Friday, August 9, 2019

Emmy Predictions 2019 - Which Program Will and Should Win for Variety Sketch Series?

The nominations have been announced for The 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. So now, it's time to speculate on who will and should win in each major category. Next up for analysis is Variety Sketch Series.

The Nominees Ranked By Which Should Win:
  1. IFC's Documentary Now!
  2. TruTV's At Home with Amy Sedaris
  3. Comedy Central's Drunk History
  4. Showtime's Who Is America?
  5. Hulu's I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman
  6. NBC's Saturday Night Live

There was a long wait for the third season of Documentary Now. And yet, fans were rewarded with some of best episodes so far of the documentary satire - especially "Original Cast Album: Co-Op" which has so many jokes in every frame that it's impossible to catch them air during the first viewing. The show may be a small, niche program buried on cable but it's doing more inventive things than the majority of this category. Amy Sedaris is doing some wild and inspired things with her TruTV comedy as well. That show just keeps getting weirder and weirder in some really rewarding ways. But it's also fascinating to see the voters recognize a number of shows that really struggle when it comes to having any kind of political edge. Sarah Silverman's Hulu show never really worked while Sacha Baron Cohen did the same thing he did a decade ago with no new take on the concept. And finally, SNL may be a monster for sketch comedy in general. But the concerns are absolutely present that the show doesn't know how to handle the current political era. It also doesn't quite know how to respond when valid criticisms are lobbied. Instead, it just believes it can keep pushing forward simply because it has existed for so long as a cultural icon.

The Nominees Ranked by Which Will Win:
  1. NBC's Saturday Night Live
  2. IFC's Documentary Now!
  3. Showtime's Who Is America?
  4. TruTV's At Home with Amy Sedaris
  5. Comedy Central's Drunk History
  6. Hulu's I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman

Saturday Night Live is the two-time reigning champion of this category. And yet, it's not untouchable. When the voters opted to split variety talk and sketch series into two separate categories, Saturday Night Live wasn't the easy champion because it got so many previous nominations. Instead, the best sketch comedy shows actually won - Inside Amy Schumer and Key & Peele. Sure, SNL always has to be taken seriously in this race. It basically picks up trophies every single year. That's impressive for a show that has been on for four decades. It continues to dominate the guest acting categories in a way that sucks the oxygen out of the space for many other, deserving performers. Here though, it does face significant competition. Of course, the winner may depend on how many voters actually watch the other nominees. It's clear that a significant block know and love Drunk History because this is its fifth straight nomination. It just seems unlikely to pull off an upset. The shows that won't be producing any more episodes also seem to have complicated campaigns. I Love You, America is unlikely to build any momentum while Who Is America? may fare better because Showtime knows how to reach out to voters. Again, it wouldn't be surprising if Documentary Now or At Home pulled off an upset. It's just a daunting task because IFC and TruTV have been so unproven when it comes to actually being awarded by these voters.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my predictions? Let me know in the comments below!