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PRESENTS

AUGUST 8, 2018 EMMY NOMINEES/PART 1

MICHELLE DOCKERY

SWA PS CO U N TRY ESTATES FOR T HE W I L D W EST I N GO D L ES S

NOMINEES’ GALLERY

SA ND RA O H A NTO N I O BA N D E RAS SA RA H S I LV E R M AN JAS ON BATE M AN B ET TY G I L P I N J EFF DA N I E LS A ND M O R E . . .

TREVOR NOAH LEADS THE DAILY SHOW BACK INTO THE EMMY PACK

DEADLINE.COM/AWARDSLINE

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14 EMMY NOMINATIONS OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

RACHEL BROSNAHAN OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

TONY SHALHOUB OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

ALEX BORSTEIN OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

JANE LYNCH OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES

AMY SHERMAN-PALLADINO OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES

AMY SHERMAN-PALLADINO

OUTSTANDING CASTING

FOR A COMEDY SERIES

OUTSTANDING CINEMATOGRAPHY

FOR A SINGLE-CAMERA SERIES (ONE HOUR)

OUTSTANDING SINGLE-CAMERA PICTURE EDITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES

OUTSTANDING MUSIC SUPERVISION OUTSTANDING PERIOD COSTUMES OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION DESIGN

FOR A NARRATIVE PERIOD OR FANTASY PROGRAM (ONE HOUR OR MORE)

OUTSTANDING HAIRSTYLING

FOR A SINGLE-CAMERA SERIES

CO N S ID ER IT #M ARVELOUS

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FIRST TAKE Michelle Dockery trades in artistocracy for the violence of the Old West with Godless The vivid ’50s threads of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Scoring Westworld and Game of Thrones

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COVER STORY Trevor Noah on the politics of comedy and the comedy of politics

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THE DIALOGUE: EMMY NOMINEES Anthony Anderson Sandra Oh Darren Criss Antonio Banderas Jason Bateman Ken Burns & Lynn Novick Sarah Silverman Bruce Miller Betty Gilpin Jeff Daniels

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FLASH MOB Highlights from Comic-Con and the TCA Press Tour

ON THE COVER Trevor Noah photographed for Deadline by Mark Mann ON THIS PAGE Darren Criss photographed for Deadline by Aaron Jay Young

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The costumes of Mrs. Maisel

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| Composing Game of Thrones & Westworld

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Wild Child Michelle Dockery’s journey to the frontier in Netflix Western Godless has returned her to the Emmy nominations circle after her earlier success with Downton Abbey. Newly reinvigorated by her time on the London stage earlier this year, she tells Joe Utichi about cowgirl life and her eager return to Lady Mary

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W I N N E R S AG AWA R D 2 018 ®

FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

CLAIRE FOY

“THIS

WILL BE YOUR LAST LOOK AT CLAIRE FOY. BE SURE TO SAVOR IT.” N E W S DAY

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IN THE DOCK Michelle Dockery as Alice in Scott Frank’s Godless.

MICHELLE DOCKERY SPENT MORE THAN FOUR months this year strolling along London’s South Bank. If you were so invested in, say, Downton Abbey that you wanted to meet Lady Mary in the flesh, she kept a pretty regular schedule, appearing in the same spot at the same time most nights of the week, even as the temperatures on the river danced around freezing. But nobody ever did bother

“Walking through those doors

Then again, Dockery has never

again was such a great feeling,” she

shied from a challenge. After Down-

says, nursing an iced latte on the hot-

ton, which became such a monster hit

test day of an already-blistering Lon-

that it transformed her overnight into

don summer. “But it was long enough

a household name, Dockery didn’t

for me to feel really nervous about

follow the path most traveled, into

going on stage. I got to the point where

comfortable, similar fare. Network

I thought, ‘I’ve got to do this now,’

might be the most recent challenge,

because I was worried that feeling was

but before it she made a pair of mov-

only going to get worse. After doing

ies with Joe Wright (Hanna and Anna

a while, I think people who were on the

eight years of screen work, I feel more,

Karenina), became an action star in

Dockery as she continued her daily

South Bank regularly kind of caught

dare I say it, at home on a set.”

Non-Stop, and played a drug-abusing

routine. Just as well, because, if

on, but no one disturbed the scene.”

She had gotten used to learning

they had, they’d have been unwit-

She wonders if her counterpart in the

her lines on the fly, especially with her

people ask her if she fears being type-

ting stars of the National Theatre’s

mooted Broadway transfer (Dockery

turn in Good Behavior, which delivered

cast by Downton Abbey.

stage production of Paddy Chayef-

won’t be part of that ensemble) will be

scenes to her the day before filming.

sky’s Network. Under the direction

so lucky. But for most performances, it

She’d run lines on the day with co-star

ous,” she concedes. “But if I were to

of theatre maverick Ivo van Hove,

went off without a hitch. “There were

Juan Diego Botto, and a coach who

be cast in a 1920s period drama after

the Bryan Cranston-led produc-

only two occasions when, technically,

helped him with his English. “It meant I

Downton, it’d be like seeing Mary but

tion allowed stage and television to

it had to stop.”

could go home in the evening, shut off,

in a whole other story. I think for a

and not have to work because I’d learn

lot of us it was the opposite. It was

my lines during the day.”

casting directors and creators who

bleed together, with a giant screen

Returning to the stage in the first

con artist in Good Behavior. Yet still

“I think the assumption is obvi-

ostensibly broadcasting the live

place was exhilarating enough for

action as camera crews followed the

Dockery. She began her career in the

cast around. And among the most

theatre, and made her professional

exacerbated by the ambition of her

drama. If we’d all popped up in The

ambitious moments in the play was a

debut at the National, in Nicholas Hyt-

director. Rehearsals for the play didn’t

Crown it’d have been like you were

nightly walk-and-talk shot live on the

ner’s 2004 stage adaptation of Philip

begin with the ease-in of discus-

mixing the worlds a little bit.”

South Bank, following Dockery into

Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Her cast

sions around a table. Instead, the full

the Lyttelton Theatre’s Stage Door

featured Lesley Manville and David

complement of cast and production

undeniably offered her that rarest gift

and onto stage in one clean take.

Harewood, while, a year before, the

crew—sound and camera—were there

for an actor: choice. Working with Ivo

play’s debut included a fresh-faced

from day one. “You’re up on your feet

van Hove was an obvious choice. “The

part every night,” Dockery enthuses.

Ben Whishaw and future History Boys

and Ivo expects you to know your

British theatre is very different from his

“Just the sense that at any point, any-

Dominic Cooper and Russell Tovey. But

lines,” Dockery remembers. “I’m all for

type of theatre, and I think that’s what

thing could go wrong.”

she hadn’t done a play since Downton

it, because I think it speeds the pro-

has been so refreshing about his work.

Abbey started its run in 2010 and she

cess along, but it was a very different

He’s shaking it up. We haven’t seen

yearned to get back.

way of working.”

anything like it.”

“That scene was the most exciting

They got through the entire run without disturbance from fans. “After

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The challenge of Network was

wouldn’t want us to appear in period

Still, Downton’s success has

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going, ‘Uh, is everything alright?’”

Good Behavior, on the other hand,

Her trainer told her to get up, and

took her a beat. “I didn’t want it to seem like, ‘Oh I want to get so far

get on the horse she was riding so she

from Lady Mary that I’m playing a

could take her back to the stables. “I

drug addict and ex-con,’” she laughs.

said, ‘Fuck off!’ She said, ‘If you don’t

“But it just happened. And I was really

get back on now, you’ll never get back

fortunate it did, because deep down

on a horse.’ And she was right. I cried

I knew I wanted to do something

the whole way back to the stables,

creatively challenging.”

and there was my horse, looking at

And it is with another clear choice,

me sheepishly. They’re so funny. They

to join Scott Frank’s Netflix Western

know what they’ve done.”

Godless, that she returns to the Emmy

Dockery is part of a WhatsApp

nomination list, after three nods over

group formed of the enormous

the run of Downton. “I’d only been out

female ensemble of Godless. “I’ll wake

of period costumes for a year, but I

up to 20 messages every day. We

realized at that fitting how much I loved

got really close,” she says. She had

it,” she says. In Dockery’s hands, Alice

never before worked with so many

Fletcher is a woman on the edge, living

women, even if Downton did a pretty

a humble life in a world eroded by harsh

good job of balancing the genders.

weather and even harsher indifference.

“That’s what’s so surprising about

The signature image for the show—

Godless. It is an authentic Western in

used on posters and thumbnails—is on

so many ways. You’ve got the shoot-

Dockery’s back; a long mane of wind-

out, you’ve got the train robbery—all

swept hair spilling down, as she stares

those things that make it a traditional

down the barrel of a shotgun aimed at

Western. But at the heart of it is this

a line of men on horseback.

town full of women, which makes it

She alights on the costume fitting

completely different.”

for good reason. Her two-hour first

She feels blessed that the project

encounter with costume designer Betsy Heimann gave her a handle on who Alice Fletcher was. “The belt I

came together at just the right THE SPICE OF LIFE Dockery in (clockwise from top) Godless, Good Behavior and Downton Abbey.

ended up wearing was made in the

this for nearly 15 years,” she marvels. “15 years ago, I was just coming out of

1880s, and you become so attached to those kinds of things when you’re cre-

moment. “Scott has been working on

drama school. If it had happened then brought in was so beautiful.”

her horse with both hands, which is how she’d been trained in the UK. One

I would never have been a part of it.”

ating a character. It’s a whole different

Godless shot in Santa Fe, and

feeling than doing a modern drama. It

once the key locations had been

arm should always hang down, they

Dockery’s next adventure. After three

was one of the best meetings of my

established, which included not just

insisted. “I said, ‘Why?’ And they said,

years off the air, it has been announced

whole career.”

