The TV Czar’s Emmy Ballot: Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

The Lead Actor in a Comedy Series category has become a bit of desert wasteland. With so many comedies becoming more ensemble-based, the tendency in recent years has been to have all parts of the ensemble submit themselves as supporting actors regardless of how much screen time they get. As a result, the lead actor category dwindles to choices ranging from the esoteric to the broadly comedic. It’s not the greatest category, but boy are there some great performances in this category.

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
 

30 Rock Season 7 Series Finale Hogcock; Last Lunch (20)

While the final season of 30 Rock sprinted to a hilarious ending, it was easy to get caught up in the wonderful performance being given by Tina Fey. She was fantastic in the final season, but Alec Baldwin submitted one final great season as one of the all-time great TV characters in Jack Donaghy. His work was wonderfully emotional and hilariously ridiculous. Add that to the fact it’s our final chance to honor Alec Baldwin for this role, and he has to be in this nomination field.

Louis CK, Louie
 

LOUIE (FX) Season 3 (2)

It’s easy to dismiss the performance of Louis CK as him just playing himself. To make that argument would be foolish. When you watch him in episodes like “Daddy’s Girlfriend”, “Miami”, “New Year’s Eve”, or any part of the “Late Show” trilogy, you find man with a broad range of acting skills. It’s a superlative performance on many levels, and the uniqueness of the performance makes it infinitely more fascinating than most of the things on television right now. The show doesn’t quite fit as a comedy, it’s more tragedy than anything else, but the rules say he has submit here, so he gets a spot.

Don Cheadle, House of Lies
 

House of Lies Season 2 Finale 2013 Til Death Do Us Part (5)

Fans of other comedy stars may have an argument here, but my membership in the Don Cheadle Fan Club mandates his spot here. With such a small sample size to choose from, Cheadle becomes the last man into the top 6. House of Lies is a show with many warts. However, Cheadle carries the show with his powerful blend of capable comedic chops and excellent dramatic work.

Jake Johnson, New Girl
 

New Girl Season 2 Episode 21 First Date 10

New Girl really jumped a notch this season. A lot of that had to with the success of the Nick-Jess pairing. While Zooey Deschanel still carries a lot of cache, a lot of the credit for that storyline’s success falls to Jake Johnson. It’s pretty hard to make a romantic lead out of a morose loser. Somehow, Johnson manages to pull it off.

Matthew Perry, Go On
 

Go On (NBC) Episode 21 Fast Breakup (2)

Go On is canceled, but none of the fault should fall on Matthew Perry. With so many undrawn supporting characters, the responsibility to carry the show fell on Perry and co-star Julie White. The pair performed very admirably in their roles. Perry was better than I anticipated at playing the dramatic parts that comes with playing a man grieving his dead wife. In addition to his dramatic work, Perry delivered the comedic timing and dexterity that we’ve come to expect from him since his Chandler Bing days.

Adam Scott, Parks and Recreation
 

Parks and Recreation Season 5 Episode 16 Partridge (11)

On a show with so many out-sized characters like Parks and Recreation, it’s the straight man that typically goes unnoticed. However, Adam Scott does so much for that show as the straight man it becomes hard to imagine the show running as smoothly without him. The few times he is asked to be ridiculous, he does it with the same amount of skill and gusto as his co-star Chris Pratt. It’s an incredibly versatile performance deserving of recognition it likely will not get.

Others considered: Jeremy Sisto

I have nominated six. Now it’s your turn to share your nominations. Feel free to share your super six in the comments below.