The comedy landscape for television has changed immensely in the last year. While longtime running favorites like The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family are still on-air, there was a void left by the NBC triumvirate of Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock and The Office.
Consider that void filled by HBO and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Netflix has produced binge-worthy hit-after-hit with original programming like Master of None, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Grace & Frankie while Amazon has made their mark with their award winning shows, Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle. Meanwhile, ABC has stuck to the “comedy about a family” formula with some success, churning out shows like Black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, and The Goldbergs.
Predicting comedy categories is tough because comedy is so subjective, but there shouldn’t be too many supporting actor/actress categories filled with players from the same show. There’s plenty of talent out there deserving recognition, and I hope my guesses pan out to show it.
Outstanding Comedy Series
Coming off 5 big Emmy wins a year ago, Veep is in full stride. It’s a show, while best watched episode by episode, that you can tune in and and enjoy at any point. In a year where politics and the presidential election is topping our headlines, Veep‘s excellent writing and acting has provided much needed relief and satire for it.
Silicon Valley (HBO)
I personally feel this is the best comedy on television right now. Every episode exudes the genius of Mike Judge (and I’m not one for hyperbole), and every character offers killer punchline after punchline. As good and popular as Veep is, Silicon Valley is as deserving, if not more worthy of a “Best Comedy” win.
Amazon has proved recently to be an excellent source for original comedy. Their tentpole, or at least the starting flag, is definitely Transparent. Where Veep hits the topical political satire, Transparent is at the forefront of representing the LGBT+ community and does so better than anyone else.
Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon)
I’ll admit, I hadn’t checked out Mozart in the Jungle until after its Golden Globe success this past season. I’m so glad I did though…One of the easiest binge-watches ever with such charming characters and great music. I actually accidentally watched the 2nd season first, because I was new to the Amazon Prime platform, and it was the best mistake I ever made.
Master of None (Netflix)
Netflix has been producing excellent programming for years now, but Aziz Ansari’s Master of None may have been it’s best true comedy. As funny and well-written as Orange is the New Black is, it’s really a drama. Master of None used an episodic formula that was similar to Louie, but eliminated the standup and awkwardness. Ansari’s storytelling and delivery was very natural and felt real, as were his relationships with characters on the show.
Broad City (Comedy Central)
Broad City has made waves on Comedy Central for a few years now and the creator/star combo of Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson deserve their recognition now. The Writers Guild gave it a “Best Comedy Series” nomination this year which leads me to believe the Emmys aren’t far from doing the same.
Modern Family (ABC)
Before last year, this category BELONGED to Modern Family. They won “Best Comedy Series” 5 years in a row and the only show to ever pull that off was Frasier, from 1994-98. I believe new programming and other powerhouses have certainly caught up, in terms of content and creativity, but Modern Family is still good for the multiple belly-laughs each episode.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
It’s a favorite for many and definitely picks up from the middle to end, but I don’t believe the 2nd season grabbed you like the first.
Black-ish became more than a half-hour family comedy this year, unafraid to tackle difficult issues in “special” episodes that haven’t been pulled off in years.
Grace and Frankie
Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterson’s second season of relationship breaking and building was even better than the first. Sam Elliott as a love interest doesn’t hurt either.
Outstanding Lead Actress
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, ‘Veep’ (HBO)
There’s not much you can say when JLD has won this category four years in a row.
Gina Rodriguez, ‘Jane the Virgin’ (CW)
Gina Rodriguez wasn’t nominated last year, after winning the Golden Globe for her role in the same same season. Her work on Jane The Virgin brought some serious legitimacy to the CW, and a nomination would right the wrong that was made a year ago for not recognizing it.
Rachel Bloom, ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ (CW)
Also giving the CW more credibility is Rachel Bloom, who won the Golden Globe this in the same category. The comedy/musical-hybrid series is much more of a delight than the title suggests and it’s carried by Bloom, whose character is as dynamic as any in the field.
Amy Schumer, ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ (Comedy Central)
If have no problem saying that Amy Schumer’s brand of sketch comedy is doing laps around Saturday Night Live, and her show continues to do so its 4th season.
Ellie Kemper, ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ (Netflix)
All you need:
Constance Wu, ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ (ABC)
While I’m still not very keen on the title of this show, Constance Wu is the anchor of this 90’s based comedy from ABC. The sooner she gets the recognition for it, the better.
Lily Tomlin, ‘Grace and Frankie’
It’s very likely Lily Tomlin will taking a spot from anyone above.
Ilana Glazer, ‘Broad City’
Abbi Jacobson, ‘Broad City’
Outstanding Lead Actor
Jeffery Tambor, ‘Transparent’ (Amazon)
After winning a year ago, it’s easy to assume Jeffrey Tambor will be nominated again for his lead role in one of the most brilliantly titled programs on Television.
Gael Garcia Bernal, ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ (Amazon)
Gael Garcia Bernal’s character, Rodrigo, is one of the most fascinating and lovable ones on television. He oozes with a passion and love for his craft and orchestra that almost inspires the viewer…or at least makes you continue binge-watching his show.
Will Forte, ‘The Last Man on Earth’ (FOX)
Will Forte took a concept that nobody knew could make it past the first pilot, and turned it into an a creative world that nobody expected. Post SNL/MacGruber life has been very good to him.