Alice’s ranch, but an entire town—

‘Oh, it’s so your arm is free to pull out

that Downton Abbey will return as a fea-

Timing, too, has played its part in

the largest Western set ever built—

your rifle.’ But then the rifle is so heavy

ture film. This is the first interview Dock-

through those clothes. “She’s different

against which so much of the action

that I had no idea how I was going to

ery has given since the news broke. “It’s

from the women of La Belle,” Dockery

is set, Dockery found herself awed

pull it out with one arm.”

such a relief to be able to talk about it,”

says, of the New Mexico town popu-

by the reality of frontier life. “When

It was the least of her problems.

she sighs. Production starts imminently.

lated solely by women after a mining

I was younger I loved Far and Away,

There isn’t a star of Godless who hasn’t

“We were all off doing other things, and

accident takes the men’s lives. “It’s

and I was obsessed with Nicole Kid-

spoken at great length about the haz-

orchestrating that many actors into one

only really her and Mary Agnes [Merritt

man in that film,” she says. “Ameri-

ards of shooting action scenes atop

place at one time was always going to

Wever] who don’t even have the slight-

can life in that period is, for me, so

giant creatures who are wont to do

be a challenge. But in every interview

est thought to wear something fashion-

very different. It’s an education. A

their own thing when it suits them. As

since we wrapped people have asked,

able. Some of her costumes were very

history lesson. A whole different kind

Jeff Daniels told me, “You know you’re

‘Is there going to be any more?’ It felt

masculine, like the overalls she wears

of life you learn about that you never

on a Western when they say action

like, until we made it, people were never

coming out from the well. Her boots are

even considered before.”

and the ambulance starts its engine.”

going to let it go.”

She understood the character

Dockery knew what it was like to

men’s boots; we reasoned that they

What surprised her most was

were her husband’s boots before he

how tangible it all felt when she met

be thrown off a horse. In training for

might find the Crawley family as the

died. Details like that really help you get

the horse wranglers on the show. “I

a show-jumping scene in Downton

film begins. But she has no doubt she’ll

into that frame of mind.”

was fascinated by all of them,” she

Abbey, she had lost control. “My horse

find Lady Mary again easily. “It’ll kick

She won’t be drawn on where we

says. “They wear those same boots.

bolted,” she remembers. “It was nearly

right back in; it’s like riding a bike. I’m

got to the point where me and Betsy

It’s not just fancy dress. They have

1PM and he just wanted his lunch. I was

going to watch the last season, just

said, ‘She’s got too many clothes now,

the cowboy boots with the spurs,

cantering, he bolted, and I just couldn’t

to pick up where we left off. I need to

she wouldn’t have this many clothes,’”

and they ride in the same way.” They

stay on. Luckily nothing was broken.

do just a bit of Mary-watching. Some

Dockery laughs. “But everything she

taught her not to hold the reins of

But I laid there for a good 20 minutes

Mary memory jogging.” ★

In the end, they nearly overdid it. “It

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CHARTED TERRITORY

At press time, here is how Gold Derby’s experts ranked Emmy chances in the Variety categories. Follow all the races at GoldDerby.com VARIETY TALK SERIES

Uptown Girl

Costume designer Donna Zakowska on recreating ’50s New York in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

AFTER A 2008 WIN FOR HER WORK ON John Adams, costume designer Donna Zakowska is this time Emmy-nominated for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the dramedy that spans 1950s New York from the Upper West Side to the beatnik comedy clubs of Downtown. In terms of period research, Zakowska dug into the art scene of the era, old issues of French Vogue and “certain photography, like Saul Leiter”, she says. Color was a vital element for main character Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan). “The pink became beyond signature for her,” Zakowska says. “That was the color it had to be. Then as I started expanding and she started moving from Uptown to Downtown, as she began to develop, it wasn’t just the color, but also the silhouette, then introducing the black. A lot of times the colors and the choices came from what I thought was the emotional content of the scene.” —Antonia Blyth

WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE Composer Ramin Djawadi discusses his dueling duo of nominations for Game of Thrones and Westworld WITH A DOUBLE NOMINATION IN the same category for scoring two very different fantasy universes— Game of Thrones and Westworld— composer Ramin Djawadi finds himself both enjoying excellent odds and torn between his creations. “I love how stylistically, they’re

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so completely different,” he says. “It gives me a chance to explore different areas and instrumentation.” But there are similarities in that both shows feature a great many characters, Djawadi points out. “Musically, that actually then means I have to really focus on who has the scenes,

and plot-wise, how do we thematically, or musically tell the story?” Both shows also have their very specific challenges. “What I love with Game of Thrones,” says Djawadi, “is every season I get to continue to develop the existing themes. So, with Season 7, one was the Jon Snow and Daenerys theme—their love theme— and then the other one was a new White Walker theme, or a theme for the Night King. In Westworld, we had the Indian world, we had Shogun world. So I got to really play with

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new instrumentation. And also, a lot of new themes; Dolores had a new theme, for example.” The scores are also sharply divergent tonally, using entirely different sounds. “In Game of Thrones, definitely the most dominant instrument would be the cello,” Djawadi says. “With Westworld, on the other hand, the dominant instrument would be the piano, where, funnily enough, in Game of Thrones we never have the piano, except for once in Season 6.” —Antonia Blyth

GAME OF TONES Ramin Djawadi on tour with his Game of Thrones score

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SERIOUS

COMEDY P HO T OGR A P H Y B Y M A RK M A NN

For the first time since Trevor Noah took over from Jon Stewart as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show in 2015, the venerable late-night political comedy show found its way back among the Variety Talk Series nominees last month. And as if to illustrate the slings and arrows of comedy in the modern era, the well-liked Noah was just as quickly hit with one of those jokes-from-the-past scandals that might knock a less confident person to the ground. But Greg Evans finds Noah in a reflective mood in his first interview since the controversy hit, dissecting his joke, the backlash, and the expected rush to apology. Just don't say that old joke was 'unearthed'. “I've never hidden any of my jokes,” he insists. “They're my jokes...” 12

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T

The Daily Show is back in the Variety Talk Series pack; your first nomination since taking the host’s chair. What are you doing differently? Or is it the voters that have come around? That's interesting. I think it's a gradual difference. I don't think you can change a late night show overnight and expect an immediate result. It's very much like captaining a giant ship. You put in a few corrections to your steering, and you see it take effect later. bit of who I am as a human being, sharing

are all these factors that I don't take for granted.

can make the show a little bit better, not just

I'm always trying to figure out how we

personal anecdotes, trying to give the audience

I love watching TV, and I know what it's like to

the production, but how do we communicate

a genuine, full picture of who I am. Because we

watch a show where a character switches out.

better with an audience? How are we more

live in a world where people want to know you in

You are vehemently opposed to the idea for a

authentic? How are we more honest? How

an instant, and that's not realistic.

very long time.

do we engage with people? I'm always trying

We came on with almost a completely new

to figure out those increments that can make

roster of correspondents, and so we had to

You're the second Darrin on Bewitched.

us better.

grow each person into a fully-fledged character

[Laughs] I know what you mean, but there's so

that the audiences could love. So Roy Wood

many characters like that on TV where I realize

everything at once. You can't move mountains,

Jr. comes on board, and from day one I know

how much I loved the person who was hosting

but what you can do is move pebbles every day

he's a star. But it's like, how do we present Roy

the show so when the person left, I struggled to

and build a new mountain.

Wood Jr. to the audience in his authentic way?

connect with the new hosts. I had to take that

Because Roy Wood Jr. is not going to be the

into account on behalf of my audience and say

really proud of our team—two and a half years

same correspondent that Steve Carell was on

to myself, “Hey, just remember what it feels like

in, we've been nominated. And you look at the

The Daily Show. But he's going to be a star in his

to be an audience member working with a new

other nominees: Nobody's a slouch.

own right. It was the same with Jordan Klepper,

person on an old show.”

Very early on I learned you can't do

But it's not an easy road to be on, and I'm

everyone. It's about building each segment, There are a couple people who didn't make it, and they're no slouches either...

building each idea. And then for me, it was about building the

It's time. Relationships are forged through time. There's no artificial way. It's all just time. Neal Brennan, who is co-creator of The Chap-

Right. It's an extremely competitive category

show, figuring out how to tweak the writing. One

pelle Show, he's a really good friend of mine. He

now. There was a time when there were

thing that was really interesting and difficult

said to me early on—and he really gave me great

a few shows in it, and now it feels like every

when we started was how people would say,

advice—he said, “Don't be afraid of the idea that

show is in it.

“Oh, The Daily Show has a lot more black jokes.”

you'll be working in a vacuum for a long time.”

I was like, “What does that mean?” I had never Well, don't tell that to Seth Meyers.

heard anyone say that before because I had

How so?

I think Seth is in for writing though. So it's just

never thought of jokes being black. You, as a

You'll be working in a world where it feels like

a highly populated category, and I'm really

performer, may have a race, but the joke is from

nobody is paying attention to you, but you've

proud of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

your point of view.

got to keep working. You've got to keep making

because this is our first award validation on

So what was interesting to me was, how

the best show every day. So what I focused on

that level. Though that doesn't define what

do you bridge the gap between what people

was my audience. Who's the audience? Who's

we do on the show.

perceive as a 'black joke' and jokes that they're

watching my show? What do I wish for them to

more comfortable with? How do you stay

experience when they watch the show?

Those pebbles you mentioned moving. Can

true to the comedy that you want to perform

you name a couple of them?

and also find a way to bridge the gap to bring

Because you can get all the accolades in

First of all, you're introducing yourself to a new

people into a world that you now realize they're

the world, but if people aren't watching, you

audience, and the audience is being introduced

completely unfamiliar with?

become the darling that's off the air.

ship; especially a show that's built around satire

Is there a sense on your part that you could

critical acclaim?” You can only hope it will come,

and political humor. Half of the conversations

tell the same joke Jon Stewart might have

but you can't manufacture it.

we have about politics, we have with our

told and people would think you were doing

friends. So to have an absolute stranger come

a 'black joke'?

It's hard for me to understand the idea

into your world and start telling you about

I think you're right. In a way it's jarring for

of you working in a void. You're in a huge

politics is a very jarring experience. Every pebble

people, on multiple levels. I have my face, my

spotlight. Where is this void?

is me trying to imbue within each show a little

skin color, and then I have my accent. So there

So this is my view: there's so much TV now that

to a new host. A show is based on a relation-

The first mountain to climb was the ratings.

