Like a drunken sailor, the new bar-themed series “Horace and Pete” is about to enter untested waters. Written and directed by Emmy darling Louis C.K. — who just announced a surprise stand-up show at the Paradise in Boston — the drama was released on his own website: louisck.net. Will this be the first independent web series to earn Emmy’s stamp of approval, and might C.K. finally win an acting trophy in the process?
C.K. has conquered the Emmy Awards in recent years, winning six times in the writing categories for his FX series “Louie,” “The Chris Rock Show” and various stand-up specials. However, despite lead-acting bids for “Louie” (2011-15) and guest nominations for “Saturday Night Live” (2013-15), C.K. has never claimed Emmy glory for his acting.
Much like the program itself, the Emmy FYC campaign for “Horace and Pete” is completely self-funded by C.K. and his Pig Newton production company, meaning he paid out of pocket to ensure that every one of the TV academy’s 19,000 members received the booklet that includes the entire 10-episode series on three discs.
The dark comedy/drama is about a 100-year-old family-owned Brooklyn bar operated by the title characters played by C.K. and Steve Buscemi. The show’s heralded supporting players are a who’s-who of Emmys past, including Alan Alda as foul-mouthed bartender Uncle Pete, Edie Falco as Horace’s sister, Jessica Lange as the last girlfriend of Horace’s father and Laurie Metcalf as Horace’s ex-wife.
C.K. is hardly the first performer to make the jump from comedy to drama at the Emmys, and he won’t be the last. Just last year, Uzo Aduba won Best Drama Supporting Actress for “Orange is the New Black” after previously winning Best Comedy Guest Actress for the show’s first season. And then there’s seven-time champ Ed Asner, who won Emmys for comedy (“Mary Tyler Moore” in 1971-72, 1975), movie/miniseries (“Rich Man, Poor Man” in 1976; “Roots” in 1977) and drama (“Lou Grant” in 1978, 1980).
While his FX staple “Louie” took the year off, C.K. is still on the acting Emmy ballot twice: Best Drama Actor for “Horace and Pete” and Best Comedy Guest Actor for “Portlandia.” (Visit our forums to view the link to the 2016 Emmy ballot.) TV academy members, that means you’ll have two chances this year to finally give C.K. that much-awaited Emmy hug for his acting.
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