For at least a decade now, comedy and comedians have bled into all corners of entertainment, because it sells. People love to laugh, and so advertising, sports shows, award shows, morning shows, late night shows, afternoon shows, gossip shows, fashion shows, reality shows and just about every type of entertainment you can think of have been absorbing comedy in increasing amounts like a dry needy sponge.
Now, programmers are finding out that stuffing comedy into every crevice has a downside. Risk. Comedians are flawed characters who say crazy things. Like America’s comedy/action sweetheart Kevin Hart who was removed as host of the Oscars after old tweets resurfaced, and Hart refused to bend his knee and apologize.
Injecting comedy into award shows wherever possible has helped hike ratings, but controversy-adverse network television is going to be increasingly shying away from comedy personalities, once they realize that their new more extensive vetting process leaves them with a lot fewer choices for Network broadcasts.
So Emmy didn’t want a host this year and ratings are down 23% leaving television with a conundrum to ponder. But that’s something to leave for a later date.
Without a host to open the show, FOX turned to someone they could have complete control over– Homer Simpson– to start the evening’s events. This set-off a short sketch with Anthony Anderson and Bryan Cranston that developed into what sounded remarkably like a speech that advertisers might here at annual Upfronts.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) September 23, 2019
So nobody could blame you if you tuned out, particularly with Sunday Night Football to turn to. But if you did switch off the Emmys you missed some awards going to some great comedy stars, but you can read the list right here.
The comedy story of the night belongs to Phoebe Waller-Bridge and her four wins for best comedy series, lead actress in a comedy series, writing in a comedy series, and to director Harry Bradbeer for directing in a comedy series for the Amazon series Fleabag. If this sounds confusing to you, it only means that you haven’t heard of the highly-rated-yet-still-under-rated series starring creator Waller-Bridge and Olivia Coleman, Brett Gelman, Jenny Rainsford, and Sian Clifford. Fleabag swept away the comedy series win from serious contenders Barry, The Good Place, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Schitt’s Creek, Veep and Russian Doll. Two of those series were in their last Emmy Contention run. Waller-Bridges best actress in a comedy series win also came against brilliant competition with Christina Applegate (Dead to Me), Rachel Brosnahan (Maisel), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll) and Catherine O’Hara (Schitts Creek) up for the award. But Fleabag is brilliant, Phoebe is sublime and if you’re not watching it, you have a phenomenal surprise waiting for you.
HBO’s Barry may not have won best comedy series or best writing in a comedy series, but Bill Hader came up with the win for best comedy actor in a comedy series. The former SNL star, by the way, was caught on the red carpet ducking a question about Shane Gillis and Saturday Night Live. He did answer a follow up question that was less specific, offering that he didn’t believe comedy should hurt anyone’s feelings.
Fleabag’s incredibly talented supporting cast lost out to the Marvelous Mrs. Maisal’s Tony Shalhoub and Alex Borstein who won best supporting actor and actress awards.
In other awards, Saturday Night Live picked up a win for best variety series beating out, At Home With Amy Sedaris (truTV), Documentary Now! (IFC), Drunk History (Comedy Central), Who Is America? (Showtime) and the recently cancelled I Love You, America With Sarah Silverman (Hulu). SNL also won best directing for the episode hosted by Adam Sandler. Don Roy King picked up that Emmy beating out directors for Documentary Now, Drunk History, Last Week Tonight, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and Who is America. Team Last Week Tonight with John Oliver added another two Emmy Awards to HBO’s pile (Variety Talk Show and Writing for Variety Show) beating out late night shows helmed by Trevor Noah, Samantha Bee, Jimmy Kimmel, James Corden and Stephen Colbert in the first category, and SNL, Documentary Now, Colbert, Bee and Seth Meyers in the second.
RuPaul’s Drag Race won for best reality competition.
The comedy highlights of the night included appearances from two legends, Bob Newhart and Norman Lear in separate appearances. Particularly Newhart demonstrating that his comedic timing hasn’t dulled. thing you may have missed that you’ll want to check out is Ben Stiller going through network television comedy history before bringing the brilliant Bob Newhart out to a huge ovation.