Once you build that, then you go, “OK, well,

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even TV critics can't watch it all. I've met multiple TV critics who say, “I don't have time to watch all the shows that I'm trying to critique.” People then try to find shortcuts. They watch a clip of the show, and a lot of people have based their opinions of TV shows on a clip or a snippet or a YouTube clip. There's people who don't know that James Corden has a show. They think he drives around in a car. That's what I mean about working in a void. It's not that no people are watching, it's that more and more there's nobody noticing all the good work you're doing on the show. But from the beginning of your hosting The Daily Show, you were getting a lot of attention. People wondered whether the show could survive Jon Stewart’s departure. It was a big discussion. OK, let me put it this way. This is why I notice it: it’s because of when people will come in and comment. Let's say initially you're in the news because you're taking over from Jon. Crazy, right? Everyone goes, “Will it happen? This cannot happen. It's madness.” Then you take over officially and the first week is, “Can he? Can he not? What is this? Who is he?” Then people form their opinions. They watch the first week and then a lot of them disappear. There's like a silence. And then

find a way to make the show live everywhere at

people will dip back in six months [later] to see

the same time.

what's going on. But then you'll see someone commenting

And I love it. The Daily Show is now the most engaged late-night show on social media. So

saying, “Oh, Trevor Noah said this,” and you real-

we've done a really great job, and I'm really

ize if they had actually watched the show they

proud of the digital team that has come in and

would have had the full context. So you find

looked at it as an authentic experience for each

we're doing a show every day for a week, and in

platform, as opposed to trying to retrofit.

that week we're building a narrative or story. On

What we don't do is just slapdash pieces of

the fourth day I tell a joke that's a call-back to

the show online. We try and make it a combina-

a joke on Monday, and then someone just picks

tion of, “Here’s a bit of the show,” and promot-

that up and goes, “Trevor Noah just said this.”

ing the show, but we're also creating original

And you're like, “Oh, no, no. That was a call-back

content for those platforms. Our Snapchat is

to an earlier joke...”

designed to be on Snapchat. Our Instagram is

You start realizing people are consuming the show in bites. And that's part of moving those

for Instagram. There are jokes on Twitter that never get onto the show and vice versa.

pebbles. I realized I had to create an environ-

Sometimes there's a synergy between

ment where the show existed beyond just the

the two, but a lot of the time they're running

time slot that we live in.

independently.

That's what birthed Between the Scenes— our whole digital department and the way

Ever fantasize about the days when people

we approach creating for the internet on all

just had one job to do?

different platforms.

Yeah, I mean I sometimes wishfully think about a time when TV was king, but I also

Which were Emmy nominated as well [The

think the competitive landscape we're in

Daily Show was nominated for Outstanding

pushes you to make a better show. I know

Interactive Program and Between the

that being here for these three years now has

Scenes for Outstanding Short Form Variety

made me a better writer, a better producer, a

Series].

better showrunner.

THE COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE WE’RE IN PUSHES YOU TO MAKE A BETTER SHOW. I KNOW THAT BEING HERE FOR THESE THREE YEARS NOW HAS MADE ME A BETTER WRITER, A BETTER PRODUCER, A BETTER SHOWRUNNER.”

That's something that did not exist at The Daily

16

Show before I got here. And it's something I

Has it made you a better man?

aggressively knew we had to push. We had to

I hope so.

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NOAH’S FINEST The best moments so far in Trevor Noah’s Daily Show reign.

WORLD CUP CONTROVERSY July 2018: When French ambassador Gérard Araud wrote to Noah criticizing his “Africa won the world cup” quip following France’s victory, Noah clapped back in his Between the Scenes segment, citing French colonialism and pointing out: “You don't get that tan by hanging out in the south of France.”

LIL’ KIM JONG UN June 2018: Following Kim Jong Un’s meeting with Trump, Noah gave the Korean leader a shiny new moniker. “This summit belonged to Lil’ Kim,” Noah said. “Think about it: the President of the United States flew to meet him on his side of the world. This guy was treated like the world’s biggest diva.”

You know what I'm getting at here?

place where we're sharpening our aim.

DENTURE DONALD

Yeah, I know. And yes, I definitely hope

And we're moving, I think, progressively

December 2017: When Trump named

so and think so. You know why? We

towards a better place in comedy.

Jerusalem the capital of Israel, the slur against

were watching a piece that we made

There’s no denying, even when I got

Palestinians also appeared in Trump’s speech.

two years ago on the show, and it

to The Daily Show, you look around the

“As disturbing as it was today to watch Donald

was crazy because we were like, “We

room, and it is a white male-dominated

Trump add fuel to the Middle East Conflict,”

wouldn't tell that joke today.” Things

space. If you're a white man, it's the

Noah said, “it was even more disturbing to

have changed. The #MeToo movement,

best place to be, in a comedy writing

watch the conflict between Donald Trump’s

the Bill Cosby trial. You look at all the

room. And then if you're a man, it's

teeth and his tongue.”

alt-right in Charlottesville, all of these

a great place to be. And then as you

ideas and all of these things that have

start going through you start realizing...

shaped society very recently.

You're like, “OK, as a white woman…”

Comedy lives in a very interesting

And then you look around and you're

space. I think it was George Carlin who

like, “Where are the black female

said the job of a comedian is to find the

writers?” There are none.

line, know where it is, and then cross

I remember talking to Lena Waithe

it. I've always loved that idea. Because

about that: whatever projects I'm

if I'm saying things that don't jolt you

working on, let me know of young—or

in some way, shape, or form—not to

not—black, talented women who need

offend necessarily, but just to spark

writing jobs. Because oftentimes they

you—then what separates me from an

don't have the avenue to get to those

average person who's just speaking

spaces.

their mind?

When those people were in the

BLAZE BAITING November 2016: Noah seriously tested the resolve of The Blaze commentator Tomi Lahren after she posited her view that Black Lives Matter is a movement of violence, akin to the Ku Klux Klan. “What is the right way,” Noah asked, “for a black person to get attention in America?” He didn’t get a straight answer.

THE INAUGURATION

room—whether black women, or any

September 2015: On his first night

go, “Man, I can't believe he said that.”

women, or members of the LGBTQ

replacing Jon Stewart, Noah paid tribute

And it's oftentimes a larger truth. It's an

community, whoever it is—they just give

to the “political dad”. “Now it feels like the

idea that people didn't even realize they

you a perspective on a joke that you

family has a new stepdad. And he’s black.”

were thinking. You get what I'm saying?

never had. So someone would pitch a

Addressing why a South African national

That's what I've always loved.

joke, people laugh. And then a female

got the role, Noah said American candi-

writer would say, “No, that sounds like

dates had turned it down. “Once again

that I'm proud of is we're also always

you're trying to say that this is about

a job Americans rejected is now being

trying to evolve and move towards a

women,” or, “it sounds like you're

done by an immigrant.” —Antonia Blyth

The whole point of comedy is you

What I have noticed at this show

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The Great Late-Night

TRUMP TAKEDOWN

doing this.” And you go, “Really?” Now you're

About your joke…

engaging in another conversation. You realize

With that joke—and I hate breaking down

how many blinders you have. Same thing with

jokes—but here was a joke where, if I look at

HOW TREVOR NOAH'S FELLOW VARIETY TALK SERIES NOMINEES TACKLE THE PRESIDENT

race. Someone would pitch a joke, and then

the origin of it, in South Africa at the time

as a comedian of color you'd say to them,

there was a giant news story. A newspaper

“Hey, you do realize that joke seems like you're

had printed a story saying that white people

saying this...”

were the most attractive race, and nobody else was attractive. It was this whole thing in

I'm hearing you talk very movingly about

Cape Town and it became a fairly big story.

gender and race, and I'm thinking it must

Now, that's just the backstory. Context. Again,

have been very hard for you to have an old

this is what I was talking about with comedy

recording surface that would seem to go

and jokes and context.

against so much of what you're talking

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

Paperwork Problem In June, Bee notoriously referred to Trump’s daughter Ivanka as a “feckless c—”, but she also pulls no punches when it comes to the President himself. A month post-election, Bee formed a revelatory theory, based on viewing deposition tapes from his lawsuits, during which Trump wouldn’t read from legal papers, having forgotten his glasses. “At first I thought Trump was lying,” she said. “Then it hit me. You heard it here first. People are saying Donald Trump can’t read.”

audience, and they understand the context of

Right.

what we were talking about in that moment. Comedy and context. If a comedian said what

What is it like to be inside something

he said on a bus in front of strangers, people

like that?

would be like, “Who is this mad person who's

You know what's really difficult, I find, with

spewing hate?” You say it in a comedy club

comedy and an old joke—and the backlash

with the wall behind you and the people know

or the outrage that may come with that—is

they've come into a comedy club, people

that, firstly, a lot of the time people don't, with

understand that this is a joke and this is what

good faith, break down the words of the joke.

it [means]. You get what I'm saying? Context

A good example is like, let's say Michelle Wolf, when she was at the White House Sarah Huckabee Sanders burning lies and

that every woman is beautiful in a different

using them to make a perfect smoky eye.

way. There's no measure of beauty. Everyone

18

If I would write the joke today, I hope I would write it differently because I have five

mocking Sarah Huckabee Sanders' looks.

more years of comedy writing experience—

And that's where comedy gets interesting

and accelerated writing experience—at The

because now you're in a place where people

Daily Show that would help me navigate

are arguing about the intent.

how to write that joke. But at the time I was like, “I think all women are beautiful,” and

Well, in that case there was a lot of

somebody had said to me, “You say all women

intentional misreading of that joke—peo-

are beautiful, but I've never seen a beautiful

ple who wanted to say Michelle Wolf was

aboriginal woman.” And I said, “No, you've got

being sexist or mocking Sanders' looks,

to say ‘yet’.”

because they didn't want to acknowledge

I can't fight you on what you've seen

that the joke was about her smearing the

or haven't seen, but I can say “yet”. That's

truth, not smearing her eyeliner.

specifically in the joke. I say “yet”. Because I've

But that's your interpretation of the joke

heard people say that about every race. I've

because you approach Michelle with

heard people say, “I don't find Asian people

good faith.

attractive.” Then I'm like, “No. You can say, ‘I have not seen an Asian person that I've found

I've learned about comedy. If you poison—or

attractive,’ but you can't wipe out an entire

sweeten—the well of somebody's mind before

race. You just haven't seen the one [you've

the joke, they will see what you want them

found attractive] yet.”

to see. So if I played a clip of comedy for you

BFFs 4eva “Today may have been the strangest of all 542 days of Donald Trump’s reign of error,” Kimmel said. Reviewing Trump’s July meeting with his “KGB BFF” Putin, Kimmel pointed out Trump’s “little wink” to the Russian leader, and guffawed during a clip of the President denying Russian election interference. “He [Putin] just said it’s not Russia,” Trump said on screen. “I don’t see any reason why it would be.” “Well I guess that settles it,” Kimmel said.

defines beauty differently.

spin lies. A lot of people interpreted it as her

This is one of the most fascinating things

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

As Trevor, what I was trying to do at the time was make a joke where I was saying

Sanders' ability to morph the truth and to

Melting Ice Cream Trump’s June summit with Kim Jong Un, and his subsequent claim that North Korea is no longer a threat, left Oliver unimpressed. “Donald Trump telling me I can sleep well tonight is like the Grim Reaper telling me to have a happy birthday,” he said. “His presence is the reason I will not.” He went on to describe Trump’s assurances as something like an “ice cream blowjob”—something that sounds great but actually isn’t.

is everything.

