The Comedy Awards 2012 will air on Comedy Central on Sunday, May 6. But the taping happens tonight in New York City, so this is my last chance to put in my two cents — as well as your last chance in a few viewers choice categories to help select winners — on who will and who should win in this second annual installment of the newest version of honors for comedians and comedic actors.
First, since you do have a few days, hours (or minutes, depending upon when you read this) to cast your votes in four categories, let’s check those out. UPDATED: You still have time, since they didn’t announce these four categories during the taping on April 28! Fun fact: They had comedians pre-tape reveals for all of the potential winners instead, so they can use whichever one is applicable come May 6.
Best Comedy Podcast: Your nominees are Comedy Bang Bang, How Was Your Week with Julie Klausner, Sklarboro Country, The Nerdist, and WTF with Marc Maron.
Such variety represented here! Sure, all of your hosts are caucasian, but the formats and the attitudes of each of the nominees is unlike all of the others. So your vote really isn’t going to be split here, even if you’re a comedy nerd who listens to all five podcasts regularly. It also means that predicting a will-win and a should-win is tricky. Maron and WTF have earned the most mainstream media exposure, but Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist empire and Scott Aukerman’s Comedy Bang Bang both have been or soon will be on cable TV. If I had to guess, the safe guess is a win for Maron. Otherwise, WTF?
Funniest Person on Twitter: Aziz Ansari (@azizansari), Stephen Colbert (@stephenathome), Rob Delaney (@robdelaney), Jimmy Fallon (@jimmyfallon), Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real), Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling), Steve Martin (@stevemartintogo), Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt), Sarah Silverman (@sarahksilverman), Daniel Tosh (@danieltosh).
This is a category I wouldn’t trust to leave to the general public, and yet they have. Because the category itself can be interpreted in multiple ways. Are you voting for who you think is the funniest person, who happens to have a Twitter account? Or are you voting for who has the funniest Twitter feed? Because those aren’t the same person, necessarily. Some people don’t really joke much at all on Twitter — Jimmy Fallon uses his to generate fan-driven content for his show. Some use it for inside jokes toward other comedians and serial RTs of fans saying how great he is — ahem, Kevin Hart. The sexy pick is Rob Delaney for his often NSFW one-liners and barbs. The famous pick is Steve Martin.
Best Comedy App: Earwolf, WitStream, Robert Kelly Live, The Onion, WTF with Marc Maron.
Do you own an iPad? Because that makes all the difference when it comes to apps these days. On my iPhone, the only one of these apps I have is WitStream, and I don’t even use it that much, because I already follow many of their favored comedic talents on Twitter. Hmmm. Did download the original version of Earwolf but didn’t use it much on my phone. Again, I ask: Do you own an iPad? If so, which of these apps really makes a difference in your daily life? As with the podcast, if I had to ask, I’d go with WTF and Maron, because from what I hear, his app makes it easy to catch up with previous interviews.
Bad Lip Reading from a politician we’ve already forgotten about? Forget about it. A famous moustache making its way through other pop-culture gems is cute and all, but how is that supposed to compete with an animal video that has more than 43 million views? Go ahead. Prove us wrong.
This year’s two big tribute awards will go to Don Rickles (for The Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence, which David Letterman took home in a big surprise reveal last year), while Robin Williams will receive the Stand-Up Icon Award (which lured Eddie Murphy back onstage in a comedic realm last year, although his supposed stand-up comeback still has yet to materialize).
OK. What’s left in the hands of the special voting committee (disclosure: I had a vote, although my short-term memory may be lacking as I go through these categories)?
Comedy Film: The Artist, Bridesmaids, Crazy, Stupid, Love, Horrible Bosses, Midnight in Paris
Well, The Artist won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. But these are The Comedy Awards. Should win: Bridesmaids.
Animated Comedy Film: Cars 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss In Boots, Rango, Rio
Rango won the Oscar. Why should it be any different this time around?
Performance by an Actor – Film: Jason Bateman, Horrible Bosses; Steve Carell, Crazy, Stupid, Love.; Jean Dujardin, The Artist; Zach Galifianakis, The Hangover Part II; Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris
Dujardin won the Oscar. Galifianakis won The Comedy Award last year in this category for Dinner for Schmucks. Wilson’s personal and professional comeback has been more than admirable. This could go any way and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.
