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Emmy Analysis: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

With the days of Modern Family dominance long gone, the Supporting Actor in a Comedy category has been one of the night’s most exciting awards for a few years. Tony Hale was the last man to repeat a win in this category for the same performance back in 2015, with several inspired choices coming since including Louie Anderson for Baskets and Henry Winkler for Barry.

With the Academy not having an old favorite to rely on, this category feels set up for something exciting and unpredictable. Let’s take a look at the nominees.

CARL CLEMONS-HOPKINS, Marcus Vaughn / Hacks / HBO Max / Episode: “New Eyes”

As the sole nominee for Hacks in this category, Clemons-Hopkins has the advantage of not worrying about a vote split. They are charming in their performance as Marcus, and Clemons-Hopkins would make history as the first openly nonbinary performer to win an Emmy. The biggest downside for them is the strength of Ted Lasso across the board, and Schitt’s Creek demonstrated last year that when the television Academy loves a show, they really love it.

BRETT GOLDSTEIN, Roy Kent / Ted Lasso / Apple TV+ / Episode: “All Apologies”

Speaking of this year’s comedy juggernaut, Ted Lasso is on the verge of a big night on Sunday and Goldstein has been perceived as the show’s strongest supporting actor from the beginning. With three other Ted Lasso men to contend with, the threat of a vote split is a real possibility which could open the door for other contenders, but it hasn’t stopped others before. Modern Family’s dominance in the early 2010’s was mentioned earlier, and that show had no problem picking up wins despite multiple co-stars competing with each other. Goldstein has submitted a great episode – the season’s second to last – and this writer thinks it’s his Emmy to lose.

BRENDAN HUNT, Coach Beard / Ted Lasso / Apple TV+ / Episode: “Two Aces”

Having just declared Goldstein as a favorite, it doesn’t seem wise to spend too much time on the other Ted Lasso nominees, but Brendan Hunt could very well be a dark horse. As Ted’s assistant, Hunt as Coach Beard is involved with several memorable moments and scenes with lead Jason Sudeikis, which could win over a small number of voters.

NICK MOHAMMED, Nathan Shelley / Ted Lasso / Apple TV+ / Episode: “Make Rebecca Great Again”

British comedian Nick Mohammed has fast become of the best and most recognizable comedy talents working today, having also co-starred alongside David Schwimmer in the British series Intelligence last year. There’s no doubt that Mohammed will have his supporters and he’s fantastic as Nathan, however with the strength of his co-star Goldstein, don’t expect him to be in contention for the win.

JEREMY SWIFT, Leslie Higgins / Ted Lasso / Apple TV+ / Episode: “Biscuits”

Similar to Mohammed, Jeremy Swift is a stellar member of Ted Lasso’s ensemble, and a completely different character from his role as Spratt in Downton Abbey a few years ago, another Emmy darling of its time. Of all the nominees however, Swift is the least likely to pick up the prize, but his nomination serves as a reminder to the strength of the Academy’s Ted Lasso admiration.

PAUL REISER, Martin Schneider / The Kominsky Method / etflix / Episode: “Chapter 18. You only give me your funny paper”

Moving on from the Ted Lasso men, Paul Reiser is an eleven-time nominee who is most familiar to viewers of the 90s comedy Mad About You, for which he received multiple nods in the Comedy Lead Actor category. Reiser had been a recurring character in the second season, but following Alan Arkin’s departure was promoted to a series regular for the farewell season. Could the Academy decide now is the time to give Reiser his much deserved gold? Unlikely, but the voters could feel sentimental with the ending of The Kominsky Method and there isn’t much opportunity to give the show a farewell win anywhere else. If the Ted Lasso vote split really does become an issue, Reiser could be in a prime position, but don’t expect that to happen.

KENAN THOMPSON, various characters / Saturday Night Live / NBC / Episode: “Host: Dave Chappelle”

Having previously been nominated before for his Saturday Night Live performances, Thompson is very much a strong contender in this category and feels like he would be the winner if Ted Lasso wasn’t a factor. Having won his first and only Emmy for Original Music back in 2018, Thompson is still awaiting his first acting win and is double nominated this year. With Sudeikis too strong in the Comedy Lead category, could voters pick this category to award his strong year of work? Whatever happens, this race feels very much between Goldstein and Thompson, and will ultimately come down to the Academy’s love of Ted Lasso versus their love of Kenan Thompson.

BOWEN YANG, various characters / Saturday Night Live / NBC / Episode: “Host: Carey Mulligan”

Yang is a previous nominee for his writing on Saturday Night Live, however this is his first ever acting nod and is in great company alongside many other first-timers. Many of Yang’s Saturday Night Live moments throughout the year have been hailed as the best the show has to offer. While now doesn’t feel like quite his time considering Ted Lasso’s strength and an SNL co-star who has had a stellar year, there’s no doubt Yang could become a mainstay in this category and a win won’t be too far around the corner.

Prediction: Brett Goldstein – Ted Lasso

Preference: Brett Goldstein – Ted Lasso

Sleeper: Paul Reiser – The Kominsky Method

Ranking:

1) Brett Goldstein – Ted Lasso

2) Kenan Thompson – Saturday Night Live

3) Paul Reiser – The Kominsky Method

4) Bowen Yang – Saturday Night Live

5) Brendan Hunt – Ted Lasso

6) Carl Clemons-Hopkins – Hacks
7) Nick Mohammed – Ted Lasso

8) Jeremy Swift – Ted Lasso

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Written by Bradley Weir

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