Correspondents’ Dinner. She told a joke about

Now, her joke was about Sarah Huckabee

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

So I was telling a joke to a South African

about right now.

So if I was giving a TED Talk, I would just be

from anyone, but beforehand I said to you,

able to give a clean version of my idea. With

“Hey, I just want to warn you, this comedian's

comedy you're trying to stitch in jokes and

really racist,” and I played you the clip, there's

laughs that help get your message across.

a good chance you would see the racism.

And now what sometimes happens is the joke

If I played the same clip for you, but

can mar the message, or the joke can blur the

beforehand teased it and said, “Hey, I hope

message. So people can focus on the joke

you're excited. This guy is brilliant at navigat-

part of the thing that you were trying to say. If

ing race. And it's interesting how he plays with

the joke weren't there, then I would have been

it.” There's a good chance you would see it

able to just give you a clean thesis of my idea.

that way as well.

Jokes can work both negatively and positively

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with regards to a message, I find. So if you said to me,

Muslims, we have Jewish people, we have Christians,

“Hey, Trevor. This joke you told is a joke that can be

we have people who believe in African religions.

used in a negative, or a joke that can be perceived

And that was my thing in South Africa. I loved joking

this way, or whatever.” That's what I've learned about

about everything.

comedy all over the world. I, then, as a comedian, go

I CANNOT BE SORRY THAT A PERSON IS OFFENDED. I CAN BE SORRY THAT I DID A THING, BUT THEN I HAVE TO ASK MYSELF, WAS I DOING A BAD THING THAT I’M NOW SORRY FOR? ACTION IS MORE IMPORTANT.”

And it's because we are in a space there where

like, “Oh, I didn't know that. Thank you for giving me

we all go like, “We are equal and we are trying to

that information.”

believe in equality in this new country.” Everyone

And as Trevor—as a person—I make a decision. I go, “Was that my intention or was it not?” And if it's not my intention then I just go, “I'm not going to do the joke anymore.” But a lot of the time people want to traffic in false

goes, “It's all fair game. It's fair game. It's fair game. It's fair game.” Let's say I made a joke about Hungarian women. Let's say I went like, “Oh, I went to Hungary. Hungarian women da da da da da da. They dress like this,” or

sorries as well. “Are you sorry that you did it?” I'm like,

whatever the joke would have been, that would have

“But I'd be lying to you.” What am I sorry about then?

been how I would have constructed the joke.

I cannot be sorry that a person is offended. I can be

When I went to Australia for the first time, I

sorry that I did a thing, but then I have to ask myself,

discovered a world of Aboriginals that I'd never seen

was I doing a bad thing that I'm now sorry for?

before in my life. I had always seen a romanticized

Action is more important, and that's not what this

image of these people. They liked living in the Out-

issue was about. It wasn't people saying stop doing

back. They liked not being part of communities. They

that joke, it was like, “In 2013 you did a joke that we

liked, they liked, they liked. It's like a fringe, cute thing.

didn't like.” And I go, “Yes, and I haven't done it since.”

It's the same way I might have thought of Native

No one asks you why have you not done it since. No

Americans before I came to America. The images

one asks you why you haven't made a joke like that

that I got in South Africa growing up was cowboys

since. If you look through my body of work, that joke

and Indians. And it was like, “Oh, they wear the

is a one-time joke about that topic. It's never been

feathers and they just enjoy themselves. They live on

repeated. Nobody asks you the why of that.

reservations by themselves. They're cool.”

I can ask you. Why hasn't it been told since? Did

what it actually means to be an indigenous person in

you understand pretty quickly about that joke?

this country. You see what happened with their land.

Why did you never repeat it?

You see what continues to happen with appropria-

In South Africa I joked about everybody, like every-

tion. You see how the image of them in the media is

body. That was my favorite thing to do. And I think

shaped in a certain way. And then you go, “Huh. My

any South African can attest to that. I'm talking

joke now doesn't match the information I have in my

every race, every nationality, every religion. We have

head anymore.” And I can only make jokes based on

Then you get to America and you learn about

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The Great Late-Night

TRUMP TAKEDOWN HOW TREVOR NOAH'S FELLOW VARIETY TALK SERIES NOMINEES TACKLE THE PRESIDENT

The Late Late Show with James Corden Trump Up the Volume After Stormy Daniels detailed her alleged affair with Trump, and threats she’d received from his staff in a July 60 Minutes interview, Trump tweeted, there’s “so much Fake News”, and that it’s “never been more voluminous or inaccurate”. Corden couldn’t resist noting the President’s expansive lexicon. “‘Voluminous’. Wow.” he said in the show’s opening monologue. “Fox News must have been running a lot of shampoo commercials this morning."

the information I have in my head. And then I

unattractiveness would be as sensitive

go, “Oh, this is not cool.”

as it turned out to be?

I'll give you an example, just one random

I want to go to the semantics of what

joke. When I was in South Africa I would have

you just said. You said it's the “same as”

fun joking about growing up in a world where

Roseanne. Maybe it's because you're talking

black fathers were absent. Because I'd be

to me. I don't think it's the same as, and I'll

making a joke for a black audience. We'd be

tell you why. If you—Roseanne—say Valerie

having a good time. We know that not all

Jarrett looks like an ape mixed with the

black fathers are absent, but it's a stereotype

Muslim Brotherhood, you—Roseanne—are

and a trope and you joke about what that is.

making the statement, correct?

Get to America and you look at drugs

What I was trying to do, which I thought

and what's been done to African-American

worked at the time—and then now, five years

communities. You look at police and the way

later, I've been told it didn't work—was argue

they've incarcerated black men at an unfair

an argument.

rate, and you look at how many black men

So I had heard somebody say, “But Trevor,

have been unfairly incarcerated. You look

I've never seen an attractive Aboriginal

at weed, drugs, three strikes. You add up all

woman.” That's what I said in the joke. I said,

of these things and then you go, “Man, the

“I know there are people who say...” So I was

reason black fathers aren't around is not

trying to flip the thing, which is what I always

funny to me now because I have informa-

try and do with comedy. Do you get what I'm

tion.” Once I have information, a lot of jokes

saying? I always try and take what people

don't seem funny.

believe... I do it on The Daily Show all the time. I go like, “Oh, this is your argument? Let's flip

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Trump Bingo In July, after Trump selected Brett Kavanaugh as his Supreme Court nominee, Colbert said, “I don’t know about you, but I’m still recovering from watching America’s Next Top Justice.” Fortunately, he’d found a way to get through the ordeal. “I had a little drinking game,” he said. “I would pour myself a drink every time my glass was empty.” He was however pleased he’d won “Trump nomination bingo”. Showing the audience his game card, he explained, “All the squares say ‘white guy’.” —Antonia Blyth

Some of the information you might have

it on its head.” And so what I was saying was

received after 2013 is that the indigenous

I know there are people who say, “I've never

Australian community has long dealt

seen an attractive Aboriginal woman.” And

with the outside world disparaging its

I said two things. One, yet. You haven't seen

members as not conforming to the white

them all.

world's prevailing standards of beauty. Or conforming to anything to be honest,

actually thought was the edgy thing that I'd

conforming to society in general.

get into trouble about was, “Who cares about your standard of beauty?”

Right. But specifically in this case, with

Essentially, I was like, “For all you know,

this joke, it was about beauty, attractive-

they'll do things that are amazing in bed.”

ness. Isn't it the same as Roseanne Barr

And that's me as a simple guy five years ago

comparing Valerie Jarrett to an ape? She

thinking to myself that's like a pro thing, a

was dealing in old tropes of white people

good thing. It was based around the notion

mocking black people by comparing

of, “Yo, don't write people off just because of

them to apes. Whether or not she knew

one thing.” I was trying to counter the popular

what she was doing, everyone has to

image that people have.

decide for themselves. I'll put it to you this way: How did you not know that this idea of

20

And then the part of the joke that I

The sticking point for me came with the word “yet”. It struck me as though you

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But now you're getting in trouble for what you said years ago. There's two things that I find interesting about that notion. One is when people use the term ‘unearthed’, like something was hidden. I always find that fascinating as a framing. “We've unearthed this video or joke.” There's nothing to unearth. It's a publicly available DVD that I released. Unearth already implies a surreptitious [meaning]. It's like, “Trevor hid this from you. He doesn't want you to know.” No. I've never hidden any of my jokes. They’re my jokes. There's my body of work for you to judge me on. And a big thing a lot of people forget is that audiences are good at telling you when you're going off course as a comedian. Ask any comedian about bombing. You say a thing, and the crowd can laugh, they can be silent, they can ooh, they can boo. But the audience will tell you where the joke is going. So what I find interesting is sometimes what we want to do as people is we want to create an environment where we assign blame or an idea to a person or a thing, and for me, we ignore the context. So they go, “Trevor Noah told this joke five years ago.” To whom? Did the people laugh? How many people were watching this? Do you get what I'm saying? And then you go, “Let's look at all our possible options and think about it. Was this person just a wild PEBBLE BY PEBBLE Clockwise from left: Noah with his Daily Show correspondents; joined by Common; fist-bumping with Hillary Clinton.

maverick saying the most hateful things on stage in front of thousands of people? Or is it possible that the world continued to change?” The Overton Window of what's acceptable shifts in society, and it always has. Go back to the ’80s and watch comedy. Look at what people were saying about gay people. I was watching old episodes of sitcoms on TV. On Friends, every episode has a

were saying, “Well, I admit that the beautiful

I see that.

derogatory joke about gay people. And at that time

ones are few and far between, but they must be

So your interpretation is “so few and far between”

that was society. I was part of that society as well. I'm

out there somewhere.”

and I'm going like, “No.” I'm saying we have no expo-

not going to act like I was pure at the time. I had been

No! What I was saying is that your exposure to these

sure to Aboriginal people in South Africa.

shaped by my society. I thought that gay jokes were

people is so limited that there's a good chance you have not been exposed to many of them. So again,

Did you see where National Geographic came out and apologized for its racism?

