Emmys: 'Comedy Bang! Bang!' Creator Lobbies to Split the Variety Series Category (Guest Column)
Why do late-night talk shows compete with sketch series? Scott Aukerman has a solution.
This story first appeared in the June 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
In August, either The Daily Show or The Colbert Report will win the Emmy for outstanding variety series -- and America will yawn. Probably because the ceremony is heading into the four-hour mark at that point. But also because, once again, smaller alternative-comedy sketch shows (Key and Peele, Portlandia, Kroll Show, Inside Amy Schumer and, yes, my show Comedy Bang! Bang!) will never hear their names read by a person wearing a tuxedo -- the ultimate show business honor -- shut out again by the steamrolling behemoths from late night. I don’t mean to say that the usual nominees aren’t worthy of recognition. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, David Letterman, Bill Maher, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon are brilliant, sharp and ingenious talents. But their format is a totally different animal.
As someone who created and hosts a sketch show that’s disguised as a talk show, I think I’m uniquely qualified to make a proposal: Why don’t we create a new category and spread around some of the love? If there can be what seems like 12 categories honoring incredibly specific types of makeup, surely we can be a little more precise regarding how we honor comedy. Now, I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to turn a news story into an incisive topical monologue, but I can write a sketch about a medieval knight who asks his horse to repeatedly defecate upon his squire. (OK, maybe I should stop talking about my show and start referencing something smarter like Key and Peele, but you get the idea.) I would suggest splitting the noms into variety/talk program and sketch/alternative program. That way, budding late night shows Late Night With Seth Meyers and The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore will also get their due. And some different voices will also receive the recognition they need to encourage their networks to pick them up for more groundbreaking seasons.