Being really funny in a sitcom no longer awards you the Emmy for supporting actor in a comedy. The supporting characters are usually the sidekicks. The Robins to the Batmans. And because of that, they’re usually the comedic relief. They’re what Chandler Bing was supposed to be: the funny guy you bring it when you need a joke to land. The problem is that comedy has broadened its horizons in recent years.
Series that blur those lines are being added into the comedy foray—Louie, Girls, and Orange Is the New Black. Do you reward a hilarious performance, or do you reward a poignant one in a show that sometimes produces laughs?
Well, I’m going with the former for my first pick. Parks and Recreation’s Chris Pratt has been consistently funny for several seasons now. A character that could have been one-note and tiring actually is anything but. And while some of the others on this list can produce a good dramatic performance, Pratt can do the same while absolutely nailing comedic timing. Most everyone making lists like these point out the other members of the cast who have not gotten Emmy recognition. Pratt somehow not even getting recognition from bloggers is a travesty!
But sometimes the inverse deserves as much recognition. That’s why I’d be hard-pressed if I didn’t mention Adam Driver‘s continuously captivating performance on Girls. It’s such a strange, yet wonderful character that he’s created. And this season, it just seemed like more of the same. Driver appears to have always understood his character since season one, earning him an Emmy nomination last year. So thankfully it appears he’s been allowed to the cool kids’ table, now they just need to nominate him again!
And speaking of actors who put their entire energy into a role, I have to also mention Danny Pudi of Community. Community has about zero percent chance of being recognized by the Academy, but you can’t blame a man for putting it on his blog, right? I think Pudi and Uzo Aduba from Orange Is the New Black must be the most frenetic and wonderful performers of our time.
The same could also be said for Lamorne Morris of New Girl. For some time there, I didn’t really like Winston, because he seemed all over the place and kind of like a jerk (which is a shallow reason, I know). But over time, Winston’s all-over-the-place-ness became not only kind of endearing but downright hilarious. Though I stopped watching New Girl—no fault of Winston’s—I would love it if Morris got some recognition for the whacky role and performance he puts in every week.
And over on The Mindy Project, Ike Barinholtz makes Morgan equally as ridiculous, and just as lovable. Barinholtz easily slips into the cadence of Mindy while pulling off every line effortlessly. In a show crowded with characters, Morgan never feels like he’s cramping up the screen. Plus I want everyone who had anything to do with MadTV to be super-famous.
And lastly, I don’t think anyone truly made me laugh more in an eight-week span than Zach Woods on Silicon Valley. I never thought anyone could make “pivot” as funny as David Schwimmer did way back when, but Woods had me laughing out loud during the season finale. And the entire episode of him getting into the self-driving car was pure gold, all thanks to his performance.
Honestly, I would also nominate Taran Killam from Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, I don’t have an Emmy ballot, but if I did, I would vote for all of these gentlemen. Now that I’ve gone through my list, who’s on yours?