If TV.com Ran the Emmys: Our Dream Nominees for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

By Kaitlin Thomas

Jun 16, 2014

The 2014 Emmy nominations ballots are out, which means it's time to decide whose names we'd like to hear called on Thursday, July 10 when the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences announces the shows and actors who're officially in the running for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards.

I asked some of my fellow TV.com staffers to join me in choosing our dream nominees, and after hours of internal debates and monologues that would make even Scrubs' JD tell us to shut up already, we've boldly narrowed down our picks—and as you'll see at the bottom of this page, we're prepared to defend them, too!

Each day for the next couple weeks, we'll be bringing you our highly sought-after, well-respected, and very prolific thoughts and opinions on which shows and actors should make the cut. We've already revealed our selections for Supporting Actress in a Comedy, Supporting Actor in a Comedy, and Lead Actress in a Comedy, and today we're discussing leading men.

Editors' Note: You may notice that some of our nominees don't match up with the official Emmy ballots. That's not a mistake; we've taken a few liberties because we're only "dreaming" about the 10 "major" categories, and we didn't want to leave out deserving performers based simply on their submission strategies and our coverage plans. In come cases you may see folks from the miniseries and guest-star races in our lead and supporting wish lists.


WHY ADAM SCOTT: Every great comedy needs a straight man, and no one does the job better than Adam Scott as Parks and Recreation's Ben Wyatt. Pawnee, Indiana might be one of the kookiest places on Earth, populated with the merriest band of crazies we've ever seen, and Scott excels at allowing Ben to fit in while also appearing more normal and levelheaded than most of his friends and coworkers. He can deliver deadpan reaction shots like nobody's business (especially when it comes to Li'l Sebastian... or holograms of Li'l Sebastian), while also selling Ben's geekier side (via the invention of Cones of Dunshire, his adoration of Game of Thrones, and more) so it feels like you're laughing with him, not at him. Plus, he's also really great at all the emotional stuff, too. — Kaitlin Thomas

WHY CHRIS MESSINA: The Mindy Project's titular character isn't the only one swooning over Danny Castellano. He's a strong guy with strong convictions, and Messina's portrayal of him is delightfully antagonistic—he really owns the role of "curmudgeon with a heart of gold." The actor expertly marries Danny's machismo and pride with all the vulnerabilities and quirks that make him so lovable, from an extreme sense of loyalty and some pretty heavy relationship baggage to his penchant for wearing little red reading glasses and his unparalleled skill in building gingerbread houses. Since the start of the series, Messina has toned down Danny's initial gruffness and evolved the character from stock grump to a warmhearted goofball with grump tendencies, and The Mindy Project is all the better for it. Also, the dude can dance— Jen Trolio

Who would YOU nominate for Lead Actor in a Comedy?

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  • AndreaMcCooey Jun 17, 2014

    Chris Messina definitely!
    Louie C.K. because obviously.
    I like Jake Johnson as Nick Miller, but I feel like New Girls S3 was so weak that he doesn't really deserve a nod this year. I think he was stronger last season. In fairness, Max Greenfield is carrying that show at the minute.

  • Megan719 Jun 16, 2014

    Just give Chris Messina ALL the awards! He is amazing on TMP

  • shocker713 Jun 16, 2014

    I'm not necessarily implying that whether or not a show gets renewed reflects its quality or the quality of its actors, but why does everyone seem so in love with cancelled shows in these lists?

  • Gislef Jun 16, 2014

    Hate to keep bringing it up (sorta), but... Toby Maguire in Spoils of Babylon.

    If nothing else, he should get the Leslie Nielsen Award for ability to recite the longest and most inane dialogue while maintaining a straight face.

    "How can your heart be still while the Earth continues its rotation?!? What cruel force spins us round on this day when all should stop to join in your... stillness? Can not the Earth forestall its diurnal course but for a while so that we can all share your eternal sleep? Oh that I could make it so! Like Prometheus I would be chained for eternity to the coldest rock while eagles tear at my flesh, in exchange for just one more breath of air from your... sweet, innocent lips. Ah, shoot, Marianne, I don't know what to say, I never been much for words."

  • shocker713 Jun 16, 2014

    I have no problem with Spoils, I just think it's a better fit for the miniseries categories.

  • docspector Jun 16, 2014

    The problem with this category is that I like ensemble comedy, where you don't have to rely on just one character to deliver the comedy. When that's done well, there isn't a "lead actor". Jim Parsons is a lead, Johnny Galecki isn't (you could still do the show if Mr. Galecki left, but not if Mr. Parsons left.) Joel McHale is not a "lead" on Community... there the key piece of the puzzle is Danny Pudi. Therefore, Galecki and McHale are nominees in the "Supporting" category, where they get to compete with their castmates for nomination.

    Can people be nominated for voice roles in animated shows? Because Joel McHale was pretty good in "G.I. Jeff", but there are all those Simpsons voice actors, still finding something funny about their characters a quarter-century into playing them.

  • JT_Kirk Jun 16, 2014

    Can we really nominate Louis CK for COMEDY this year? Not a lot of laughs, although a 90-minute PSA probably will get some recognition.

  • shocker713 Jun 16, 2014

    "Fat chicks need love too."
    *The MORE you KNOOOOOOOW...*

  • BigPoppaShizzle Jun 16, 2014

    Seems that I'm the only one who can't stand Thomas Middleditch.

  • DesolaKazeem Jun 16, 2014

    It's not just you- He's the worst part of Silicon Valley for me. I love watching all the other guys, but his voice and awkwardness make me cringe.

  • mad-pac Jun 16, 2014

    Ironically, the one I'd vote for.

  • ElisaDiaz Jun 16, 2014

    I don't watch enough comedies to have a list of nominees (I mean, I do watch comedies, but not from the latest seasons in general, so it would not work for Emmys). But I still think Jim Parsons is great. I know, I know, it's boring, he's always winning :) But hey, this time at least there is one nominee from that show, in one of the writers lists. It makes it more realistic, as TBBT is still a hit in the comedies side.

  • missjudgment Jun 16, 2014

    Yay, thanks for recognizing Chris Messina, he's awesome.

  • Whedonrules Jun 16, 2014

    Lead Actor Comedy Series

    Louis CK 'Louie' (Louie)

    Jim Jeffries 'Legit' (Jim)

    Jordan Peele 'Key and Peele' (Various Characters)

    Nick Kroll ' Kroll Show' (Various Characters) - He took his idea from last year and this year made it into must watch television. Exceptionally funny dude who is always working and always making people laugh.

    William H. Macy 'Shameless' (Frank Gallagher) - Just brilliant work this season as Frank was on death's door. Aided by the great addition of Emily Bergl as Frank's eldest daughter 'Sammi'. They used to give awards to veteran character actors for this kind of performance. (Just not in Comedy.)

    David Duchovney 'Californication' (Hank Moody)

    on the edge (but Duchovney has been awesome as 'Californication' makes its way through its final season and he's done the character longer) - Andy Daly 'Review' (Forrest McNeil)

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