Aziz Ansari, ‘Master of None’ (Netflix)
As mentioned before, Aziz’s delivery in Masters of None is incredibly natural and previous Parks and Recreation fans a much chiller side than Tom Haverford ever had.
Thomas Middleditch, ‘Silicon Valley’ (HBO)
What Rami Malek does for Mr. Robot, Thomas Middleditch sort of does for Silicon Valley. While not needing to carry the show of a great supporting cast, he still nails the introverted mad genius thing. He also handles most social situations like many of us would probably like to admit.
Jim Parsons, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ (CBS)
Jim Parsons didn’t receive a nomination last year, but won 4 out of the 6 years before. For as long as Big Bang Theory continues to run, Sheldon Cooper remains to be the most interesting part of the show. In this past season, we saw him develop well beyond the way he had before and that should bode well for Parsons come nomination time.
Andy Daly, ‘Review’
Awesome and underrated concept show on Comedy Central, where Andy Daly plays a sweet and lovable character…forced to do horrible things.
Bruce Campbell, ‘Ash vs. Evil’
Fans of the cult classic franchise were not disappointed by the sequel series. Not one bit.
Billy Eichner, ‘Difficult People’
Because we all want to see Billy Eichner with a chance to win. He’s America’s sweetheart.
Outstanding Supporting Actress
Anna Chlumsky, ‘Veep’ (HBO)
Like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, castmate Ann Chlumsky is regular nominee. Unlike JLD, she hasn’t won yet. It’s a ridiculously tough category, but her performances consistently warrant a win.
Allison Janney, ‘Mom’ (CBS)
Alison Janney is a TV Powerhouse. She has 6 Emmy wins from 3 different roles (The West Wing, Masters of Sex, and Mom). She’s the reigning champ for now and it will be interesting to see if she can repeat.
Julie Bowen, ‘Modern Family’ (ABC)
Julie Bowen has come a long way since Happy Gilmore…Her 2 Emmy wins and nominations for each of the past 6 years is a serious testament to her work and role on Modern Family.
Sofia Vergara, ‘Modern Family’ (ABC)
Sofia Vergara hasn’t been nominated since 2013, but she still delivers the biggest punchlines on Modern Family.
Judith Light, ‘Transparent’ (Amazon)
Tambor and Bradley Whitford won Emmys a year ago and it’s time for Judith Light to join her castmates in nominations, at the very least.
Chelsea Peretti, ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (FOX)
Chelsea Peretti is considered more of a darkhorse contender, but she’s a huge reason I tune into Brooklyn Nine-Nine as often as I can. I would also be most interested in hearing an acceptance speech from her than anyone else.
Kate MicKinnon, ‘Saturday Night Live’
I imagine she’ll be nominated over at least 2 of the above hopefuls, because she’s the best thing Saturday Night Live has going.
Mayim Bialik, ‘The Big Bang Theory’
Like Sheldon Cooper, you can never count out Amy Farafaler.
Amanda Peete, ‘Togetherness’
Although Togetherness is no longer on the air, Amanda Peete was great on it and needs something better to talk about Late Night talk shows than her husband’s work on Game of Thrones.
Outstanding Supporting Actor
Tony Hale, ‘Veep’ (HBO)
Despite never being nominated for his awesome work as Buster Bluth on Arrested Development, Tony Hale has done very well for himself on Veep with 2 wins in the last 3 years. His character, Gary Walsh, is the ultimate kiss-ass and has been key for years of awesome punchlines.
T.J. Miller, ‘Silicon Valley’ (HBO)
TJ Miller is having a very awesome run of late, scoring big in Deadpool and being casted in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming adaptation of ‘Ready Player One’. As Silicon Valley continues to rack up critical acclaim, it wouldn’t be a shock to hear his name called when nominees are announced. His Erlich Bachman character continues to evolve and surprise audiences, episode to episode.
Louie Anderson, ‘Baskets’ (FX)
As a former producer who was flaked out on by Louie Anderson for a radio interview, it takes a lot for me to say he was brilliant on Baskets as Zach Galifianakis’ mother…He really was. It would be a great story to recognize the veteran comedian’s comeback too.
Ty Burrell, ‘Modern Family’ (ABC)
Ty Burrell has become an institution when it comes to Emmys and Modern Family. From the pilot thru 7 seasons of the ABC comedy, his energy and performance has lasted like the Energizer Bunny. The category would feel a little empty without him.
Andre Braugher, ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (FOX)
Nobody does straight-face/deadpan better than Andre Braugher on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Malcolm McDowell, ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ (Amazon)
Whether it’s a Rob Zombie film, a TNT bro comedy (Franklin & Bash) or series about the New York symphony orchestra, Malcom McDowell brings such a fun fascination and elegance to whatever he’s working on. Playing the old maestro trying to finish his masterpiece in Mozart in the Jungle, McDowell is a big reason I couldn’t turn this show off for an entire weekend.
Titus Burgess, ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’
Voters love Titus Burgess and with good reason. I have no doubt he’ll replace one of my favorites above.
Tim Robbins, ‘The Brink’
One of the most underrated performances in the last year. Tim Robbins made The Brink appointment television for me last summer.
Keegan-Michael Key & Jordan Peele, ‘Key and Peele’
These are the funniest people on TV and should great as much credit as possible for the great work they did on their now former sketch show.