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How Nollywood Can Make Better Comedy Movies

by Chukwunwike Ezegbu
How Nollywood Can Make Better Comedy - Nollywood Celebs

It is common knowledge that Nollywood’s most commercially successful movies yet fall under the overused genre of comedy, and this has sadly led to an excessive story, faces, and even characters recycling. This has led to other genres of films getting neglected, which is not a good look for the Nigerian movie industry.

Even if we understand that most producers stick to the devil they know with these comedy projects, or that this genre has since fallen under the “man must chop” umbrella, it is still very clear that something has to be done to salvage our comedy films, and fast.

It might seem as though the focus is shifting with the recent launch of movies like “Ile Owo” (An horror project that Nigerians have been praising,) “Ratnik,” “For Maria: Ebun Pataki,” “Juju Stories” and so on, showing in Nigerian cinemas, but even at that, there shouldn’t have to be a shift of focus if the comedy genre can stop attracting underwhelming projects.

The simple is truth is that, if our movie makers are very hell-bent on making comedy movies, they just have to make the really good ones that will deliver a good taste and a better aftertaste. They need to start thinking about comedy ideas that deliver depth amid the laughter and fun these movies are supposed to offer. It is a conversation that must be had, so the Nollywood heavyweights that get excessively defensive when these truths are spoken should calm down and listen to the voice of reason.

For these buzz first, quality later Nollywood filmmakers, making a proper comedy movie should not require deep thought. How wrong they are, because, even if offering entertainment is the ultimate goal of cinema, it is clear that these box office “comedy blockbusters” do not even guarantee this entertainment.

All the producers do nowadays is invest in top marketing and proper casting, and that’s all. Even when they know the storyline is completely shallow, I am sure they still back themselves to release these projects and expect a large turnout at their premieres, all because star names are involved. Very sad.

For anyone in the Nollywood industry who is willing to listen, popular Hollywood producer and actor, Tyler Perry is the example to follow for the perfect comedy movie. As we all know, Tyler makes use of this beautiful genre to shed light on racism and other black struggles in American society, while guaranteeing laughter and excitement among his audience. This is the perfect combination of humour and artistic message we are missing from several comedy projects in Nigeria.

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Outside-the-box thinking from scriptwriters is clearly lacking in Nollywood at the moment. Nowadays, we watch a Nigerian comedy movie and wonder the reason why the actors involved gathered for the project in the first place. Several sequels come to mind right now but names cannot be mentioned.

The reality is that if we had to come up with a list of comedy movies made in Nigeria that have managed to deliver entertainment and artistic brilliance in recent years, the number will be extremely low. It kind of feels like filmmakers have concluded that since they cannot deliver the artistic depth our comedy projects badly need, they can just focus on half-baked entertainment in quick succession. This will benefit no one in the long run as quantity will never replace quality when it comes to movie satisfaction among viewers.

I might still have a lot to learn about Nigerian cinema, but one thing is sure, Nigerians are hilarious and amazing creative thinkers when they want to be, and Tyler Perry has only one head.

How Tyler Perry Became A Comedy Example:

How Nollywood Can Make Better Comedy - Tyler Perry - Nollywood Celebs

Popular Hollywood heavyweight, Tyler Perry is nothing short of a comedic genius, and it is all because he is the writer, director, producer, and actor of the historic comedy project, “A Madea Homecoming,” which has established itself as the standard of comedy for most movie lovers.

He is not actually great because his eleven Madea films to date have grossed over 1 billion dollars at the North American box office, but because he somehow managed to achieve his film success with a little, thoughtful motivation called compassion.

Recently asked why he even feels the need to make people laugh and feel good, the owner of Tyler Perry Studios, a state-of-the-art film and television production facility based in Atlanta, simply said being the head of a successful company, while ensuring he stays close to his crew, made up of ex-prisoners and people who have been through all kinds of things in their lives, gives him a different insight to life and comedy.

