The Best Variety Sketch Series is a new category that only started this year to recognize the sketch comedy from the nightly talk shows considering that they’re underrepresented in the usual Variety Series one.
Let’s begin with perennial nominee Saturday Night Live. Given that it’s the show’s 40th anniversary, it’s weird to know that in its 40-year run, it has only won the Variety categories twice (first in 1976 and again in 1993). While they’re not allowed to submit their special three-hour episode (as it’s nominated in the Special Class Program), they went with one of their funniest episodes this season with the Dwayne Johnson episode. The sketches are strong in that episode and even the Weekend Update was great. it’s a wise submission.
Momentum, however, is with current it-girl Amy Schumer for Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer. The submitted episode is the season opener “Last Fucakble Day” which includes a skit with Emmy winners Patricia Arquette, Tina Fey, and Julia Louis Dreyfus. That alone screams Emmy already. Then you also have the “Milk Lemonade” opening music video. It’s great that Inside went with this and not with the equally great 12 Angry Men parody since this episode features the more traditional variety sketch.
Drunk Ladies, on the other hand, went with its season finale “Drunk Ladies.” It also had featured a lot of guest actors (Courteney Cox, Alis Shawkat, Bobby Moynihan), The thing with Drunk Ladies episode is that it went with a special structured format of having one solid theme instead of their usual city-focused format. I wonder if it’ll affect that.
The season opener “Alien Imposters” was Key & Peele‘s submission for this year. The episode featured different skits starting from alien survivors to a Katy Perry themed final sketch which is creepy and hilarious at the same time.
Lastly, Portlandia went with a short film episodic type of submission by going with “The Story of Tom and Candace”, the 80s inspired drama about women power and rivalry over men with Fred Armisen in drag the whole episode. It’s actually a good submission if you don’t subscribe to any of these shows, as it gives a clearer feel of the series.
The race can be singled out between Saturday Night Live and Inside Amy Schumer. I’m a bit taken aback if they’ll easily go with momentum and reward Amy Schumer especially since she’s the hot in thing (plus an Emmy baity submission to boot). But then, I also can see them playing safe and rewarding SNL as it’s the variety institution show in this group and it benefits from name checking. Hmm I keep going back and forth with this one, but for now I think they’ll reward Amy Schumer elsewhere and SNL wins this inaugural Emmy.
PREDICTION: Saturday Night Live (NBC)
ALTERNATE: Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
01. “Saturday Night Live”
02. “Inside Amy Schumer”
04. “Key & Peele”
05. “Drunk History”
Click here to see the rest of my 2015 Emmy prediction analysis. You can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl