“Have A Good Trip” Is a Hilarious Doc on Psychedelics That We All Need Right Now

Photos courtesy of Netflix / “Have a Good Trip”

Can trees talk? What should you know when taking psychedelics? Are they a legitimate treatment for depression? These equally important questions are tackled in Donick Cary’s Have A Good Trip, a Netflix documentary featuring stories about tripping from A-list actors, comedians, and musicians. Carey, the former lead writer for The Late Night Show with David Letterman and co-executive producer for The Simpsons, breathes life into the weird and enlightening elements of psychedelic experiences through animation and reenactment, which is just as ridiculous and hilarious as it sounds. 

And what better way to permeate the stronghold of the anti-drug mindset within the US? In a nutshell, the doc functions as a pro-psychedelics PSA. It’s an antidote to DARE, and illustrates that you can take psychedelics, have mind-sloshing experiences, and still maintain a wildly successful career. It pokes fun at “Just Say No”-era programming, which essentially is an extension of Reefer Madness. The doc also touches on the positive impacts that psychedelics can have on our mental health. But, most importantly, it also expresses that these substances aren’t for everyone. 

The ‘80s anti-drug PSAs throughout the film are classic and hilarious, but also a bummer knowing how much damage they did to the collective’s approach to and understanding of drugs — not to mention how that mentality eventually led to the arrests of thousands of non-violent drug offenders. It’s clear Have A Good Trip presents a new narrative. What is your advice to those hoping to contribute to the new narrative around psychedelics and the associated movement?

Those were a way to shoot something we thought was funny. But, yes, also really acknowledge and point out this attitude that’s been pervasive for 40-50 years, that these drugs are only dangerous and scary and illicit, which just isn’t the reality when considered rationally.

I grew up in Reagan’s “Just Say No” America and the War on Drugs. All this stuff was lumped together, and scaring people was the rule of the day. Sex gave you AIDS, and drugs made you jump out of windows. Anyway, luckily, we seem to be entering a much more sane era of conversation in this space. Sadly, I think it’s partly because we are running out of ideas and time as humans on this planet. We don’t talk to each other, or more importantly, listen to each other. The planet is going down in a ball of fire, and the mental health crisis and addiction rates are putting us all in a state of constant existential angst. So, we need to “zoom out” (to quote Reggie Watts) and “think outside the box” (to quote Sting). We need help wherever we can get it! 

My advice for those hoping to contribute and ease this conversation into the mainstream is to lean into the therapeutic uses with facilitators treating the big stuff — depression, anxiety, addiction!  So much good work to do here for people who need help! Don’t stop people from getting better.


Finally, what is your most pivotal psychedelic experience to date?    

Making this doc! I’m only sort of kidding. But, it was “trippy” getting into the heads of all these people. I would say that if you fully commit to anything and give it your whole attention and focus, you can have a meaningful, life-changing “psychedelic” experience  listening to music or meditating or really loving someone or writing in your journal or watching a good movie — JUST FULLY DOING IT! We forget to just do one thing.

Travel has always been psychedelic for me. Flipping your brain around and experiencing a new culture and sharing life with people somewhere you had never imagined before. I will say that I’ve been deep in the Amazon and was visited by a smiling armadillo.  We had a lot of laughs, and they let me know that it’s “OK — I understand.” So, that was a relief. It all defies words. Hard to describe, right? 

It’s like that profound understanding feeling you get, you know — the one when you suddenly feel like you just get it, whether it’s a joke that makes you laugh harder than you’ve ever laughed (like some deep-rooted universal cosmic joke passed down from cavemen times about the absurdity of human existence, and suddenly you understand the punchline!) or the bigger just getting “IT,”  like all of it, all at once. You know, when you suddenly understand the way the universe is wired and how humans are part of that wiring. 

When you embody the understanding that connection is fueled by love and understanding and empathy, and you realize how amazing it is that all this understanding exists right here in our brain, but we barely ever feel it. It’s crazy that it can suddenly be accessed with hallucinogens! Why aren’t we using them more if they’re there!? Like, maybe we are supposed to be evolving towards them and opening those pathways. 

Understanding is in there waiting for us —  if we could just spend time massaging open those pathways, if we could just stop and focus for, like, two or three generations. Unfortunately, there is so much to binge, and so much click-bait to click, and so many live streams, and TikToks to watch. Maybe our kids will figure it out. Ha! Get to work kids!

“Have a Good Trip” is now available on Netflix. Watch the doc here!

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