Performance by an Actress – Film: Jennifer Aniston, Horrible Bosses; Cameron Diaz, Bad Teacher; Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids; Emma Stone, Crazy, Stupid, Love; Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Tina Fey won in this category last year for Date Night. But if Melissa McCarthy doesn’t win this year, then you’d have to wonder: Who do they let in the voting committee? This is as much of a lock as any category this year.
Comedy Director – Film: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris; James Bobin, The Muppets; Paul Feig, Bridesmaids; Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, Crazy, Stupid, Love; Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Hazanavicius won the Oscar. Last year’s Comedy Award went to Edgar Wright for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, so the committee is willing to think about this category. You’d think to look for a Bridesmaids “sweep,” and yet, the reverence for Woody and his work on this film should be worth a win. Woody doesn’t show for the Oscars, but this is a block away from Madison Square Garden, his home away from home when he attends Knicks games. Wouldn’t everyone love to see him accept his award and make a speech? Of course you would.
Comedy Screenplay: 50/50; Bridesmaids; Crazy, Stupid, Love; Horrible Bosses; Midnight in Paris
Midnight in Paris won the Oscar, but last year’s Comedy Award went to Hot Tub Time Machine, so we’re looking at a high-brow vs. low-brow situation. Will voters split the difference since Woody’s pic involved time-travel, too, or will they split the votes between him and Bridesmaids, leading to a surprise win by one of the other three nominees? If so, 50/50 could sneak in for a win.
Comedy Series: 30 Rock; Curb Your Enthusiasm; Happy Endings; Modern Family; Parks and Recreation
Modern Family won here last year and tends to take home all of the trophies. Nice to see Parks and Rec make an appearance here, as well as a nod to a newbie with Happy Endings, but no reason to think the voters stopped loving Modern Family this year. Which makes this next category a shame….
WINNER: Parks and Recreation
Sketch/Alternative Comedy Series: Childrens Hospital; Louie; Portlandia; Saturday Night Live; Tosh.0
Because why is Louie stuck with the tag of sketch/alternative? It’s one of the best shows on TV, and sure, it’s not always straight-ahead funny, but it deserved to compete in the mainstream comedy category. Childrens Hospital won this award last year and remains one of the flat-out-funniest shows around. But Portlandia also is great and weird and different and most likely the “hot” or “buzziest” series among comedy nerds.
Animated Comedy Series: Archer; Family Guy; The Life & Times of Tim; The Simpsons; South Park
Matt & Trey’s long-running subversive Comedy Central series won here last year. Considering the competition, the only thing in their way this year is Archer. That is, if the voters bothered to watch it.
Performance by an Actor – TV: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Ty Burrell; Modern Family; Louis C.K., Louie; Steve Carell, The Office; Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Baldwin won here last year. But if voters don’t recognize and honor the outstanding, sincere and sincerely funny way that Carell bowed out as Scranton’s manager at Dundler-Mifflin, then we need a recount.
Performance by an Actress – TV: Zooey Deschanel, New Girl; Tina Fey, 30 Rock; Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation; Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live; Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
In a bit of a surprise, the voters honored Wiig last year here for her work dominating last season’s SNL. She hasn’t bit quite as front-and-center this season, so I’d be surprised if she repeats just for that reason. All of these women are and have been funny. The hot pick would be to go for Deschanel, but Poehler really has won over many fans with her star turn on Parks and Rec, and she and that show really could use some big love from their peers in the comedy community. Do it.
Late-Night Comedy Series: The Colbert Report; The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; Late Night with Jimmy Fallon; Late Show with David Letterman; Real Time with Bill Maher
Stewart won here last year, and could well do so again. But Stephen Colbert’s election-year antics, setting up his Super PAC and running TV ads is above-and-beyond the call of late-night duty. Then again, Fallon’s show has been just as ambitious — if not much more so — with their consistently winning ideas for sketch parodies, songs and games that get them passed around the Internet on a regular basis each week. If Colbert and Fallon really are short-term BFFs, wouldn’t it be nice for them to share the award this year?
