Ready the trolley! Ted Danson and Maya Rudolph put ‘The Good Place’ on the map with two Emmy nominations

One of my Emmy wishes came true! I previously wrote that Ted Danson deserved a nomination for playing demonic architect Michael on “The Good Place,” and voters surprised me on Thursday morning by doing one even better. Joining Danson on the list of 2018 Emmy nominations is guest star Maya Rudolph, who took on the role of burrito-loving Judge Gen in the final two episodes of Season 2. Danson and Rudolph’s nominations are the first for NBC’s cerebral comedy after it was skunked last year. Now can either of them succeed in actually riding this trolley all the way to the winner’s circle?

In the race for Best Comedy Actor Danson notably faces off against last year’s winner Donald Glover (“Atlanta”), who’s on an Emmy roll as he’s also up for directing, writing and producing his FX series as well as hosting “Saturday Night Live.” Yes, that means Glover himself has more than twice as many nominations as the entire “The Good Place,” but who’s counting?

SEE 2018 Emmy nominations: 50 most unforgivable snubs include ‘Outlander,’ ‘Will & Grace,’ ‘The Good Doctor’

Of course, Danson is no stranger to the Emmy Awards either, receiving 11 nominations in this category alone for “Cheers” and winning twice in 1990 and 1993. Joining Danson and Glover as the other four Best Comedy Actor nominees are Bill Hader (“Barry”), Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”), Larry David (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and William H. Macy (“Shameless”).

For Best Comedy Guest Actress Rudolph’s competitors are Wanda Sykes (“Black-ish”), Jane Lynch (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Tiffany Haddish (“Saturday Night Live”), Tina Fey (“Saturday Night Live”) and Molly Shannon (“Will & Grace”). Our earlier predictions gave Haddish and Fey the best odds to win, but if it’s an “SNL” star voters are looking for, why not Rudolph? She rose to fame on the late-night sketch series, starring for nine seasons (1999-2008) before enjoying a successful career in TV and film. Rudolph’s Emmy bid for “The Good Place” marks the second of her career following her 2012 stint as “SNL” guest host.

“The Good Place” has an extremely passionate — albeit small — fan base, but clearly many of the fans are TV critics. Danson took home a trophy earlier this year at the Critics’ Choice Awards while his co-star Kristen Bell was also nominated. And the show was recently recognized at the 2018 TCA Awards as Program of the Year, Best Comedy Series and Best Comedy Performance for Danson.

PREDICT the Emmy winners now; change them until September 17

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 17. Be sure to also predict winners for the Creative Arts ceremonies slated for September 8 and 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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