Emmys 2014 Editors' Picks: Who We Think Should Win in This Year's Comedy Categories

By Cory Barker

Aug 22, 2014

Somehow, the Emmys are already upon us. The telecast is airing nearly a month earlier than usual this year, and on a Monday (August 25 at 8pm on NBC), to boot. Although many of the nominees didn't quite satisfy our dream choices, we here at TV.com are still committed to making sure the best possible people and shows take home the shiny trophies. Yesterday, we kicked things off with the miniseries races, and today we're all about those big LOLs in the comedy categories. Will Modern Family's reign of terror continue, or will great contenders like Orange Is the Black and Veep pry the trophies away from ABC's cold, dead hands? Regardless of the outcome, here's who we believe deserves some new hardware.



Fred Armisen (Portlandia), Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Adam Driver (Girls), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), and Tony Hale (Veep)


Tony Hale (2013), Eric Stonestreet (2012), and Ty Burrell (2011)


Andy: Andre Braugher | Cory: Tony Hale | Jen: Andre Braugher 

Kaitlin: Andre Braugher | Nick: Fred Armisen | Noel: Andre Braugher | Tim: Tony Hale

WHY FRED ARMISEN SHOULD WIN: Can you think of another sketch comedy series that has a richer mythology than Portlandia? It's like Fred Armisen wanted to do a show where he could be every returning character he ever wanted to be without a live audience or Lorne Michaels' Canadian browbeating holding him back. And he's kind of amazing in all of them. I finally get Fred Armisen. —Nick Campbell

WHY ANDRE BRAUGHER SHOULD WIN: Throughout Brooklyn Nine-Nine's first season, the show's MVP often wasn't one of the comedians in the cast, but Andre Braugher, an actor known for his more serious roles on HomicideGideon's Crossing, and Men of a Certain Age. As Captain Holt on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Braugher manages to elevate deadpanning to new heights in increasingly absurd situations—never cracking a smile, never allowing Holt's serious and stoic personality to slip, explaining in crisp and clear tones that he finds Wii Tennis "very intuitive" and that he's already seen Safe House (he enjoyed it). I mean, the guy even managed to deadpan a pop-and-lock. On a show of clowns, Braugher has become the funniest member of the cast by not playing "funny" at all. —Noel Kirkpatrick



Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory), Julie Bowen (Modern Family), Anna Chlumsky (Veep), Allison Janney (Mom), Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is the New Black)


Merritt Wever (2013) and Julie Bowen (2011 and 2012)


Andy: Anna Chlumsky | Cory: Kate Mulgrew | Jen: Kate McKinnon 

Kaitlin: Allison Janney | Nick: Kate McKinnon | Noel: Kate Mulgrew | Tim: Kate Mulgrew

WHY KATE McKINNON SHOULD WIN: As much as I love Anna Chlumsky on Veep and Kate Mulgrew on Orange Is the New Black and even Allison Janney on Mom, the crazy-eyed Kate McKinnon is becoming as invaluable to Saturday Night Live as Kristen Wiig was before her. While the sketch show will always have its ups and downs, McKinnon is a constant highlight, fully committing to every character she plays, whether she's doing more "routine" SNL stuff like impersonating German Chancellor Angela Merkel or Ellen or going all out with Russian peasant lady Olya Povlatsky or licking Louis C.K.'s face. Plus, seriously, those eyes. —Jen Trolio

WHY ALLISON JANNEY SHOULD WIN: Mom might not be the best show on TV—it's not even the second, the third, or the fourth best show—but Allison Janney's performance as Bonnie is noteworthy in that she manages to make vagina jokes work. We've known for years that she's capable of delivering the drama (four Emmy wins for The West Wing, plus a brand-new one for Masters of Sex, prove that) but her comedic timing has always been an underrated strength. On Mom, she's run the gamut of emotions, expertly and admirably combining humor and heart, and I can't help but love this other side of her. Kaitlin Thomas



Louis C.K. (Louie), Don Cheadle (House of Lies), Ricky Gervais (Derek), Matt LeBlanc (Episodes), William H. Macy (Shameless), and Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)


im Parsons (2013 and 2011) and Jon Cryer (2012)


Andy: N/A | Cory: Jim Parsons | Jen: Louis C.K. | Kaitlin: Louis C.K. | Nick: Louis C.K.

Noel: William H. Macy | Tim: Louis C.K.

WHY WILLIAM H. MACY SHOULD WIN: Frank has suffered from not-so-great-writing and plotting for most of Shameless's existence, but Macy always makes it work, somehow. He's just that good. While his big moment in Season 4's "Lazarus" wasn't comedic in the slightest (worth noting: Shameless can be funny, but it isn't a comedy), it was still a great big moment for Macy and for Frank, hitting the arrogantly sad triumph of an addict who beat the odds..and then just that sweet hit of sadness. In a category where I haven't seen the performances (LeBlanc, Gervais), not really enamored with the performance (C.K.), am sort of over the performance (Parsons), or just abhor the show in general (Cheadle in House of Lies), I'm voting like probably many an actual Emmy voter and picking the name of the performer I generally like best. —Noel Kirkpatrick