when we look at context and where you are in the

funny. I thought fat jokes were funny. These are all things that have been shaped, and they move over time.

world, in South Africa we had—have—no Mexican

I did.

people. We have no Mexican restaurants. Maybe

They said, “We apologize because over the years

doesn't mean it doesn't shape me going forward.

there's one or two now. But as a cuisine and as a

we have almost purposefully presented images of

I'm always willing to accept that I've been part of

people, that is something we weren't exposed to

communities around the world in a way that makes

a society that does things or that did things that it

in South Africa. So there's a good chance that, as

them look more primitive and more tribal, and we

would not find acceptable today.

a South African, the first time you meet a Mexican

apologize.”

person is when you come to America or when you go to Mexico. I grew up in a world where people would say

Then I go like, “You see. These are all the things

It doesn't mean that it doesn't weigh on me. It

As Trevor, I continually have to define myself by the change because if I don't then I will eternally

that affect us as people.” If you grow up in a world

self-flagellate myself for everything that I thought

where the only exposure you got to a certain race or a

when I was 22. Good lord.

statements like this all the time. I grew up in a school

certain group of people was being cultivated in such

where my white friends would say, “Trevor, I don't

a way to show you only one thing, are you then wrong

That's a very rational, thought out response.

think black girls are attractive.” Then I'd be like, “No,

for knowing that one thing? Or is the media that

I'm wondering, though, what's it been like

man. How many black girls do you know?” And then

you've been fed to blame for what you believe is true

these past weeks for you, in your gut? Even if

they would only be able to count 10.

information?

you believe that your words were totally out of

So what I'm saying is, you cannot make a

I know it's weird, but I'm used to it when it comes

context, is it upsetting still to hear that you've

statement like that because you have not seen

to comedy. It's part and parcel of what comedy is. I

hurt people or upset people?

enough of them to make a statement. That's where

don't think there's ever been a time when comedians

Here's the best analogy I could use. It's almost like

I'm coming from.

didn't get into trouble for what they said.

I'm a toy manufacturer and now I've found out that D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

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I’D LOVE TO INTERVIEW MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. BECAUSE I WOULD LOVE TO GET HIS PERSPECTIVE ON HOW PEOPLE SEE HIM TODAY. HAS HIS DREAM BEEN ACHIEVED?”

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somebody choked on one of my toys. That's not

more time in a news cycle than something that the

came on our show. And what's been really sad

what I intended when I made the toy. And someone

President of the United States said. That blows my

to see is how terrified people now are of crossing

would say, “But surely you should know that there's

mind. And this happens not just to me. It's, “Dave

Trump or even being perceived to cross Trump.

a choking hazard.” I'm like, “Yeah, but I wasn't think-

Chappelle said this in his standup. Did you know

ing of that when I was making the toy. What I was

Chris Rock said this? Trevor Noah said this. People

opinions on Donald Trump. Now he won't touch us

trying to do with the toy was bring joy to people.”

are offended. Ricky Gervais said that...” Everywhere,

with a 10-foot pole. It's like media silence now.

As time progresses you learn how to make toys

everywhere, everywhere. And it's interesting to me.

Lindsey Graham came here before, gave his honest

I remember Omarosa was coming here, and then

better. You change how you make them. You then

I'm not saying comedians should have no

are more intentional about which parts go where

impact. Being a comedian I believe comes with

literally like a few days before the interview, she canceled because the White House was like, “No,

because you learn that this is a hazard. This is a

the implicit risk of saying a thing that may offend

we don't want you going.”

choking hazard.

someone, and then you tweak it. Chris Rock talked

Look at what toys kids used to play with, and

about when people in the audience began recording

What a shame. And I'm not being sarcastic.

look at us now. We don't go to Hasbro and say, “Do

standup at shows. He said, “Good luck working on a

But that's where we are now. That's genuinely

you apologize for what your toys did back then?”

joke anymore.” Because that's what comedy used to

where we are now. People are just afraid of

Hasbro goes like, “We don't make that toy anymore

be: you come in with an idea, it's horrible, it's raw, it

putting themselves in a space where their side

because we didn't like what was happening.” And so

doesn't work. You start off with that idea. It's maybe

may deem them a traitor, and the other side

that's how I feel. To say that I'm hurt I feel like makes

extremely sexist. You keep working it until you create

may create an environment that they feel is

it seem like I'm a victim in the thing, but I'm not. As

this joke where people go, “Man, what a beautiful

adversarial or not conducive to their agenda. But

a person, my emotions, I keep to myself and I go like,

piece.” But if someone recorded that or got it at the

I continue to invite everybody to the show. I put

“Hey, man.” I work to get over it, and try and write

wrong time, then they go like, “Oh, no. You're sexist.”

out invitations all the time.

better comedy all the time.

The best way I can say it is, think of it like building a house. That's what you're trying to do

Dream guests, living or dead. And what would

because that's what I'm trying to do. And that's

with every joke. You're trying to build a house. If

you ask them?

fundamentally all it is.

someone comes and you've just dug the founda-

That's an interesting one. I think I still would say

tion, then you're just some asshole who dug a hole

Donald Trump, because I'm intrigued about the

in the ground.

questions that people ask him versus the questions

I am sad when a joke doesn't make people happy

The big thing that frustrates me is that we live in a soundbite world. People would be shocked at how many times in this building we say, “In Trump's

I know I can never please everybody. I know that

that I would want to ask him.

defense, this is what he's [trying] to say.” When Jeff

I can never appease everybody. What I always try

Sessions was chanting, “Lock her up,” with those

to do, though, is make sure that my body of work,

What would you ask him?

high school kids, I'm like, “No, he wasn't.” He may

hopefully, in time, when someone looks at it, will

The question always changes because he always

have chuckled at the crowd and, yes, we can go

go, “Well, when I look at the body of his work, that's

does new things. But it's the where and the how of

look at Senator McCain [who corrected a woman

what I will define him by.”

the asking. It's interesting to watch how people ask

for suggesting Obama was Muslim] and say, “Well,

So I say to people, “Do you choose to define me

him questions and why they ask him what they're

maybe he should have been more like McCain, a

by a joke here or there? Or do you choose to define

man of virtue, and said to the crowd, ‘Don't do

me by my body of work and the journey that I've

that.’” But that's a different conversation, and I, as

taken?” If you say, “He made those jokes long ago.

really, really tough one because there are so many

Trevor, will go, “Hey, man. The guy wasn't chanting,

He doesn't make them now,” I ask you to process

and you think about why you're interviewing and

‘Lock her up.’” I'm not a fan of Jeff Sessions, but I

what that means. “He doesn't make the jokes that

what you'd be interviewing them for.

don't feel the need to unnecessarily put something

he made when he was a younger person.” Yeah, I

on him when there's more than enough stuff that's

hope you would say that.

not open to interpretation that I can put on him. And so what frustrates me is that it's just

A friend of mine said to me, just to give me con-

asking him. And a guest who's no longer living? That's a

I guess probably now it would be Nelson Mandela. Or if it was an interview for The Daily Show I actually think the person I'd love to

text because I was feeling really down at some point,

interview is Martin Luther King Jr., because I would

like I'm in a space where you have a five-minute

my friend just turned to me and he said, “Do you

love to get his perspective on how people see him

interview [about his 2013 joke], and you're on a

ever think to yourself that all your scandals as Trevor

today, how people have reshaped his message and

phone with someone and it's like, oh lord. How

Noah are about comedy?” I said, “What do you

ideas to suit them today, and how he perceives

do I explain this to you in five minutes? How do I

mean?” And he said, “If you've ever had a scandal as

America. Has his dream been achieved? How does

explain this to you in a way that gives it both the

Trevor Noah, it's about comedy. It's about a joke. It's

he respond to protests and what's happening in

gravity and the nuance that it deserves? We don't

about a joke. It's about a joke. It's about a joke.” He

the world?

live in that world anymore.

said, “That's a pretty good life for you to be living.”

Just going back to where we started in the conversation, there's a classic example of

The fact that we have these records—videos,

Is there anybody you wouldn't have on

interpretation. There are many people in America

tweets—that can be unearthed, to use the

your show?

who think Martin Luther King is a peaceful-protest-

word you don't like, is there a chilling effect

No. I've invited everybody on the show. Before

only, non-oppositional, that's-his-message-he-

with comedians? Or do you not allow yourself

Trump was elected president, we had more

preached kind of person, and then when you read

to think about it?

Republicans on the show because they accepted

his works you realize that there is a lot that people

I don't think there's a chilling effect of unearthing

our invitations, everyone from Rand Paul to

have left out of him. And that's what people can

comedians. I think there's a chilling effect of people

Chris Christie.

always choose to do. They can define you by a

giving the words of comedians the same gravity that they would the words of politicians. I'll give an example. I think it's crazy for myself that I've seen a joke that I made in 2013 occupy

moment, but when they look through all of your Bill Maher says that about his HBO show too.

work, you will find a much more nuanced and

Republicans won't come on now.

complicated individual to deal with. And so I would

Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, everyone

love to have him on the show. ★ D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

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D THE DIALOGUE

Anthony ANDERSON Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series black-ish

What was the genesis of this season’s memorable “Juneteenth” opener? The genesis of the story was, why celebrate Columbus Day when he was such a bad person? A rapist, a murderer, [and] a bunch of other things who never set foot, literally, on American soil. Kenya [Barris, series creator] was at home and one of his sons had come home, and they were talking about Columbus, and he was telling that to Kenya, and he was like, “You’re lying. I’m taking you out of that school. They don’t know what they’re talking about.” Then, learning his history, that’s what he found out, and this was something that he wanted to speak about. He was like, “Yo, why are we celebrating this when we should be celebrating something in our culture, outside of Martin Luther King’s birthday?” —Dawn Chmielewski

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EMMY NOMINEES 2018

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Sandra OH

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Killing Eve

M I CH A E L B UCK N E R

What went through your mind when you first read Killing Eve? As soon as I started reading it, what jumped off the page to me were a few things: the originality of its tone and the fact that I felt like I understood where Phoebe [Waller-Bridge] was coming from immediately. The idea that it’s a psychological piece between these two women, about the female psyche, was so interesting to me. How does Eve speak to the kinds of characters you’re interested in portraying now? The character of Eve is, I think, new. I’m interested in new—not just for the sake of it, but to expand and push where we are. Which has always been a part of my work, because there aren’t a lot of Asian-American actors who are consistently working and being a part of the main part of the storytelling. But, mostly, it’s the fact that Eve is a new character, from a new imagination. I could tell that from certain things on the page, but you never know how it’s going to translate. But I do think that our end product actively has all those things that I felt I saw from the very beginning. —Matt Grobar

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THE DIALOGUE

Darren CRISS

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Why did you want to play a character as dark as serial killer Andrew Cunanan? The thing that makes Andrew interesting is not the stuff that is dark or scary or uncomfortable. It’s the multitude of colors that exist on his palette, and that’s what actors really crave. This was really a dream project, and it’s a difficult thing to say because, obviously, this is a very tragic figure. But all I could do was try and bring a kind of positivity to this darkness by telling a story in a certain way, raising certain questions that we can ask 20 years later about not only him, but ourselves and our society.

