At the Emmy Awards, nominated actors and actresses must submit one episode that showcases their best work from the eligible season. Lead and supporting performers select episodes following the nominations announcement, but guest stars name their submissions on the Emmy ballot, so we already know what episodes will be considered for Best Comedy Guest Actor. The slate this year: the last two winners, a pair of “Saturday Night Live” hosts and a pair of new recurring players on newly-minted Best Comedy Series winner “Veep.”
Larry David, “Saturday Night Live” – Gold Derby odds to win: 5/4 (#1)
David hosted “SNL” for the first time in his career, in the twelfth episode of the season, with musical guest The 1975. He appeared in five additional episodes this season, including the one hosted by rival nominee Tracy Morgan (detailed below), doing an impression of Bernie Sanders, who makes a cameo himself in David’s episode. An Emmy winner for producing and writing “Seinfeld” in 1994, this is David’s second nominated performance, following five nominations as Best Comedy Actor for “Curb Your Enthusiasm” from 2003 to 2012.
Official ballot description: “Larry performs his stand-up routine for his monologue. Parodies include a film where Larry, as Bernie Sanders, stars in a take-off on his hit show, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm;’ an immigrant trying to escape a sinking ship; and a loser in a bar.”
Peter MacNicol, “Veep” – Gold Derby odds to win: 6/1 (#3)
His submission “Thanksgiving” marks his first of five appearances on “Veep” thus far as Jeff Kane, uncle of Jonah Ryan (played by series regular Timothy Simons). This is MacNicol’s first nomination since he won Best Comedy Supporting Actor for “Ally McBeal” in 2001.
Official ballot description: “Congressional Kingmaker Jeff Kane is tasked by the Meyer Administration to transform his nephew, Jonah Ryan, into the newest Representative from New Hampshire. Prone to sewer-mouthed fits of rage, Kane loves dressing down his inferiors (read: everyone else). Despite using campaigning tactics as odious as his personality, Kane emerges victorious.”
Tracy Morgan, “Saturday Night Live” – Gold Derby odds to win: 11/5 (#2)
Morgan hosted the third episode this season, featuring Demi Lovato as musical guest. A regular cast member from 1996 to 2003, Morgan has made sporadic cameo and hosted in 2009. This is his first nomination for “SNL,” having been nominated as Best Comedy Supporting Actor for “30 Rock” in 2009.
Official ballot description: “Tracy marks his triumphant return and talks about his recovery during his monologue. Tracy reprises his recurring characters Brian Fellow on “Safari Planet;” Sci-fi Astronaut Jones; and homeless man, Woodrow.”
Martin Mull, “Veep” – Gold Derby odds to win: 40/1 (#6)
Mull’s submission “The Eagle” marks his second of four appearances on “Veep” this season as adviser Bob Bradley. Mull is the only first-time Emmy nominee in the category this year. The last first-timer here was Gary Cole two years ago, also for “Veep;” he then joined the regular cast.
Official ballot description: “Bob Bradley, a.k.a. ‘The Eagle,’ is a veteran political strategist hired by President Meyer to oversee the Nevada recount. Bradley’s undisclosed dementia eventually hinders the recount and ultimately, Bradley is forced into a Congressional basement office — where he and the other D.C. relics can do no harm.”
Bob Newhart, “The Big Bang Theory” – Gold Derby odds to win: 20/1 (#5)
Newhart won his first-ever Emmy two years ago for his debut performance as Arthur “Professor Proton” Jeffries. He reprised the role twice last season and received another nomination for his second appearance, which depicted Arthur post-mortem. He appeared this season in “The Opening Night Excitation,” again as a ghost during dream sequences.
Official ballot description: “After more than five years of dating, Sheldon and Amy spend their first night together; while Leonard, Howard and Raj must decide who will take their extra Star Wars movie ticket. Arthur (Bob Newhart), Sheldon’s Obi-Wan, advises him on his difficult relationship decisions.”
Bradley Whitford, “Transparent” – Gold Derby odds to win: 12/1 (#4)
Whitford won an Emmy last year after four guest appearances as the cross-dressing Marcy May. This season, Whitford appeared instead as historical figure Magnus Hirschfeld for a trio of cameos in flashbacks to 1933 Germany. His submission “Oscillate” is his middle episode this season.
Official ballot description: “Pioneering physician and sexologist, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld’s work shaped the zeitgeist of Weimar Berlin. A Polish-Jewish immigrant, Magnus takes sisters Gittel and Rose under his wing. When Gittel chooses to stay in Berlin, where her gender identity is recognized, Magnus promises to watch after her as she lives her truth.”
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