Memo to TV Academy: Allow Stephen Colbert to contend for Comedy Actor

If there’s one thing I know with my heart it’s that Stephen Colbert should be in Emmy race for Best Comedy Actor. I know this because that’s what my gut tells me. My gut tells me that for 150+ episodes a year he gives an outstanding performance that deserves to be included in this top Emmy category that has gone to TV comedy legends such as Alan Alda, Ted Danson and Carroll O’Connor.


I know this to be true not because it’s something I learned in a book, but rather it is a truth I feel. That being said, I know that the TV academy is made up of liberal, Ivy-league educated, elitist, fact-inistas. So in order to make the case for Colbert I am going to need to meddle in the dark arts of logic, facts and (worst of all) reason.

In 2009 the academy dropped its variety performance category leaving Colbert, along with a slew of other hosts, to wander the television landscape without an Emmy category to call home. The Emmys also brought in a rule that regulars on sketch comedy shows may enter in the supporting comedy races. However, the Emmys were flexible with this rule in 2010, allowing Tracey Ullman to compete as Comedy Actress for her sketch show “State of the Union.”

Could one make the argument that Colbert is a regular on a sketch show? Yes, if you consider the segments that make up “The Colbert Report” — ‘The Word,’ ‘Better Know a District,’ ‘Formidable Opponent’ and interviews — to be a collection of stand-alone comedy sketches in which Colbert just happens to play the same character. And the Emmys could bump him up to lead just like they did with Ullman.

Even if the academy rejects that line of argument, it’s absurd for them to consider sketch comedy performances more acceptable entries in the comedy categories than that of Colbert. He spends 75 hours of television a year developing and honing a consistent character with depth. The real Stephen Colbert is even more of a deviation from his character than past comedy nominees Tim Allen, Jerry Seinfeld and winner Ray Romano were from the TV versions of themselves.

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I ask the academy to allow Colbert to be a late entrant on this year’s ballot (coming out June 11).  At the very least, they should review their rules so there will be no doubt he can compete in the race next year.

Academy, if you don’t want to do it because it makes sense, OR because it will strengthen the ballot, OR because a possible Colbert nomination will add buzz and attention to the category … then at least do it for the ‘truthiness.’

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