2019 Emmys: Thoughts on Comedy
Plenty of love for streaming services, seconds seasons, and familiar winners, plus stacked competition. Here’s a look at the comedy categories.
The Good Place
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Will Win: Veep
Should Win: Fleabag
Glaring Omission: One Day at a Time
Two previous winners are re-entering the game. Veep and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I have always sung Veep’s praises, but this season, save the finale, was one of the show’s weaker instalments. It could have also dropped off voters’ radars during its lengthy hiatus, despite winning three times prior. Maisel won last year for its brilliant first season. I’m not too sure if it will win again. If voters are looking for a change they may turn to Fleabag, which would be a deserved win.
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Bill Hader, Barry
Don Cheadle, Black Monday
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Eugene Levy, Schitt's Creek
Will Win: Bill Hader, Barry
Should Win: Bill Hader, Barry
Glaring Omission: Jim Carrey, Kidding
Hader won last year, and this category loves to reward previous winners. Add to that, the extra depth he brings to the darker sophomore affair, and although his performance leans more dramatic, its bearing outshines its company.
Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
Catherine O'Hara, Schitt's Creek
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Should Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Glaring Omission: Pamela Adlon, Better Things
I don’t envy the Emmy voters here. A win for JLD would be a record, and her submission episode (the finale), is once again phenomenal and displays her open range. Her final scene is heartbreaking. It is the type of performance that would warrant anyone else an Emmy too. The other performers vying for the top place include Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Rachel Brosnahan. Waller-Bridge has the power of Fleabag behind her, and Brosnahan a previous win.
Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
Anthony Carrigan, Barry
Tony Hale, Veep
Stephen Root, Barry
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Henry Winkler, Barry
Will Win: Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Should Win: Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Glaring Omission: Andrew Scott, Fleabag
It’s great to see the company of Barry noticed and it’s surprising that the Hot Priest from Fleabag was snubbed. On the other hand, Tony Shalhoub is infectious in Maisel. He commands the scene with a brand of neurosis and transfixing wit. He also has the goodwill of a generous script helping him to a win.
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Sian Clifford, Fleabag
Olivia Colman, Fleabag
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
Sarah Goldberg, Barry
Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Will Win: Olivia Colman, Fleabag
Should Win: Olivia Colman, Fleabag
Glaring Omission: D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place
Once again, stacked. Even with eight nominees, some worthy players don’t make the cut. Olivia Colman has a fighting chance here. Not only is the industry on a bit of Colman-fever right now, but her biting and seriously hilarious portrayal of the Godmother is an instant classic of a performance. I would also love to see Anna Chlumsky win in her final year of eligibility and Sarah Goldberg who brought her character’s complexities to a truly human level.
Barry, The Audition
The Big Bang Theory, The Stockholm Syndrome
Fleabag, Episode 1
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, All Alone
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, We're Going to the Catskills!
Will Win: Fleabag, Episode 1
Should Win: Barry, ronny/lily
Glaring Omission: Russian Doll, Ariadne
Fleabag will win as director Harry Bradbeer did a fine job moulding the characters and script around a somewhat frantic flair which included those beautiful fourth-wall interactions. On another note, ronny/lily, from Barry, is one of the best episodes of television in recent memory and you would think that sentiment should be echoed with an award win. Bill Hader’s balancing act of martial arts, classic film influences, dream sequences and physical comedy is a feat. Ronny/lily’s disadvantage: it is not really a comedic episode. Voters still love to reward traditional comedy in this field. See Atlanta’s Teddy Perkins.
Fleabag, Episode 1
The Good Place, Janet(s)
PEN15, Anna Ishii-Peters
Russian Doll, Nothing in This World Is Easy
Russian Doll, A Warm Body
Will Win: Fleabag, Episode 1
Should Win: Fleabag, Episode 1
Glaring Omission: Ramy, Between The Toes
It’s serendipitous to end with this category. The initial step of this process. We are in a truly unique time of comedy. Have a look at the nominees. We have mockumentaries, oddballs and satire. Phoebe Waller-Bridge for Fleabag is a lock-in. Her writing is polished and subversive. From a writing standpoint, the screenplay is a joy to read. The intervals are short, leaving enough space for the words to flow. Her accounts of place are short; characters succinct. With a script like this, where could Fleabag have gone wrong.