Etan Cohen

American film director and screenwriter

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Etan Cohen
Born (1974-03-14) March 14, 1974 (age 47)
Alma materHarvard College
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter
Years active1995–present

Etan Cohen (Hebrew: איתן כהן‎; born March 14, 1974) is an Israeli-American screenwriter and film director who has written scripts for Hollywood movies, including Tropic Thunder, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and Men in Black 3.

Early life and education

Born in Israel to a Jewish family, Cohen grew up in Efrat, Israel, and later in Sharon, Massachusetts. He graduated from the Maimonides School and Harvard College, where he wrote for the Harvard Lampoon.[1][2]


His first produced scripts, in 1995 and 1997, were for Beavis and Butthead, where he was credited as Ethan Cohen. He has since written for other Mike Judge-directed projects, including King of the Hill from 2001 to 2005, and for the feature film Idiocracy in 2006. In the late 1990s he worked on two other television series – the animated Recess and the short lived It's Like, You Know.... After scripting Idiocracy, he worked on the animated series, American Dad! and wrote the episode, "Failure Is Not a Factory-Installed Option". The American Dad! minor character of the same name is named for him.

In 2008, Cohen co-wrote, along with Ben Stiller and Justin Theroux, the action-comedy film Tropic Thunder. He also wrote Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, which earned an Annie Award nomination for best Writing in a Feature Production.

Cohen penned the script for 2012's Men in Black 3. In 2015, he made his directorial debut with Get Hard, which he also co-wrote.

Cohen wrote and directed the 2018 film Holmes & Watson. The film earned him a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director.[3]

Personal life

Cohen is an observant Jew.[4] He keeps kosher and does not work on the Jewish Sabbath and he and his wife send their children to a Jewish day school.[4]



Year Title Director Writer Notes
2006 Idiocracy No Yes Co-wrote with Mike Judge
2008 Tropic Thunder No Yes Co-wrote with Justin Theroux and Ben Stiller
2008 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa No Yes Co-wrote with Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath
Nominated – Annie Award for Best Writing in an Animated Feature Production
2012 Men in Black 3 No Yes
2015 Get Hard Yes Yes Directorial debut
Co-wrote with Jay Martel and Ian Roberts
2018 Holmes & Watson Yes Yes Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director
2022 The Bad Guys No Yes Co-wrote with Hilary Winston
Also executive producer with Aaron Blabey and Patrick Hughes
TBA Brothers No Yes Co-wrote with Macon Blair


Year Title Director Writer Notes
1995–1997 Beavis and Butt-head No Yes
1999 It's Like, You Know No Yes
1999 Recess No Yes
1999 Timon & Pumbaa No Yes
2001–2005 King of the Hill No Yes Annie Award for Best Writing in an Animated Television Production
2006 American Dad! No Yes

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2007 US Comedy Arts Festival Comedy Festival Award for Best Short Film My Wife Is Retarded Won
2019 39th Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Director Holmes & Watson Won [5]


  1. ^ Smith, Lynn (August 15, 2008). "The joke is on you". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  2. ^ Chris Lee (May 29, 2012). "The Movie Redemption of 'Men in Black 3' Scribe Etan Cohen". The Daily Beast. IAC. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  3. ^ Howard, Annie (February 22, 2019). "Worst Director - Razzie Awards: 'Holmes & Watson' Named Worst Picture of the Year". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Zeitchik, Steven (March 13, 2015). "Etan Cohen, director of 'Get Hard,' is used to confounding expectations". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  5. ^ "2019 Razzie winners announced: Full list of Razzie Award winners in all 10 categories [WATCH]". February 23, 2019.

External links

Original content from Wikipedia, shared with licence Creative Commons By-Sa - Etan Cohen