If there’s one thing I know with my heart it’s that Stephen Colbert should be in the Emmy race for Best Comedy Actor. It’s not something I learnt in a book, but it is a truth that I feel in my gut. So with entry deadlines closing for this year’s Emmy cycle on May 3rd, I let out another plea for Colbert to take up the call and run in this top category, not just for the good of himself, not just for the good of the Emmys but for the good of America.
Let me revisit the argument I made from last year as to why he should be able to enter in this category and then lay out why he could win. A word of warning: since Hollywood and the academy are made up of liberal, Ivy-league educated, elitist, fact-inistas; I am going to need to meddle in the dark arts of logic, facts and (worst of all) reason.
Why Colbert Should Enter:
1. In 2009 the academy dropped its variety performance category leaving Colbert to wander the television wilderness without an Emmy category to call home. A regular on a sketch comedy show was then able to enter the supporting acting comedy series races. However, the Emmys were flexible with this rule in 2010, allowing Tracey Ullman to compete as Comedy Actress for her sketch show “State of the Union.” This has established a precedent that should allow Colbert to submit in lead actor for a comedy series.
2. But wait a second there! “#The Colbert Report#” is not a sketch show like “State of the Union” or “SNL,” so he can’t get in. His show is different to those I agree but I’d make the argument that it is a type of sketch show. Ultimately the show is made up of a series of short comedy vignettes or segments — ‘The Word,’ ‘Better Know a District,’ ‘Formidable Opponent’ and interviews. Colbert plays the same character in all of those. He just happens to play the same character in all of them.
3. However, should a talk show host be competing in an acting category? Unlike the other hosts on late night, Colbert is giving an acting performance. It’s would be absurd for them to consider “SNL” appearances more acceptable entries in the comedy acting categories than that of Colbert. He spends 75 hours of television a year developing and honing a consistent character with depth. The real Colbert is arguably much more of a deviation from his character than past comedy nominee Jerry Seinfeld and winner Ray Romano who were playing fictionalized versions of themselves.
Why Colbert Can Win:
1. To win, he will need to get nominated. Because he’s an unconventional entrant, it would be far from a guarantee but the category has room for him. However, after Jim Parsons, Alec Baldwin and Louis C.K. there are no other locks. Colbert is a recognisable and iconic name that would potentially catch the attention of Emmy voters skimming the ballot of names. The academy would be foolish to resist a contender that will bring a in a built in passionate fan base to the telecast and would likely garner some media buzz and attention to the category.
2. If nominated, he will need to submit an episode to be viewed by a panel. He will have more than 150 episodes from which to choose, and pretty much all have him in every scene. It’s a showy dynamic performance that is so different to the others nominated it will stand out to the voters. If he chooses well he could be a real force.
3. There is no clear frontrunner he has to overtake: Parsons and Baldwin have already won twice; Louie C.K. wasn’t able to win last year with a double length Iraq episode in a weak field; Jason Bateman’s work is yet to be seen; and I’d be surprised if Jon Cryer can win again (knock on wood).
So come on Comedy Central and Stephen Colbert, submit yourself in the Comedy Best Actor race this year and academy accept that nomination.
If for no other reasons do it for America and the ‘truthiness.’