A ARO N JAY YOU NG

What are your creative goals as you look ahead? For me, it’s always about keeping not only myself but other people off-kilter. Actors and storytellers are capable of so many different kinds of things that it’s important to me to be able to represent all of those different colors, and all of those different people and feelings. I’m in it for the long game, man; I’m all about trying to curate a lexicon of characters that are extremely varied. —Matt Grobar

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Antonio BANDERAS

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Genius: Picasso

How did you break through the mythology surrounding Picasso to figure out who this man really was? What I knew I had to do from the beginning was just to metaphorically kill myself, in order to start building somebody new—somebody that I’ve known since I was born. I was born in the same town he was born, and he has been in my mind for a long time. It was a challenge, trying to find Picasso somewhere in the middle. Then, just researching in the direction of the genius behind the character that I was playing, and then the personal side of him, all the complexities and the depth of a mind like Picasso’s.

M I CH A E L B UCK N E R

Your personal understanding of Málaga and the people there must have been an invaluable resource… I think I’ve said something like, “I have seen many Picassos on the streets of Málaga.” People like that, with that quality— especially old people that I have seen that I can put together with him. Among other people, my father, people from my family born at the end of the 19th century with a very specific way of understanding life, communication, events, politics, society, art. I have seen that very close. —Joe Utichi

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D

THE DIALOGUE

Jason BATEMAN Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Outstanding Directing For a Drama Series Ozark

How did it feel to be directing Ozark while starring in it at the same time? I feel very fortunate that I was embraced, hired, encouraged to do dramatic work. I’m either a masochist or a hedonist, however you look at that job, but I really wanted to challenge myself to direct a 600-page movie. I ended up just doing the first two and the last two episodes of the first season, but, as EP on the show, it allowed me to scratch that same sort of itch by overseeing that whole process. That’s been really satisfying and fulfilling, creatively.

M I CH A E L B UCK N E R

What have you enjoyed most about portraying Marty Byrde? I love playing the guy in the middle, always, whether it’s a comedy or a drama. I really enjoy occupying the space of proxy for the audience. I just like that responsibility, and Marty certainly is that in this show. It allows you to take bigger swings with the other characters and some of the plot lines. This [series] will succeed based on its ability to make you feel a sense of rawness, and an unsettling ride for a family that should feel relatable. —Pete Hammond

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Ken BURNS Lynn NOVICK

Outstanding Directing For a Documentary/Nonfiction Program The Vietnam War

M I CH A E L B UCK N E R

The Vietnam War is 18 hours long, culled from a decade’s worth of work. Did you always know that you’d be making such an epic? Novick: We didn’t know how long the film would be when we set out, but everyone on our team understood it was such a defining event in American history, and extraordinarily important to understand our country now. There was the sense that Americans never had really availed ourselves of the opportunity to find out what the war meant for the Vietnamese, and you can’t understand the war—what happened and why—without knowing what they were thinking and doing.

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What are the challenges in presenting history in documentary form? What are your rules? Burns: Just tell the truth. The Battle of Gettysburg can only happen in July of 1863. Just remember, we didn’t make this film knowing that Donald Trump would be president. We just made this film. That’s all we do, and we do a good job. It’s so important for us not to put our thumb on the scale, even though there’s a wonderful, honorable tradition of documentaries advocating certain political points of view. —Mike Fleming Jr.

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D

THE DIALOGUE

Sarah SILVERMAN

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series I Love You, America With Sarah Silverman

What have you learned in the process of making the show? One thing I learned is, you really can’t change people’s minds, as ironic as it sounds, with facts, or poll numbers, or things like that. They feel judged, their porcupine needles go up—and this is all of us. When people feel seen and not judged is when they are open. It’s so easy to be disconnected from each other with social media and this kind of righteousness porn that I see just as much on the left as on the right, until you connect. It doesn’t have to be about anything substantive to see yourself in each other. —Pete Hammond

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M I CH A E L B UCK N E R

What was the initial intent in making I Love You, America? The quick one-sentence thought was “Mr. Rogers for adults.” It just felt like it was really time to remember things like, “If it’s mentionable, it’s manageable,” and, “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.” The challenge of having a show like that, that’s about connection and compassion, is making sure that number one, above all of it, it’s very silly and still hard comedy—and in my opinion, it’s just how I dreamed.

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THE DIALOGUE

Bruce MILLER

Outstanding Writing For a Drama Series The Handmaid’s Tale

With Season 2, you moved beyond the scope of Margaret Atwood’s novel. Was that nerve-wracking? It was very akin to the feeling in the first season. You just don’t want to fuck it up. Moving ahead, Margaret was the most encouraging and fearless person in that process. But I think that we’re still in Margaret’s world— aren’t we all in Margaret’s world?

M I CH A E L B UCK N E R

How have you managed to keep the show grounded in the face of so many ominous real-world developments? So much of our show is about point of view, and June’s point of view, that you want to keep it on a human scale. Once you start saying, “Oh, we’re going to show the 30,000ft view,” none of us see the 30,000ft view, and that doesn’t relate to how we’re living through the world today. The more you can make it her experience, living her life and having these big things happen, it feels more like our experience. That’s the biggest part about it, to maintain the connection that the audience feels to Offred and her experience. —Dominic Patten

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THE DIALOGUE

Betty GILPIN

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series GLOW Did you have any trepidation about this project before signing on? After auditioning for a lot of ‘Jargon Neighbor’ or ‘Exposition Wife’ parts, auditioning for GLOW and googling what GLOW was, and seeing mentally unwell, maniacal Barbie people in drag queen makeup, I was like, “It’s my greatest dream!” So no, I was ready to take a big swing.

M I CH A E L B UC K N ER

At its heart, the series feels like a love story between your character, Debbie, and Alison Brie’s Ruth—however antagonistic these women may be… I feel sad that we only really get one scene in the pilot before everything falls apart, where we’re friends—and then in all our other scenes together, we’re not making eye contact. In those rare moments where we do make eye contact, it was like, “Ah! I’m looking in her eyes!” I don’t know. I loved it so much. We fell in love with each other during our audition process. I had to try and hold back because I didn’t want to fall in friend love with [Brie] and then be told that we couldn’t be together. —Michael Ausiello

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Jeff DANIELS

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie The Looming Tower Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Godless

M I CH A E L B UCK N E R

What qualities did you see in Godless and The Looming Tower that spoke to you? ‘Smart’ is the word that keeps coming back. You can find smart on television, and they market to those people. The Looming Tower and Godless aren’t marketed to people who need a quick fix. For the actors, for the writers, you’re not doing something you’ve done before. That’s what I’ve found. And I couldn’t have told you that was coming. After a 40-year career, is it tough to find these new experiences? Not since television changed. I read that book, The Big Picture [by Ben Fritz], and it seemed to me all the writers went to HBO and Showtime and Starz, and now Hulu and Netflix and Amazon. They get to have an edge. There’s a freedom in that creativity. Look, I’ve been lucky. I came into television and I had Aaron Sorkin driving the bus. I get that it’s not like this, but I came in at a time after, I think, Jim Gandolfini changed the landscape—the original guy who broke down the door— where he made the antihero popular in a big way. —Joe Utichi

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EM M Y 2 01 8 H AN DICAPS / BY P ETE H A M M O N D

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES It’s co-star versus co-star in the Lead Actor race this time around, as Westworld’s Jeffrey Wright and Ed Harris battle for the gold, while This is Us stars Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia face off again for the second year running. Brown won that round in 2017—but will Ventimiglia prevail in the rematch? The category also sees the return of Matthew Rhys of The Americans, which is looking at its final chance for glory this year, and making his debut in the category is Jason Bateman, who also has a directing nomination for first year Netflix series Ozark.

Jason Bateman

Sterling K. Brown

Bateman has been nominated twice previously—in 2005 and 2013 for Arrested Development. But he was overlooked for Mitchell Hurwitz’s series this time around and made the switch instead to Drama. The actor finds himself up for two Emmys, not only for his turn as Ozark’s Marty Byrde, but also as a director on the Netflix series. Can this TV comedy veteran make a breakthrough in either category?

An Emmy-winner for the past two years in a row, first in 2016 for the O.J. Simpson limited series on FX, and then last year for the debut season of This is Us, Brown finds himself the defending champ in this category, and also benefits from a second Emmy bid this year as Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his appearance on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. His Emmy track record speaks for itself and there is little reason to expect that his lucky streak won’t continue.

Ozark Netflix

This Is Us NBC

Ed Harris

Matthew Rhys

Milo Ventimiglia

Jeffrey Wright

A perennial nominee, Harris has four Oscar and three Emmy nods to his name but has yet to grab any gold. He was overlooked for Westworld’s first season but he’s had an especially strong year, and could finally make it to the winners’ circle with his charismatic performance on this popular and complex series, which benefits from an especially strong showing this year—21 nominations in all. The bad news? He’s competing with his co-star, which could split votes.

The FX series ends its five-year run this season, giving Rhys—a nominee for the past two years for his role as undercover KGB agent Philip Jennings—one last crack at the Emmy. Now that the show is over, Rhys could steal the advantage here, just as Jon Hamm was finally rewarded on the last chance he got for Mad Men.

Ventimiglia had to settle as runner-up for his first-ever Emmy nomination for this series last year, seeing his co-star Sterling K. Brown triumph. Could the switch be on this time around? Ventimiglia had, by far, the most-talked about episode this season, where it was revealed just how his character Jack Pearson died. It was the kind of flashy acting showcase Emmy voters love— but Ventimiglia still has to face stiff competition.

A previous Emmy winner in 2004 for the miniseries Angels in America, Wright received his second consecutive nomination for Westworld this year, but because of the increased spotlight on his role, he has moved up from Supporting to Lead Actor. Wright has been rightly praised for his performance as the unreliable narrator Bernard Lowe. But will he cancel himself out by competing with Ed Harris, both new to this category this year?