WINNER: The Daily Show
Comedy Writing – TV: 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Louie, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live
Curb is outlined and improvised, so how much writing is there, really? Three of the other nominees are known for fast, quick-cutting jokes and misdirects. SNL does its thing. 30 Rock won here last year. But Louie is operating on another level from its competition. I figure I’ll be happy for whomever wins and sad for one of the nominees that didn’t.
WINNER: 30 Rock
Comedy Directing – TV: 30 Rock; Curb Your Enthusiasm; Louie; Modern Family; The Office
Modern Family won here last year. Don’t be shocked by a repeat.
Stand-Up Tour: Dave Attell; Lewis Black; Louis C.K.; Kevin Hart; Jerry Seinfeld
Attell didn’t have a big tour, per se. Neither did Seinfeld. Hart probably sold more tickets in the past year than anyone in comedy outside of Jeff Dunham (not nominated!). So Hart should win. Louis C.K. may take him on current critical fame alone, but if not, there’s always this next category, which is his slam dunk.
WINNER: Louis C.K.
Comedy Special of the Year: Louis C.K., Louis C.K.: Live at the Beacon Theater; Norm Macdonald, Norm Macdonald: Me Doing Standup; Patton Oswalt, Patton Oswalt Finest Hour; Colin Quinn, Colin Quinn Long Story Short; Daniel Tosh, Daniel Tosh: Happy Thoughts
NO CONTEST. Quinn made it to Broadway and HBO, but Louis C.K. changed the game by releasing his special himself on his Website, earning seven-figures in profit and donating a bunch of it to charities and the people who worked on his special. C’mon!
WINNER: Louis C.K.
Club Comic: Ted Alexandro; Hannibal Buress; Pete Holmes; Anthony Jeselnik; Moshe Kasher; John Mulaney; Kumail Nanjiani; Chelsea Peretti; Amy Schumer; Rory Scovel
Just seeing 10 comedians nominated, and seeing how many of them are not wily ol’ road hogs or veterans of the club circuit, raises big ol’ question marks. Um, some of these comedians don’t or didn’t really play a lot of comedy clubs in the past year, did they? How many voters took this literally? Buress already has been listed as appearing/presenting at the awards ceremony, and I’d already put money on him, so let’s do so even without the (il)legal gambling.
Viewers Choice (but voting closed)
Breakout Performer of the Year: Zooey Deschanel; Josh Gad; Donald Glover; Melissa McCarthy; Jason Sudeikis
Gad had a My Damn Channel series (disclosure: I work with them, too) and quickly followed that up with a starring role in the biggest Broadway musical hit of the year in “The Book of Mormon,” and is in a network pilot this spring. McCarthy won an Emmy for her scene-stealing movie role in Bridesmaids. Glover, in addition to starring on cult-favorite sitcom, Community, plays the biggest MUSIC festivals and gets TV credits as rapping alter-ego Childish Gambino. Sudeikis is poised to leave Saturday Night Live for the movies after several starring or co-starring roles over the past year. Deschanel may be the “new girl,” but she’s been breaking out as a performer for a decade.
Since it was put to an online vote, I’d guess Glover raked in the plurality, at least.
Best Viral Original: Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis: Will Ferrell; Drive Recklessly; 7 Minutes in Heaven with Mike O’Brien: Kristen Wiig; Shit Girls Say; Songify This: Winning – a Song by Charlie Sheen
A special Between Two Ferns airs immediately before The Comedy Awards on May 6. Foreshadowing? If you really want to talk about viral, though, you’d have to give more than ample credit to “Shit Girls Say,” strictly for the sheer number of imitators that have popped up — and continue to upload to YouTube — as this quickly became the meme of 2012. But it’s a viewers vote. So it still could go to Galifianakis. Should win: Shit Girls Say. Will win: Between Two Ferns. Then again, Between Two Ferns lost last year to an Auto-Tune of Antoine Dodson. Who?!? Eggsactly.
WINNER: Songify This (two years in a row for The Gregory Brothers and their Auto-Tune)
Tune in May 6, 2012, to find out who actually won. Or, if you don’t mind spoiler alerts, then you’ll probably learn all of the winners tonight just by following comedy people on Twitter.