Here's a funny thing about the Emmys comedy actor races: they're not so funny. The more traditionally comedic performances in the Lead and Supporting Actor Races have no shot. The winners will come from shows that are comedies in the sense that they're a half-hour long and have some laughs in them. But these performances are as emotionally complex as any of their drama counterparts. Perhaps more so, since they're doing comedy, too. Remember when I said they're not that funny? I was kidding.
LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Who Should Win: Donald Glover, Atlanta
Glover's a lock for good reason. As Earn Marks, Glover anchors the fantastical elements of Atlanta in a deeply-felt sadness. And as Teddy Perkins, a reclusive white pop star, Glover created the kind of TV moment you'll always remember what it felt like to watch for the first time.
Watch Out For: Bill Hader, Barry
With the first season of Barry, Hader does a similar thing to Glover in the first season of Atlanta: He reintroduces himself to the world as a major creative force who's capable of more than his previous (but still really good) resumé would indicate. But maybe next year is Hader's year. This one's Glover's.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Louie Anderson, Baskets
Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Brian Tyree Henry,Atlanta
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live
Henry Winkler, Barry
Who Will Win: Henry Winkler, Barry
The nicest guy in Hollywood got the type of meaty role an actor of his caliber deserves at this point in their career. The amount of goodwill Winkler has for this role is amazing, and he's never won a Primetime Emmy before (he has two Daytime Emmys), so he's due.
Who Should Win: Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta
As wonderful as Winkler is, he didn't give the best supporting performance of all the nominees. That would be Henry, who is not-so-secretly the real star of Atlanta. His showcase episodes "Barbershop" and "Woods" demonstrate the full range of his immense gifts, from deadpan comedy to heartbreaking vulnerability, and make him more than deserving of a statue this year.
Watch Out For: Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
No one is doing "tough love" on TV right now better than the Emmy favorite Shalhoub (he won three times for Monk).
The 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards air Monday, Sept. 17 at 8/7c on NBC.