Westworld HBO

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OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

The Americans FX

PETE’S

WINNER PICK

This Is Us NBC

Westworld HBO

Offering a bounty of superb performances, this category has no returning champ from last year, although Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage is back after GoT took a hiatus last season. He has won twice previously, but this time around must face first-time nominee and acclaimed co-star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. The popularity of The Handmaid’s Tale could lift the chances of firsttimer Joseph Fiennes, though it’s the women who get the lion’s share of attention—and nominations—for that series. David Harbour has his second consecutive nod here and might be the choice for Stranger Things, even if voters ultimately ignored its above-theline accomplishments in Season 1. Matt Smith gets a royal vote of confidence for his last turn in The Crown, earning a first mention here, while, on the opposite scale, veteran Mandy Patinkin (a winner in 1995 for Chicago Hope) has grabbed his seventh nomination, and his fourth for Homeland, as CIA man Saul Berenson. But Homeland is the only show in this category that doesn’t have a corresponding Drama Series nomination this year, which perhaps lessens his chances.

WINNER: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones

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OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES Two past winners in the category, versus four past Emmy nominees trying to break into that exclusive club—including the first ever Asian contender here— make up the extremely competitive lineup for Drama Series Lead Actress this year. I could easily have seen slots go to Ozark’s Laura Linney or Maggie Gyllenhaal of The Deuce, or This Is Us star Mandy Moore after her exemplary season, but the field turned out to be simply too crowded. So can it be Keri Russell on her last season for The Americans, or Sandra Oh on her first for Killing Eve as upsets? Or will we crown Claire Foy’s exit as the Queen? Here’s the analysis…

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Claire Foy

Tatiana Maslany

Nominated last year for the first of her two seasons as the young Queen Elizabeth II, Foy lost in a nail-biter to Elisabeth Moss, who rode The Handmaid’s Tale sweep to victory for the first time ever. Can she make a comeback, given that she will be handing the exquisitely acted role over to Olivia Colman next year? Or will she suffer a second loss to the other Elisabeth, the one with an ‘s’ in her name?

Even though she won this category a couple of years ago, Maslany’s return to the competition was a bit of a surprise—after all, the final season of Orphan Black debuted nearly a year ago, even before the 2017 Emmy season was over. But the BBC sci-fi series, in which Maslany plays multiple characters, has not been forgotten, which means you can’t entirely count her out for a second win. Still, it would be an upset, even if she is the only nominee who has won here apart from Elisabeth Moss.

The Crown Netflix

Orphan Black BBC America

Elisabeth Moss

Sandra Oh

Keri Russell

Evan Rachel Wood

After being an Emmy bridesmaid season after season for Mad Men, Moss finally broke through last year when Hulu’s acclaimed dystopian drama debuted. Considering Emmy’s penchant for continuing to reward actors in multiple seasons, Moss would have to be considered a frontrunner here. A star now counting 10 nominations in her career to date, Moss has by far the most of anyone in the category.

Although this nomination for the breakout hit Killing Eve is actually her sixth overall Emmy nod, Oh has drawn the most attention of anyone in the category for making history, by becoming the first-ever actress of Asian descent to be nominated for Lead Actress in a Drama Series. This is not to discount five previous nominations for Supporting Actress in Grey’s Anatomy, where that distinction wasn’t at hand. But the added press can’t hurt her chances.

Like Matthew Rhys, Russell has received her third consecutive Emmy nod for playing undercover KGB agent Elizabeth Jennings in the final season of The Americans— and the same logic applies that does for Rhys. This show about Russian spies in America is incredibly timely right now, and this is the last chance to reward it. But whether it can mount a big assault on the Emmys that sweeps Russell in with it leaves a big question mark, especially in a crowded category.

Wood is clearly making an impact as rebellious Host Dolores in HBO’s sci-fi juggernaut, and it’s landed her a second consecutive nomination, the only one of the show’s lead actors to do it two years in a row in a leading category. There’s great subtlety to her performance— which probably won’t help much, given the flashier roles on display here—but she just might get the gold eventually, if not right now.

The Handmaid’s Tale Hulu

PETE’S

WINNER PICK

Killing Eve BBC America

The Americans FX

Westworld HBO

The biggest question here is, will the plethora of talent from The Handmaid’s Tale simply collide and cancel each other out? In an Emmy rarity, three stars of the series are competing directly against each other this time around, including Alexis Bledel, Yvonne Strahovski, and, last year’s winner, Ann Dowd. Can any one of these terrific performers escape the likely outcome of simply splitting the vote and handing the win to one of four other standalone candidates in the overcrowded field of seven—count ’em, seven—nominees? Four-time Game of Thrones nominee Lena Headey is obviously popular with voters but so far has been an alsoran. Vanessa Kirby’s Princess Margaret in The Crown is on her last stretch with her first nomination. Millie Bobby Brown is back for Stranger Things, but if she couldn’t win last year, I doubt she will this time. That leaves returnee Thandie Newton of Westworld who this season had an extraordinary episode in which she spoke almost exclusively in a very particular Japanese dialect and absolutely killed it. WINNER: Thandie Newton, Westworld

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EM M Y 2 01 8 H AN DICAPS / BY P ETE H A M M O N D

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES Three newcomers to this category add some fresh blood to make it just a bit more interesting. One is a multiple former Emmy winner—decades ago, in the same category—and a beloved TV star; another returns after an extended hiatus from production and the Emmy Race, while the third is a major SNL star who struck out on his own and created, stars in, writes and directs the darkest entry by far. On the other end of the equation are returnees Anthony Anderson of Black-ish, 14-time nominee William H. Macy, and last year’s winner Donald Glover. The latter probably holds the title of frontrunner, but you never know. Here’s how we see it going down…

Anthony Anderson

Ted Danson

A perpetual nominee here as either producer or star of Black-ish, Anderson would seem to be overdue, though it remains to be seen whether recent allegations of misconduct might torpedo his chances for a show that often strikes a serious chord between the laughs, and has the kind of gravitas voters love. If he can weather the storm of some damaging press, perhaps he could pull off an upset. But it looks more likely that his losing streak will continue.

A whopping 16-time Emmy nominee and two-time winner, it wasn’t until the eighth season of Cheers that Danson finally snatched a victory in 1990, after being nominated every single year. He would win again three years later at the end of the iconic show’s run, and then go on to a few nods for another series, Damages. Now he is back in the game and an industry favorite to pull off another victory, but he has stiff competition.

Black-ish ABC

The Good Place NBC

Larry David

Donald Glover

Bill Hader

William H. Macy

A 12-time nominee for writing and producing the iconic Seinfeld, as well as a two-time winner for that series, Larry David was no stranger to the Emmys when Curb Your Enthusiasm came along, for which he could add the title of series star. Six nominations have come his way since, essentially playing himself on the hilarious series, but that hasn’t translated into an Emmy win in the acting categories. That makes him a long shot to take this home, even after a long hiatus during which time you can be sure he was missed.

This quadruple threat has racked up four nominations this year, to add to the other four he received last year, which led to him winning two Emmys for Atlanta. Glover looks to continue the momentum of being the cool new kid on the block, and there is no reason to assume that in a sensational second season, he won’t continue to add to his victories. Look for a big win again in this category, unless someone unexpected comes along to steal his thunder.

Hader is the winner of an astounding five personal nominations this season, including four for this very dark HBO comedy, and one for returning as host of Saturday Night Live. The latter appears to me to be his most likely win, as Barry, in the end, might not turn out to be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s a testament to Hader’s talents, though, that he has made it this far on just one season’s worth of episodes, and it sets the table for future wins for this multitalented actor.

A two-time winner for his dramatic turn writing and starring in Door to Door, Macy has cashed in on the move of Shameless from Drama Series to the comedy categories, where he has now received his fifth consecutive Lead Actor nomination. A multiple SAG winner for the show, he is clearly an Academy favorite but represents the only major recognition this venerable Showtime series receives year in and year out.

Curb Your Enthusiasm HBO

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OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Atlanta FX

PETE’S

Barry HBO

Shameless Showtime

With Veep out of the picture this year, the category has opened up to include some new possibilities, even if it still seems to want to honor nominees from years past, including the last two consecutive Emmy winners in this category—Louie Anderson for Baskets and Alec Baldwin for Saturday Night Live. The liberal bent in Hollywood favors Baldwin’s Donald Trump impersonation to triumph once again, and few expect Anderson to be able to jump back to success after losing in his second season last year. Still, that dress is irresistible. Otherwise, Tituss Burgess of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Brian Tyree Henry, in his first go-round for Atlanta, look like uphill climbs against the competition, which also includes veterans Kenan Thompson of SNL and Henry Winkler as the drama teacher in Barry, providing strong reasons for a vote in their favor. However, three-time winner Tony Shalhoub seems poised for a win with the first series of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, since he is also riding momentum from his recent lead actor Tony win in The Band’s Visit—and voters love anointing a proven winner.

WINNER: Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

WINNER PICK

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OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES The big news here is that the record-breaking run of six consecutive wins in this category for Julia Louis-Dreyfus has finally come to an end, for the time being at least—Veep is on hiatus this year and won’t be back for its final run until next season. That leaves an opening here that hasn’t appeared in some time. If you listen to most pundits, firsttime nominee Rachel Brosnahan has it in the bag as a ’50s era comedienne in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.Can anyone beat her? Here’s the rundown…

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Pamela Adlon

Rachel Brosnahan

Adlon pulled off a surprise nod last year in the first season of the funny and real FX series, and that is proof-positive that voters respond to her character, single mom Sam Fox. Still, it is the only real recognition the show receives, and that means it will still be a real long shot for a win. Adlon isn’t a novice at the Emmys, by any means. But while the actress is a past winner for voiceover work in King of the Hill and a multiple nominee for Louie, this doesn’t look like her year.

As the foul-mouthed housewife-turnedstand-up-comic Brosnahan leaps from an Emmy-nominated guest star turn in House of Cards to the scenestealing and thoroughly talented star of her own show, which has 14 nominations, giving her a further boost. Brosnahan has emerged as the one to beat, even if LouisDreyfus were still in the game this year.

