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- Jan 22, 2011
Have a Good Trip: celebrities share wild psychedelic stories for Netflix
May 12th, 2020
May 12th, 2020
Read the full story here.A lifelong comedy writer, Donick Cary knows full well that some entertainers radiate a sort of effortless interestingness. They’re good off the cuff, they have an unending backlog of amusing stories, and they share these anecdotes with colorful, spellbinding delivery. “My experience on Letterman was always that if we could find funny people and follow them around, we’d get something good,” Cary tells the Guardian by phone from his home quarantine. “Easier on the writers, too.”
That’s the presumption around which the new documentary Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics has been built. The film compiles a selection of candid, revealing interviews recorded over the last 11 years with a jam-packed roster of talent, all of them getting real about their dalliances with mind-altering substances. Their recollections run the gamut from the transcendent to the euphoric to the silly to the nightmarish, forming a surprisingly sober-minded portrait of drugs as a subjective force neither good nor bad, depending only on how a person uses it.
“I’ve always loved documentaries, real stories about real people,” Cary says. “I was at the Nantucket film festival about 11 years ago, and Ben Stiller’s on the board. Fisher Stevens was also there to launch The Cove, and we all ended up in a conversation about psychedelics and people’s experiences, which turned out to be so entertaining. The Aristocrats had come out a few years before, and I realized how much I liked this vibe of an extended dinner party, with everyone sharing a story.”
So began an off-and-on project that would stretch out over the next decade, as Cary undertook the work of securing interview times with a lineup of subjects that he estimates as somewhere between 75 and 100. The array of familiar faces making the cut ranges from standup and sketch’s usual suspects (Nick Kroll, David Cross, Sarah Silverman) to musical luminaries (A$AP Rocky, Sting) and late legends with an unexpectedly poignant presence (Carrie Fisher and Anthony Bourdain appear posthumously). “We were at the mercy of 100 celebrities’ schedules,” Cary says. “Someone like Sting would be available, but he’s got a concert tour and he’s doing a stage show in London and all this other stuff. He was great, though. We just had to wait nine months.”
Restricting himself to an 89-minute run time meant that he had to ditch the lion’s share of footage on the cutting room floor, a pain that years of “killing your babies” in writers’ rooms had prepared him for. Nevertheless, that left him with some great tidbits of his own. He says he’s got enough material for three or four more features, which might afford him a place for the clips with Whitney Cummings, Patton Oswalt, Bootsy Collins and Ed Ruscha, a cursory sampling of his unused favorites. Some A-listers, like Dave Grohl and Paul McCartney, just weren’t gettable. In other cases, Cary got the goods, but had trouble clinching permissions.