WHY LOUIS C.K. SHOULD WIN: Though it's often difficult to see Louie as a comedy—especially after Season 4—there's no denying that Louis C.K. is an unbelievably skilled performer. It's harder to play the average, schlubby everyman than he makes it look, and no one does dark comedy mixed with pathos better than C.K. does. —Jen Trolio



Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Lena Dunham (Girls), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), and Taylor Schilling (Orange Is the New Black)


Julia Louis-Dreyfus (2012 and 2013) and Melissa McCarthy (2011)


Andy: Amy Poehler | Cory: Julia Louis-Dreyfus | Jen: Amy Poehler | Kaitlin: Amy Poehler

Nick: Amy Poehler | Noel: Taylor Schilling | Tim: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

WHY AMY POEHLER SHOULD WIN: Parks and Recreation's Leslie Knope is a Care Bear Stare personified, an intense and irresistible force who musters the best in everyone in her path. On paper, she’s a character who would be very easy to get wrong in any number of ways. Instead, Amy Poehler’s winning warmth and superlative comedic skill have made Leslie a person who’s all too rare on contemporary TV: someone whose exceptional brains and ability are matched by unflappable decency and empathy. It’s a performance that deserves to earn at least one Emmy before Parks and Recreation concludes its run after next season. —Andy Daglas

WHY JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS SHOULD WIN: Going chalk is never fun, especially with the Emmys, but when we're talking about someone as good as Julia Louis-Dreyfus is on Veep, you have to embrace the value of repeat winners. Louis-Drefyus showed a few new sides to Vice President-turned-President (maybe) Selina Meyer in the show's third season, particularly in her more dramatic submission episode, "Crate." Jam-packed category be damned; the queen stays the queen —Cory Barker



The Big Bang TheoryLouieModern FamilyOrange Is the New BlackSilicon ValleyVeep


Modern Family (2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013)


Andy: Veep | Cory: Orange Is the New Black | Jen: Orange Is the New Black | 

Kaitlin: Veep Nick: Louie | Noel: Orange Is the New Black  

Tim: Orange Is the New Black

WHY ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK SHOULD WIN: This is a year where all six nominees have some kind of real shot of winning, but it HAS to be Orange Is the New Black, right? Sure, it's not just a comedy, but neither are Louie or even Veep, at times. That first season blindsided many of us, telling a wonderful story filled to the brim with lively characters we couldn't wait to see again. Modern Family, kiss your winning streak goodbye. —Cory Barker

WHY LOUIE SHOULD WIN: Inconsistent? Maybe. More shots of a middle-aged man's pasty behind than you'd hoped? Definitely. But there's no show deeper in the trenches of comedic-format warfare than Louie—Nick Campbell

Who do you think should win in this year's comedy races?

  • Comments (45)
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  • wudntulik2know Aug 23, 2014

    And you choose to show the rape scene in Louis under Outstanding Comedy Series why?

    Guess rape is funny here.

  • slayme3 Aug 23, 2014

    That's not the rape scene - there was no rape scene - he tries to push Pamela into the bedroom earlier but in this scene he's just trying to kiss her. If you're gonna cry "rape" - get your facts straight at least.

  • wudntulik2know Aug 23, 2014

    Praise dog no one picked that useless POS Gervais. Who should go away NOW.

    Which means he will probably get the Emmy.

  • slayme3 Aug 23, 2014

    I picked Gervais - whose comedy is a bit above your head I'm guessing... or maybe you just don't like his rape jokes...

  • KellyHiggins2 Aug 23, 2014

    I just can't accept OITNB as a comedy series. It's drama with a lot of black humor but comedy? That's not fair to the real comedies.

  • itsmemadie01 Aug 23, 2014

    I've seen every episode of OITNB and I don't get the appeal of taylor schilling as a comedy actress or an actress. she'd probably end up in my list of annoying actors in shows that I watch.

  • ionee24 Aug 23, 2014

    I'm sure the best supporting actress wuld be Mayim or Allison.

    For some reason I can't picture the winer on any other category this year. So I'm ready to be amazed.

  • danield222 Aug 23, 2014

    I just realised that Taylor Schilling without make-up looks like Jared Leto without make-up and facial hair... sheeeeeeeeeeeeeit

  • No1Slayerette Aug 23, 2014

    Good job choosing pictures to represent the best comedy series. My favourite is the one for Louie, in which he's attempting to rape Pam. Hilarious stuff.

  • CoryBarker1 Aug 23, 2014

    It's a notable photo!

    (Not funny though.)

  • Me- Aug 23, 2014

    unlike the Best Drama nominees, the Best Comedy category isn't all that terrible.

    though it's still beyond laughable that Parks and Rec isn't even nominated

  • ionee24 Aug 23, 2014

    I blame Orange is the New Black for it.

  • CosmicSystem Aug 23, 2014

    why no community?

  • slayme3 Aug 23, 2014

    Probably because the season was a bit inconsistent - but I agree - I would pick Community over any of the comedies nominated...

  • danield222 Aug 23, 2014

    It really feels like Netflix only nominated Orange is The New Black as a comedy because they knew they will win everything in this category, but not in drama.

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