The Best Comedy Actor Emmy category will likely be packed with ‘SNL’ alums and acolytes

If you want an Emmy nomination for Best Comedy Actor, make sure to have a strong association with “Saturday Night Live.” This is how the race is shaping up heading into the 2022 Emmy Awards, with “SNL” alums Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”) and Bill Hader (“Barry”) expected to face off against each other for the first time. But they are likely to be joined by a host of other familiar faces seen many times before in Studio 8H.

Following their citations at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Steve Martin and Martin Short are also predicted to land bids for their co-starring turns in “Only Murders in the Building.” Martin has hosted “SNL” a whopping 15 times, recently appearing on the John Mulaney-hosted episode to welcome him into the exclusive Five-Timers Club. Short was a cast member for one season back in the ’80s and has gone on to host three episodes himself, making two additional guest spots in 2021.

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But that’s not all. Larry David, who wrote for “SNL” in the ’80s and has hosted twice in recent years, is also back in contention for the latest season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” David is one of the most overdue actors competing this year, amassing six nominations in Best Comedy Actor since the early 2000s but never winning the trophy. In a similar spot is Kenan Thompson, who has been an “SNL” cast member since 2003 but has never won an Emmy for acting (though he did win in 2018 for co-writing a song for one of the show’s sketches). Thompson was nominated for his NBC comedy series “Kenan” last year and could get in again this time around for Season 2.

Additional “SNL” alums who are outside contenders in this category include Andy Samberg for the final season of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and Will Forte for “MacGruber.” Samberg won an Emmy for writing the song “Dick in a Box” from “SNL” back in 2007, but he has never even been nominated for acting. Meanwhile, Forte is a previous two-time Best Comedy Actor nominee for “The Last Man on Earth.”

To make the category even more competitive, we may see the return of Donald Glover for the long-awaited third season of “Atlanta.” Glover won this category in 2017 and earned a comedy guest actor bid the next year for hosting “SNL.” Finally, the Emmys love to make room for Don Cheadle, who hosted “SNL” in 2019 and has accrued a stunning 11 Emmy nominations without ever winning. He may just earn his 12th this year for the final season of “Black Monday.” Regardless of what combination of stars makes the lineup in Best Comedy Actor, it’s safe to say that “SNL” showrunner Lorne Michaels may have a particularly hard time figuring out who to vote for.

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