According to him, being close to his workers gives him first-hand information on what everyone is dealing with and going through, and this makes him react in ways that can make them feel better. He recently revealed that, throughout his career, his major audience has always been African American women, therefore he just had to keep doing what they loved and connected to.

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Tyler said since he joined Hollywood, he has worked really hard to master the art of telling stories that are African-American specific, to a certain audience, a particular group of people that he knows and grew up with, people he speaks the same language with, and this made him build his own world despite several critics failing to understand a thing he does.

According to the Hollywood producer, he hired Black and brown people missing from the roasters of rival companies, focused on relatable stories while collaborating with Netflix which streams worldwide, so success was always inevitable.

He added that being around women a lot while growing up, especially his mother, sisters and aunts, went a long way in granting him access to understanding various things that they were going through and how they handled them.

Already a household name in most movie homes across the globe, Perry says he just wants to set a good example to the upcoming generation who look up to him and his work. He wants these youngsters to realize that they can be whatever they want to be as long as they never stop believing in themselves while working very hard to make their dreams come true.

Tyler Perry surely knew all it took to stand out in a very competitive movie industry, and stand out he did.

5 Funniest Nollywood Movies On Showmax:

We all appreciate a good laugh every now and then, and Nollywood has proven to be a good source for that over the years. On a popular platform like Showmax, Nigerian movie fans are actually blessed with lots of options to select from and they all help you relax, especially after a very stressful and tiring day at work. So it doesn’t matter if you are a fan of slapstick, romcom or action-comedy, see our rich list below:

1. The Big Fat Lie (2019):

This Nigerian romantic comedy movie tells the story of a man who is known for lying his way into his dreamiest fantasies. James, a hotel attendant, eventually ran into his celebrity crush, Eni Williams, and he decided to pretend to be a Navy captain, a good idea because Williams fell for the uniform.

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He, however, stretched the game further with lots of lies that eventually landed him in big trouble, and the movie evolved from then on. This project starred actors like Rita Dominic, Blossom Chukwujekwu, Tana Adelana and Ushbebe.

2. Banana Island Ghost (2017):

How Nollywood Can Make Better Comedy - Chigirl - Nollywood Celebs

This is a Nollywood supernatural action-comedy project about a ghost who is looking for a soulmate in Banana Island. Patrick then decides to ask God to give him 3 days to locate her before he is taken to heaven. Despite preferring the beautiful Damilola Adegbite, Patrick finds himself having to settle for the fun, difficult-to-love Ijeoma.

This hilarious movie features top acting talents like Chigurl, Saheed Balogun, Bimbo Manuel and Patrick Diabuah.

3. The Accidental Spy (2017):

How Nollywood Can Make Better Comedy - Ramsey Nouah - Nollywood Celebs

This is a superb action-comedy film about an IT specialist who went from being heartbroken to winning the lottery, and then becoming a spy. Emmanuel Prince who was referred to as Manny by his friends eventually found himself in the middle of an assassination plot he never bargained for. This movie is filled with a lot of fun scenes you will remember for a long time.

It features major actors and comedians like Ramsey Nouah, Ay, Christine Allado, Ali Baba, Emma Oh Ma God and Dan Allen.

4. 200 Million (2018):

After he got deported from the United States of America, JJ reunites with his friend, Udo to explore crime, especially money r ituals, as a means to amass wealth and live it big. He, however, experienced several events that will end up changing his life forever. This funny movie simply tackles a very serious subject with lots of humour.

It is also packed with superstars like Owen Gee, Daniel Lloyd, Odunlade Adekola, Frank Donga and so on.

5. Brother Jekwu (2016):

This is a slapstick comedy about a village champion who is very full of himself. Jekwu talks about the average Nigerian’s dream of leaving the nation for greener pastures – but the main character in this movie only ended up getting stuck in an unforgiving world of crime in another man’s land. Luckily for him, however, Brother Jekwu ended up surviving and returning home in one piece.

It is a very funny movie that is centred on the life and experiences of an uneducated Igbo man. The rich cast for this project includes Mike Ezuruonye, Angela Okorie, Wofai Fada and Klint D Drunk.

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