Emmy spotlight: Jason Sudeikis brings heart to ‘The Last Man on Earth’

jason sudeikis the last man on earth will forte fox emmy awards 13579086

Emmy voters, I feel your pain. I can’t imagine anything more cumbersome than wading through the endless guest-acting ballots each year to find the six most worthy contenders for each category. That’s why I’m going to make things easy on you. When it comes to Best Comedy Guest Actor, Jason Sudeikis brings the heart to “The Last Man on Earth” and must be on your list. In fact, don’t even bother filling out the rest of the ballot. He’s that good.

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We know Emmy voters are watching “Last Man” because they gave it four nominations last year: Best Comedy Actor (Will Forte), Best Comedy Writing (Forte), Best Comedy Directing (Phil Lord and Christopher Miller) and Best Comedy Editing (Stacey Schroeder). Will that number grow for the Fox show’s much-heralded sophomore season?

If Sudeikis is honored with a nomination, the eleventh episode of Season 2, “Pitch Black,” will undoubtedly be his episode submission. It’s an actor’s showcase for Sudeikis, who plays Mike Miller, brother to Forte’s Phil Miller. The episode is essentially a two-hand play between Sudeikis and Mark Boone Jr., with none of the other characters — including Forte — even making an appearance.

In the half-hour, Mike leaves outer space and crash-lands in the ocean, where he soon meets Boone’s character, Pat Brown, aboard his yacht. Both men believe they are the last living humans, with Pat taking Mike to Miami to show him hundreds of dead bodies who were victims of the virus. When Mike sees an “Alive in Tucson” sign written by his brother, he decides to leave Florida and travel to Arizona.

Sudeikis is a pro at physical comedy, whether it’s crashing into the ocean, piloting his aquatic tricycle, or fighting with Boone on the beach. But he also earns major empathy points as the audience feels for him when he wanders the vast ocean for three days with his pet worm, reminiscent of Tom Hanks and Wilson in “Cast Away” … only with laughs.

Like Forte, Sudeikis is a veteran of “Saturday Night Live” who’s been able to find great success after leaving the sketch comedy show. After starring roles in “We’re the Millers” and “Horrible Bosses,” he has several projects on the horizon including a voice-over in the new “Angry Birds” movie.

Emmy voters, the time is now to finally let Sudeikis into your club.

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Photo credit:  Kevin Estrada/FOX

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