Emmy episode analysis: Can Mel Brooks’ advice on ‘The Comedians’ lead to fifth win?

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EGOT winner Mel Brooks is looking to add to his immense trophy collection this year with his nomination for Best Comedy Guest Actor for the FX show “The Comedians.” This is the 12th Emmy bid for Brooks and would be his fifth career trophy. He won Best Variety Writing for “The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special” in 1967 and then won this category three times in a row (1997-1999) for playing Uncle Phil on “Mad About You.” This year Brooks is nominated for playing himself on the episode “Celebrity Guest.”

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Billy Crystal visits Mel after he finds out that the premiere of his new sketch comedy show with Josh Gad has been pushed back. After joking with Billy about Josh’s last name and how awful Carl Reiner has aged, Mel reassures Billy that both he and Josh are talented and the most important thing they can do is be true to themselves and not rely on gimmicks. When Josh hears about Billy’s meeting with Mel, he takes action and has the writers start working on sketches to put Mel in. Billy apologizes to Mel, but then asks if he would consider guest starring on their show. Mel says he will help them by not doing it because it’s important for them to establish what they want the show to be without any distractions, such as a celebrity guest.

Mel remembers that he and a comedian in the Catskills went through the same thing and the other comedian never went anywhere. Mel then recalls that it was Bob Hope. At the end of the episode, Mel tells Billy about how he was always able to rely on a career in show business because of his ability to recreate the noise of a screaming cat. Can Brooks add another Emmy to his already crowded mantle? Let’s examine the pros and cons:

It’s Mel-freaking-Brooks! The man is a living legend and this category has been known to go to industry vets like Bob Newhart, Tim Conway, Leslie Jordan, Gene Wilder and Reiner.

The bits that Brooks has in the episode are very funny and it’s hard to imagine voters not smiling by the end of them.

Even if voters don’t watch the episode, the urge to vote for Brooks might be too hard to ignore.

FX had a lot of hope for this show and it did not do well. The news earlier this summer that the show was canceled after a single season and mixed reviews does not bode well for Brooks.

Performers rarely win Emmys for playing themselves or versions of themselves. Only two people have done it and they were both in the Best Comedy Guest Actress category: Betty White for “The John Larroquette Show” (1996) and Emma Thompson for “Ellen” (1998).

There’s no emotional arc for Brooks in the episode, as it’s just him talking to Crystal.

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Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FX

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