The great debate: Are lead comedy categories for the best actors in a comedy series or the funniest actors in a comedy series? Several shows out there are" dramedies" and dark comedies, which means they contain certain elements of drama that sitcoms don't have. How can you compare Mary-Louise Parker to Tina Fey? One is funnier, but does that make her more worthy of an award? So many different types of shows fall under the Comedy label for Emmy season, so I decided to give them all a little representation.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Toni Collette, The United States of Tara - The darker second season was not as funny as the first, but it was still great. Collette truly transforms into each of Tara's personalities and makes them all their own individual characters. She may not generate the most laughs out of the women on this list, but she gives the best performance(s).
Portia De Rossi, Better Off Ted - The only reason I decided to watch Ted was because I wanted to see more Portia De Rossi after I finished Arrested Development. I made a good decision. The soulless executive Veronica became the best part of the show and the saddest part of its cancellation.
Tina Fey, 30 Rock - I feel like I don't need to say much because Tina Fey may be the funniest woman to ever walk the face of the earth. If you don't know that by now, then you clearly haven't ever seen 3o Rock or Mean Girls. She consistently brings the funny wherever she goes.
Lea Michele, Glee - She delivers in every way possible: comedy, drama, and musical. She's a choral overachiever who takes herself way too seriously. Though she's probably not everyone's favorite character, no one can deny her talent.
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds - Though I haven't enjoyed Nancy's stay in Mexico, I still enjoy Parker's performance. She is such a talented dramatic actress, which is why it's a shame that she's trapped in the wrong category. If she were in Drama, she would probably have the Emmy she deserves by now.
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation - She took a character that had the potential to be really annoying and made her appear kind of adorable. Leslie Knope became the loveable, yet sometimes clueless government official that we all wish we could have in our town.
Honorable Mention: America Ferrera, Ugly Betty & Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, 3o Rock - The man has never had an off season of 3o Rock. I didn't absolutely love Jack's seemingly endless love triangle (just pick Elizabeth Banks already!), but Baldwin pulled it off hilariously well.
Steve Carell, The Office - This season was definitely the worst in Office history. It was often unfunny and sometimes even painful to watch. But throughout such a sour season, Steve Carell pulled through and continued to give his best as the goofy Michael Scott.
Thomas Jane, Hung - Jane is the Mary-Louise Parker of the men. He's definitely not the funniest, but his more subtle acting style is still enjoyable. The economically-conscious Hung tells the tale of a man who had to become a prostitute in order to support his family and keep his home. Jane made the off-the-wall story a pretty pleasant experience.
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory - Parsons has single-handedly made this show a success. His ridiculously high maintenance Sheldon is what makes The Big Bang Theory so darn funny. Anyone else in the role would just be obnoxious, rather than hysterically obnoxious.
Jason Schwartzman, Bored to Death - I'm not quite sure what it is, but something about Schwartzman made me love Bored to Death. A pot smoking, white wine drinking private detective might not seem too appealing, but the quirky show ended up being a pretty funny half hour.
Adam Scott, Party Down - His dry humor is the perfect balance for the craziness that makes up the rest of the Party Down catering crew. Not only that, but his romance with Lizzy Caplan's Casey became one of the best parts of the series.
Honorable Mention: Jay Harrington, Better Off Ted
Coming Soon: My picks for Outstanding Actor and Actress in a Drama Series
Six Feet Under Season 3
Episode 4 - Nobody Sleeps