Who do you think submitted the best Emmy episode for Best Comedy Guest Actor? The Emmy Awards are unique among show business awards in deciding winners based on judges viewing samples of the nominated achievements. So which actor in this year’s race do you think has the best entry? Scroll down to read more about this year’s nominees, and vote in our poll at the bottom of this post.
“Saturday Night Live” has won this race four times since the sketch comedy’s guest hosts started competing in this race in 2009: twice for Justin Timberlake (2009, 2011) and twice for Jimmy Fallon (2012, 2014). Part of the secret of the show’s success is its episode submissions. “SNL” is a 90-minute series in which sketches are typically written around the guest hosts, which gives them the benefit of much greater screentime than their competitors. “SNL” hosts also play different characters in multiple sketches, which allows them to show off acting more range than the rivals from traditional scripted shows who are usually playing a single character. However, Emmy voting has changed in ways that don’t benefit “SNL” nominees nearly as much.
First, the TV academy has expanded voting beyond the small judging panels that used to evaluate the submissions. Now members can vote in as many categories within their branch as they wish — for performers, that means well over a dozen race — which makes it less likely that they’ll watch every submitted episode in every contest. Then there’s the plurality vote. In the past voters would rank the nominees in order of preference, but starting last year the preferential ballot was scrapped, and now voters simply select one nominee as their favorite. “SNL,” which often has multiple nominees in this category, can no longer rely on occupying the top spots on the ballots of “SNL” fans. Now “SNL” fans will have to pick and choose, which greatly increases the odds of vote-splitting.
But let’s assume the award will be determined strictly by the quality of episode submissions. Who do you think should take the title? Follow the links below to read our in-depth episode analyses, and vote in our poll.
Riz Ahmed, “Girls” (“All I Ever Wanted”): Hannah (Lena Dunham) is sent to Montauk, Long Island, on a writing assignment about middle-aged women taking surf lessons. There she encounters Paul-Louis, a cool and magnetic instructor who catches her eye. They run into each other at a bar and hit it off, and they end up spending the night together. (Read More)
Dave Chappelle, “Saturday Night Live” (“Host: Dave Chappelle”): In Chappelle’s opening monologue, he recalls a trip to the White House to meet President Barack Obama, featuring all black guests and Bradley Cooper. He then addressed the president-elect with a message of hope, admitting he would give Donald Trump a chance. (Read More)
Tom Hanks, “Saturday Night Live” (“Host: Tom Hanks”): Hanks also performs his monologue as “America’s Dad,” equating current events of the country with teenage growing pains. Additional sketches include a white redneck on “Black Jeopardy,” a satirical recreation of Hanks’s character in “Sully,” a trailer for “Broken” (which lampoons the dramatic-skewing “Transparent” competing for Emmys as a comedy), and the brilliantly weird “David S. Pumpkins.” (Read More)
Hugh Laurie, “Veep” (“Blurb”): Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) tries to appease her book editor by including salacious details about her affair with running mate Tom James (Laurie) in her memoir. After begging Selina to stay silent about their personal relationship for the sake of his family, Tom reveals on national television that he’s written about it in his book, leading to an emotional face-off between the two characters. (Read More)
Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Saturday Night Live” (“Host: Lin-Manuel Miranda”): Miranda shows off his musical virtuosity in the opening monologue with a parody of “My Shot” from his musical, “Hamilton.” He gets to sing in many other sketches, including in a campground scene, digital short “Crucible Cast Party,” and a parody of “The Music Man.” (Read More)
Matthew Rhys, “Girls” (“American Bitch”): Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham) has a tense one-on-one conversation with acclaimed author Chuck Palmer (Rhys), a writer she once admired but then criticized after allegations of sexual misconduct surrounded him. The two banter inside of his home until Hannah is able to confirm the worst about a man she once looked up to. (Read More)
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our Emmy odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on September 17. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.