prank film Bad Trip — truly has suffered for his craft.
Eric Andre is a comedian/actor/agent of absurdity who is ready, willing, and able to sacrifice his body/soul/safety for his art. For nearly a decade now, when Andre has welcomed a chipper celebrity to his mini-couch or has approached a flummoxed passer-by whilst embodying a demented character on Adult Swim's delightfully Dada The Eric Andre Show, logic dries up and chaos rains down.
Now, the 37-year-old provocateur -— and captain of hidden-camera-high-jinks industry — buckles you up for a new ride of ridiculous in Bad Trip, a kind-of-emotional road-trip prank film (streaming now on Netflix) that also stars Lil Rel Howery, Tiffany Haddish, and Michaela Conlin. "It's a narrative feature escalation of my body of work," he tells EW. "All the work that we put into The Eric Andre Show — this is the next level up from that evolution."
Actually, it might even be loftier than that, according to Andre. "I'll give you the headline: Bad Trip will heal America," he quips. "It's very hard making a prank movie, especially that's not cynical or punching down. I thought we did a good job of pranking people, but it never feels mean-spirited. We show the Good Samaritan nature of people — people of all walks of life, colors, and creeds were there to help me. It's going to unite working-class people in a very divided America."
That's quite a challenge, but Andre has always dreamed big. And weird. Here, he looks back at the crazy lengths to which he's gone in the name of comedy, including a stunt that left not onlookers but he himself in stitches.
Head of the Glass
Andre was a teacher's pest in high school, earning suspensions for mooning his friends and not wearing shoes. But in 12th grade, he topped himself — and nearly offed himself — when he attempted to impress a friend by attacking a glass-encased fire hose with his face.
"We're in the hallway by the lockers. I used to bash my head into the lockers because it made a loud sound, but it wouldn't really hurt. And I loved Chris Farley growing up. So I would bash my head in the lockers and go, 'I'm so stupid! Stupid! Stupid!' I was like, 'Ohhh, I'll do it to the glass [box]. So I go, 'Brooke, check it out! I'm so stupid!' BOOM! I bashed my head through the glass. I was like, Whoa. I didn't realize how fragile that glass was. I lean back, I held my hands out and the glass sliced my hands open. The glass sliced my forehead open. I turned to Brooke and I went, 'Stigmataaaa!' She was in shock. She was like, 'Dude, what the f---?" I went to physics class. There was a trail of blood from the English building to another building, and my teacher was like, 'Dude, you gotta go to the nurse.' I went to the nurse and she's like, 'You gotta go to the hospital.' But I got in trouble so often that the school cop and the vice principal met me in the nurse's room. They didn't trust me at all. And rightfully so. I was like, 'Oh, I just slipped and fell.' They were like, 'You sure it was an accident? 'I'm like, 'Come on guys — I need stitches. Give me some sympathy here.' I got a few [stitches] in my hand. They had to reopen the wound and fish glass out. It sucked."
To Ether His Own
Andre moved to L.A. in his mid-20s to pursue a comedy career. One day, he was invited to do a stand-up set at a gig that was supposed to go to pot. Instead of smoking marijuana, though, Andre huffed ether in an attempt to "stand out."
"There was some stand-up show that was like, 'You got to smoke weed on stage! It's a weed show!' And I told the host, 'I don't like weed. I never feel good when I smoke. It doesn't hit me right. It makes me paranoid and antisocial and self-conscious.' And he goes, 'That's fine. You can do something else.' I was like, 'I got ether left over from my birthday party. I'll just huff ether.' And he was like, 'Oooookay….' I huffed it out of a rag like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I don't have a lot of memories of this show, but I remember feeling really good and I didn't care whether I was bombing or not. I probably bombed, but I felt fantastic."
In season 5 of The Eric Andre Show, our host became one with dessert. More specifically, he inserted a fistful of cheesecake into his rectum while interviewing Orange Is the New Black alum Diane Guerrero. A rush of adrenaline gave way to not so much a rush of sugar but rather regret.
"We got into a boofing kick in the writers' room. We just thought that's such a funny word, and it's such a funny way to take drugs — to put drugs in your a--hole. I've never been super high on drugs and been like, 'You know what? I wish I was even higher. I should penetrate my a---hole with ecstasy." Just take a second pill! It was just supposed to be a question. We wrote it as a question. 'You ever boof cheesecake?' But in the heat of the interview, I was like, 'If I don't actually boof the cheesecake, it's not going to have any effect.' And it was one of her best reactions. This was not a great physical sensation. I was only halfway through the interview when I did it — we film for 90 minutes — so I had another 45 minutes where it was, like, hot dairy melting between my butt cheeks. She reached out to me later and was like, 'I fell in love with the show when you boofed that cheesecake.' Her publicist was not happy with me."
In a key scene from Bad Trip, Andre and Howery desperately seek help after a below-the-belt prank goes awry. Sorry, are we not being explicit enough again? Their penises (granted, they were prosthetic) get stuck in a finger trap, sending the two men on a dangerous mission that ended in more than separation anxiety.
"The first prank Rel has ever shot in his career was us putting our dicks in a Chinese finger trap, going into a barbershop — like deep-in-the-hood barbershop — and asking the guy, "Excuse me, sir, do you have any scissors? We're stuck in this Chinese finger trap." And this dude was like, "Aw, hell nah!" We later found out he was reaching for his gun. Forgot his gun at home, grabbed a knife, chased us out with a knife. He almost killed us. This is Rel's first day of shooting, and Rel's f---ing furious. We're trying to run but we're joined at the dick —we look like Laurel and Hardy running up the street. The dick trap snaps, Rel falls down, rolls under a car, hurts his hand. I'm running for my life. Our safe word on set is "popcorn." If I yell "popcorn!" that means: end a bit, bring in security. I was so nervous, I kept saying "goosebumps!" This guy's chasing me with a knife, and I'm like, "Goosebumps! Goosebumps! Goosebumps!" My crew's hidden, but I can see them in the cars waiting for me. They're like, 'What the f--- is he doing?' I was like, 'Shit, popcorn!' Security jumped out and grabbed the guy, and we're like, 'So sorry, you're on a hidden camera show!' And he was like, 'Ohhhh, y'all are hilarious!' The guy signs the release. He's like, 'Y'all shouldn't do these pranks around here or you're going to get killed!' Rel almost quit the movie."