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

The Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category has an interesting mix among my six nominees. TV is blessed with a strong contingent of exceedingly funny women who can play a number of roles. Some of the people in this category are known more for their dramatic work than their comedic work. Others exceed primarily at making a complete fool of themselves for our amusement. Still others are incredibly adept at doing both. Who’s the six leading ladies of comedy for this year? Let’s take a look.

Zooey Deschanel, New Girl

New Girl Season 2 Episode 20 Chicago 11

Zooey Deschanel has lost some of her “it” girl status as New Girl has become more of an ensemble piece instead of her star vehicle. A lot has been made about the wackiness of her character being a detriment to the show instead of a strength. These people are simply missing the boat. Deschanel can supply plenty of the silly humor that populates New Girl, but she’s proven herself to be quite the capable straight woman when the men go crazy. In addition, her contribution to the Nick-Jess storyline can’t be overlooked. She’s every bit as important to that storyline as Jake Johnson was. Considering New Girl was the most consistent network comedy on television this season (you can see where this is going a few articles from now), Deschanel’s performance should count for an Emmy nomination.

Lena Dunham, Girls

Lena Dunham

There is a lot to take in with Lena Dunham’s performance on Girls. On a show filled with incredibly unlikable characters, Dunham’s writing and acting manage to find an occasionally sympathetic interior. In addition, she took us to some dark and weird places as Hannah battled OCD and human perception with Patrick Wilson. Overall, Girls was a much tighter show than the year before, and Dunham was really exceptional in it.

Tina Fey, 30 Rock

30 Rock Season 7 Episode 3 Stride of Pride (4)

One final season of 30 Rock, and one more ridiculous trip around the sun with Liz Lemon. Fey has been nominated for the past six years for the work she’s done on 30 Rock. However, this may be the year she deserves it the most. There are just too many wonderful moments from the final season for Fey’s performance to go unnoticed. Think about the wedding with Criss, meeting her adopted children, or even her strange arousal at the idea of effective organization, and you’ll find it impossible to not give her a nomination.

Jane Levy, Suburgatory

Suburgatory Season 2 Episode 12 Body Talk (6)

Jane Levy is one of the women on this list who makes it more for her dramatic chops than what she does comedically. She’s very adept at humor, but she really shines as an actress when Tessa had big scenes with her father or Ryan Shay. What’s particularly impressive about her skills is her ability to react. Plenty of actors can carry a scene, but being present in a scene without dominating it as just as much of a challenge. Levy accomplishes both with great aplomb.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

'Veep' (HBO) With Julia Louis-Dreyfus  (3)

When Veep premiered it’s first season last spring, a lot of people found the writing to be spectacular, Louis-Dreyfus’s performance hilarious, but ultimately, there wasn’t much to it. The stakes were so small that the show started to feel like nothing more than 25 minutes of people hurling admittedly funny insults at each other.

Now at the end of its second season, Veep has gone from amusing diversion to one of the very best things on television. At the center of this storm is Louis-Dreyfus. As a certified comedy legend, it’s amazing to watch her throw herself into this role with the abandon of someone who still has something to prove. She could have easily played this role in a manner that wouldn’t put her status with the viewing public at risk. Instead, she blows through her scenes with such ferocity that it is truly engrossing to watch. She hasn’t done damage to her legend. She has only enhanced it.

Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation season 5 episode 22 Are You Better Off? (3)

There isn’t anything Amy Poehler can’t do on a television screen. She can be dramatically affecting, completely bonkers, or the perfect straight woman. Sometimes, she accomplishes all three within a given episode. It’s hard to imagine Poehler has never won for this performance. She may be the most versatile female comedic performer on television. This versatility shine throughout season 5 of Parks and Recreation as we watched Poehler get married, work on the city council, and battle an admittedly underwhelming foe. It was another great season for the show, but maybe the strongest season for Poehler’s Emmy candidacy.

Others considered: Mindy Kaling

Those are mine. Now it’s time to hear yours. Sound off with your top 6 in the comments below.