Better Things FX

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Amazon

PETE’S

WINNER PICK

Allison Janney

Issa Rae

Tracee Ellis Ross

Lily Tomlin

No one seems to have a better track record at awards shows than Janney, who has won a phenomenal seven Emmys for three series including The West Wing, Masters of Sex, and Mom, and this year picked up an Oscar for I, Tonya. She also has the distinction of winning Emmys in both Supporting and Lead Actress categories for The West Wing, and she’s trying to do the same for Mom. After winning two Supporting Comedy Emmys, she has switched to Lead Actress and is hoping to repeat the feat.

Many were disappointed when the irrepressible Rae failed to make the cut with the first season of HBO’s Insecure, and may have thought Emmy would just completely overlook this innovative comedy series second time round. They just about did, but at least this time they’ve given recognition where it is deserved to a gifted actress whose very presence in the category just may persuade voters to give the series a shot and watch it. Anything can happen if they do.

After a Golden Globe win for Black-ish in 2017, Tracee Ellis Ross has grabbed her third Emmy nomination for this pertinent and funny series, which has become the top comedy on ABC and continues to grow. It’s not inconceivable that she might be left at the altar again, but with Louis-Dreyfus out of the picture, her real Emmy strength is about to be tested— and we could be in for a surprise.

A 25-time nominee and six-time winner, she has now grabbed her fourth consecutive nomination for Netflix’s smart and sophisticated sitcom about what it’s like to grow older in a society that isn’t always kind to its elders. Tomlin and co-star Jane Fonda (not nominated this time) prove that they have unbeatable chemistry together, and perhaps voters will want to acknowledge that by honoring Tomlin once again—but it doesn’t seem likely. Anyway, where would she find room for yet another Emmy?

Mom CBS

Insecure HBO

Black-ish ABC

Grace and Frankie Netflix

This category sets Emmy records this year just for the sheer number of nominees, which, due to ties, has led to eight contenders— three of them from Saturday Night Live alone. The SNL trio of double winner and reigning champ Kate McKinnon, plus Leslie Jones and Aidy Bryant might, again, split the vote, although McKinnon seems to have the winning touch no matter what the competition is, inside or outside of SNL. Who can beat her this time? I’d probably put my money on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Alex Borstein to pull off a coup, but it’s no sure thing. Zazie Beetz of Atlanta, and Betty Gilpin of GLOW (that show’s only acting nominee) are formidable but not likely to win. Laurie Metcalf, a previous three-time winner here for the original Roseanne series, somehow survived the debacle of this season and emerged with a nomination that might yet turn into gold out of pure sympathy. The other classic reboot, Will & Grace, also garnered a single acting nomination for Megan Mullally, who had a killer episode in which she mourned the death of her maid. If Emmys were handed it out for single episodes, she’d win, but that’s an Emmy practice of the past. WINNER: Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

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EM M Y 2 01 8 H AN DICAPS / BY P ETE H A M M O N D

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE With a win here, one of the six nominees for Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie has a chance to complete an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony), two others could add to their previous Emmy wins, while the other three are simply looking for their first. Among the contenders, three are playing reallife people as distinctly varied as a serial killer, a legendary artist, and a rock-singing Jesus Christ. The competition is so fierce this year that even Al Pacino failed to make the list. Here’s the handicap…

Benedict Cumberbatch Patrick Melrose Showtime

Perhaps the most offbeat, intriguing, and daring portrayal of all the nominees. A sixtime nominee here, and a 2014 winner as Sherlock, Cumberbatch has managed to become a regular in a category that doesn’t generally fill itself with repeat nominees and winners. The sheer risks he takes with the addicted and conflicted Melrose may be too hard to resist. PETE’S

WINNER PICK

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Jeff Daniels

The Looming Tower Hulu This penetrating limited series on the lead-up to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center surprisingly missed a nomination for Best Limited Series, but it did rack one up for star Jeff Daniels. Already an Emmy winner for The Newsroom, Daniels is a double nominee this year, with a Supporting Actor nomination for Godless. Voters will have to decide which Daniels performance to vote for: go for both, or neither? Hmm.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Antonio Banderas Genius: Picasso National Geographic

Following in the footsteps of Geoffrey Rush as Einstein in last year’s Genius, Antonio Banderas plays the great painter Pablo Picasso and throws himself completely into the part—just as he did in And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself, a 2004 contender in the same category that earned the Spanish star his only other Emmy nomination. Playing real-life characters, and especially historical legends, is often a big plus, and that could help Banderas stand out.

Darren Criss

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story FX Also playing a real-life person, Darren Criss takes a startling turn from his popular teen image in Glee to play stalker/murderer Andrew Cunanan, the young man who tracked down and killed fashion designer Gianni Versace. It’s a juicy role to be sure, and Criss won the best notices of his career to date by not pulling any punches, but the nomination, his first for acting, is likely the only win this time around, unless the impressive total of 18 nominations for the show itself can help sweep him in.

John Legend

Jesse Plemons

You probably can’t go wrong playing Jesus Christ, even if the entire role nominated was sung. John Legend relished the opportunity and got the rare nomination in this category for a musical performance. Reviews were rapturous for the man known more for his singing and recording career than acting, but that’s changing fast. He stands to become a member of the EGOT club should he win, since he already has an Oscar, a Tony, and several Grammys.

An Emmy nominee for his role as Ed Blumquist in Fargo just two years ago, Plemons is back in the race, but moved up to the lead category for his impressive work as Robert Daly in this much-lauded episode of the Netflix anthology series Black Mirror, in which he played a bitter game designer. He could be the dark horse in this category.

Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert NBC

USS Callister (Black Mirror) Netflix

Just as Drama Series Supporting Actress saw three women nominated for Handmaid’s Tale, this category also features a logjam of possibilities for The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, with no less than three contenders vying for gold. Ricky Martin, Edgar Ramírez, and Finn Witrock make up the impressive trio, and each would be worthy. Their presence has pushed the number of nominees here to seven this year, where Jeff Daniels, as the villainous Frank Griffin in the western Godless could have an edge if voters want to give him an Emmy for one of his two nominations and choose this over his lead work in Looming Tower. Speaking of which, Daniels is up against his co-star in the latter series, Michael Stuhlbarg, receiving his first Emmy nod after being a regular on Boardwalk Empire for several seasons. He’s well liked, but so is Waco nominee John Leguizamo, and so is Brandon Victor Dixon, who played Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert—there’s an embarrassment of riches here.

WINNER: Jeff Daniels, Godless

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OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE The good news for contenders in this category this year is that there is no juggernaut limited series on the scale of Big Little Lies or Feud to fill up all the slots with giant movie star names. The field is far more spread out this time around, even if one of those Big Little Lies Emmy winners is back in frontrunner position with a powerful TV movie. The list is impressive overall, with four past Emmy winners taking on a four-time nominee and one lone first-timer. Here’s how it looks…

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Jessica Biel

Laura Dern

The first-time nominee is actually a TV veteran, having started as a kid actor on the long-running series 7th Heaven. In this USA mystery series, she portrays a wife and mother who suddenly commits a murder on a public beach. The drama gives Biel the kind of scene-chomping role that wins recognition and Emmys, and she plays it for all its worth—the actress even had to go to therapy afterwards, just to shake it off.

Coming off a supporting win last year for Big Little Lies, Dern continues to show her versatility. Impressively Emmynominated seven times now, for seven different shows, she has moved back up to Lead Actress for the harrowing portrayal of a woman named Jennifer who is reflecting on a past sexual relationship with a much older man and questioning it for the first time.

The Sinner USA Network

The Tale HBO

PETE’S

WINNER PICK

Michelle Dockery Godless Netflix

With three previous Emmy nods as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey, Dockery takes a 180-degree turn in the Old West to gain her fourth nod in Godless as hardened widow Alice Fletcher. Such range is impressive, and that could be enough for voters to sit up and take notice of a star that perhaps Downton fans took for granted. Dockery proves she can change it up with the best of them.

Edie Falco

Regina King

Sarah Paulson

Let’s face it. Falco is a big favorite with Emmy voters—just look at her 14 nominations and four wins, three of which came for the iconic The Sopranos and one for another long running series, Nurse Jackie. It seems whatever she does, Emmy recognition follows, and that’s no different with this chilling true-life tale of the Menendez murders, in which she plays attorney Leslie Abramson. A win would be a first for her in playing a real-life person, and that could be a factor.

Never count Regina King out. After taking two consecutive Emmys for her work in American Crime from three straight nominations in the Supporting Actress Drama Series category, her show was cancelled. But, quick as a flash, she sprang back, and moved up to Lead Actress in a Limited Series for another cancelled show that quickly changed its stripes and rebranded itself to qualify in this category. It worked, and the question remains: can she pull off yet another upset?

Playing Ally MayfairRichards in the latest edition of Ryan Murphy’s longrunning anthology horror series, Paulson impressively finds herself with her fifth Emmy nomination for the series, having played five completely different characters under the AHS umbrella. Yet her Emmy win came for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story not AHS. If the AHS/Paulson trajectory continues, don’t expect her to turn this nomination into a win.

Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders NBC

Seven Seconds Netflix

American Horror Story: Cult FX

Four first-time Emmy nominees make this one of the freshest categories to watch this year, as only two of the six contenders have been to this rodeo before— including Godless’s Merritt Wever, after having previously won in the comedy supporting category for Nurse Jackie, and veteran Judith Light, coming off two supporting comedy nods for Transparent to land one here for The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. My guess, though, is that both are likely to come in behind another nominee from that limited series, Penélope Cruz, who received her firstever Emmy nod as Donatella Versace in her first foray into television since the very beginning of her career. Another first-timer is Sara Bareilles, better known for her music and recent Broadway activities than acting, who earned a nod for playing Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. Also nominated are two other newbies, including Adina Porter in American Horror Story: Cult, and Black Panther breakout Letitia Wright for the Black Museum episode of Black Mirror. There can always be a surprise in these categories, but it looks like it’s Cruz’s to lose.

WINNER: Penélope Cruz, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

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Stella Maeve, Jason Ralph

Ted Danson

Patrick Fabian, Giancarlo Esposito, Rhea Seehorn, Bob Odenkirk and Michael Mando

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Talent behind shows like The Magicians, The Good Place, Better Call Saul, Lucifer, Cloak & Dagger and more took a break from the rush of Comic-Con to appear at TVLine’s Comic-Con Lounge. See more photos and videos at TVLine.com

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Deadline Hollywood - AwardsLine - 08/08/18  

Emmy Nominees/Part 1

Deadline Hollywood - AwardsLine - 08/08/18  

Emmy Nominees/Part 1