“What everyone would probably say is Carol Burnett! That would be such a coup. That would be insane,” declares Ellie Kemper when asked during our recent webcam chat (watch above) as to who she would most like to present an Emmy Award with on this year’s ceremony. Kemper is a first-time nominee for Best Comedy Actress on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” She spoke to us in the spring, long before Emmy nominations were announced, adding, “To go out and stand beside her, that would be very cool. It might be too much red hair going on. We might cancel each other out.”
Kemper plays the title character, a woman held captive for 15 years in Indiana by a lunatic reverend (Jon Hamm). Freed at the start of the first season on Netflix, she moved to New York, made friends with a struggling actor (Tituss Burgess), her street-smart landlady (Carol Kane), and a self-absorbed wealthy woman (Jane Krakowski). At the end of the first season, she had to return to Indiana for a trial that saw her captor sent to prison. In season two, she has left her job as a nanny and is trying several different lines of work, including a stint as an elf in a Christmas shop and an Uber driver. The season features guest appearances by Amy Sedaris, Anna Camp, David Cross, Jeff Goldblum, Lisa Kudrow, and Tina Fey.
Of the transition from one season to the next, she says, “I’ve never been part of a series from the genesis, so this is very cool to make the leap from the first season to the second season and see how much deeper you go. This picked up right where the last season left off. I think what was so cool about this season was that each character gets so much story to explore and learn so much about individual character.”
On working again with Fey who now plays Kimmy’s therapist Andrea, Kemper says, “My initial reaction to everything is to panic, so at first I panicked like ‘You better bring it, Ellie!’ But then my second reaction was that it was a total thrill because she’s been a hero of mine for a very long time. I think that dynamic of night Andrea vs. day Andrea is perfect because you get to have the comedy of her drunkenness and then during the day it’s actually gritty, hard, meaty stuff they are tackling.”
Kemper has chosen the episode “Kimmy Goes to a Hotel” to submit for Emmy voters to watch as her submission. According to the official Netflix listing: “On Fake Christmas, Kimmy and Dong take a trip to the Poconos, and a Jewish family claims that Jacqueline’s prized Mondrian is rightfully theirs.”
Will Kemper win as Best Comedy Actress against defending champ Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”), past winners Laurie Metcalf (“Getting On”), Amy Schumer (“Inside Amy Schumer”) and Lily Tomlin (“Grace and Frankie”), and rookie nominee Tracee Ellis Ross (“black-ish”)? Be sure to make your Emmy predictions right here. You’ll compete to win our contest prizes for best picks — $500 (first place), $300 (second place) and $200 (third place) in Amazon gift certificates — a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Emmys). Be sure to read our contest rules.