Why Are Old Egyptian Comedies Funnier Than New Comedies?

Think back to your most treasured movie moments as a kid. Going through them you will notice there’s a lot of Harry Potter, a ton of Spiderman (they rebooted him 65 thousand times) and a lot of punchlines from several Egyptian movies.

In fact, if you weren’t really into international movies as a kid, then all your favorite movie moments are from Egyptian movies. With all those lines from Fool El-Seen El-3azeem, Zaki Shan, and literally everything Hassan Hosny has ever said, it’s not exactly shocking why.

Now, think about this: Isn’t it strange how there hasn’t been any funny movies in a while? You don’t even have to scratch your head that hard to know that not one movie has made you laugh till your ribs hurt the same way early-to-mid 2000’s comedies did.

And, well, we have a few theories as to why this is A Thing.

Memes and old comedies go hand in hand

This might sound weird to a lot of people but, yes, memes have a great, widely unthought of impact on Egyptian pop culture. To the point where some people have actually seen or recognized old comedies simply from the memes. Sure, that’s also related to how much these movies shaped up our sense of humor, but the point still stands – if you didn’t know a movie before a meme, you do now.

imagine for a second, the sad reality without Boshkash memes

Now, think about new comedies. Movies like El-Kowayeseen, El-Badla, Kheir w Baraka, Kalb Balady…etc. How many of those movies have you seen portrayed in memes? Exactly. That’s their cultural impact.

The scripts were just better back then

We don’t want to sound mean, we really don’t, but the lack of good and/or original scripts in the Egyptian entertainment industry isn’t the nation’s best-kept secret. Actually, it’s kind of obvious.

even adaptations felt different

In the late 90’s, Egypt started discovering comedic talent in screenwriters and performers and churned out some of the best hits, peaking in the mid-2000’s. Around 2013, though, those scripts were almost nowhere to be found and comedies just took a deep dive they never recovered from.

Comedic geniuses were flexing hard

You knew it was coming. A big part of comedy success in Egyptian cinema is that, well, the comedians involved were nothing short of brilliant. The delivery, puns, confidence, and charisma actors like Alaa Walieddine, Ahmed Helmy, Mohamed Heneidy, Mohamed Sa’ad, and others brought wasn’t exactly something we couldn’t notice.

Compare that to the landscape now and you’ll see what we mean. Today, you’ll rarely find anyone betting on aspiring comedians’ talents in movies and TV shows and everything goes to the same people we know and whose shows we kind of avoid annually.

Comedy didn’t come with a big side of internet jokes

Okay, so maybe we’re the only ones who are noticing this but have you noticed that every joke in every recent movie reads like something you’ll find funny on Twitter? Sure, sometimes the delivery makes it hard to see, but most times, you can really see it – you can see the tweet that inspired the joke burn in your head because it’s just so obvious.

not a movie, but the point stands — everything’s like this if you squint

And sure, sometimes the humor translates well but sometimes, it really doesn’t. That’s why format differences are a thing.

Egyptian cinema is just more into action these days

As we researched for this, we noticed something important. At the start of the 2000’s, most Egyptian films released were comedies. The year 2005 alone had 18 comedies – more than we’ve seen in the last three years combined. You might think we’re exaggerating, but we’re really not. In the last three years, we’ve had about 14 comedy films in total.

This may sound surprising, but is it? With focuses on films like Torab El-Mas, El-Kenz movies, El-Feel El-Azraq triology, Welad Rizk; our cinema industry is clearly planning to focus more on the action genre for now, meaning comedy will just have to wait.

From El-Lemby to El-Kowayeseen, clearly something has gone wrong with Egyptian comedy.