The Grammys are about more than just music. The recording academy also rewards comedy and spoken word recordings, and this year Amy Schumer picked up nominations in both categories. These are the first nominations for Schumer, so will she win Best Comedy Album on her first try? To do so she’ll have to overcome a longstanding Grammy bias against female comedians.
Schumer contends for “Live at the Apollo,” whose televised version on HBO earned her Emmy nominations for Best Variety Special and Best Variety Special Writing back in September. Her feminist comedy has earned her acclaim and a previous Emmy victory for Best Variety Sketch Series for “Inside Amy Schumer” (2015). “Inside Amy” was the first female-centered show to win Best Variety Series since “Tracey Takes On…” in 1997, and Schumer will have to shatter a similar glass ceiling at the Grammys.
In the last 30 years, only one woman has won: Kathy Griffin in 2014 for “Calm Down Gurrl.” And since the category was established in 1959, only four other women have prevailed: Jo Stafford (“Jonathan and Darlene Edwards in Paris,” 1961), Elaine May (“A Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May,” 1962), Lily Tomlin (“This is a Recording,” 1972) and Whoopi Goldberg (“Whoopi Goldberg: Original Broadway Show Recording,” 1986).
Two other women have a chance to make history in this category as well, making this the first time in Grammy history that women hold a majority of nominations. One of Schumer’s rivals is Margaret Cho (“American Myth”), who is nominated for the fourth time and is aiming for her first win. And Tig Notaro (“Boyish Girl Interrupted”) is nominated for the second time; “Boyish Girl” also earned Notaro an Emmy nomination for Best Variety Special Writing along with Schumer.
That Emmy for Variety Special Writing ultimately went to Patton Oswalt for “Talking for Clapping.” He’s nominated for that recording here as well, so perhaps he’s really the one to beat in this contest. This is his fourth nomination in the last eight years, but he has yet to win.
Rounding out the category is David Cross for “…America…Great…” He’s nominated for the second time, and since he too is awaiting his first victory, we can be sure of one thing: this category is guaranteed to crown a brand new champ.
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