Have you ever seen a boring comedy movie? Despite the flaws of a comedy movie, there's no such thing as a 'bad' comedy film.
The highest grossing Nigerian movie is the 2014 "30 Days in Atlanta" with over 137,000 million naira.
It is common knowledge that an average Nigerian is more likely to see a comedy movie than any other genre. Comedy is a genre that will always have an audience; a genre that can never go wrong. There is no such thing as a bad film when it comes to comedy. Especially, in Nigerian, where most people possess a high sense of humour, and find reasons to laugh in the most mundane statement.
Nigerians find humour in every genre. I remember going to the cinema to see Kunle Afolayan's "The CEO." The audience erupted into laughter at various scenes I found myself indifferent to. The mere use of words like "yarnsh" had them laughing so hard. I remember watching one of the Nollywood movies that screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, and thought it was a bad attempt at comedy - applaud it for every other 'perfection,' but not comedy. However, the movie 'sold out' and some of the audience in the cinema hall had found it funny. How? I kept asking.
An average Nigerian would rather watch "Okafor's Law," "The Wedding Party," "Wives on Strike," "It's Her Day," "Ghana Must Go" in the cinema, than watch "Gidi Blues," "Dazzling Mirage," "The CEO," "93 Days," or any other movie they consider too serious or with so much depth. The comedy genre humorously exaggerates a situation, language, action, and characters - a feature that makes it appealing to its viewers.
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Nigerians being more comedy inclined does not in any way reduced the value of the Nigerian film industry. It also doesn't mean that comedy movies are not deep. There are comedy movies with strong messages. There are comedy movies with themes and direction. "Wives on Strike" and "Ghana Must Go" tackled important issues. While the later had numerous faults, it had a message, it had something to offer, and it had an audience, because it is comedy. And there is always something hilarious in the most boring comedy movie.
In recent times, other genres have found ways to infuse humour, irrespective of the tension surrounding the plot. Intense movies and series like "Inglorious Basterds," "House of Cards," "Game of Thrones" among others, still find a way to deliver an appropriate dose of comedy in every episode.
Comedy does not necessarily require words to deliver a comic scene. There is something called silent comedy, where a character gives the audience a dose of laughter without dialogues. Take for instance, Femi Durojaiye's character in the 2016 movie "It's Her Day." He was able to make the audience laugh without saying a word.
Why do people prefer comedy to drama? The first reason why people watch comedy movies is because they want to be entertained. Nobody wants to go through the day listening to recession reports, arguing over dollar rate, being involves in political debates, and settle for a complex movie with so much drama and seriousness. A lot of people have a stressful life, and they need time to rest and to calm down and escape away from work, politics, and every other thing regular by watching comedy films.
There is also the simplicity that comes with comedy movies. There are predictable, simply structured, and easy to comprehend. Comedies are light-hearted dramas, created to amuse and entertain. A Nigerian is more likely to sit through an action, tragedy or any other genre with elements of comedy. It doesn't need to have a happy ending.
Preferring a comedy movie to any other genre has nothing to do with unseriousness or lack of depth. It has more to do with the fact that 'life is already too serious' to sit through sad and sappy movies.