2021 Primetime Emmy Awards: ‘The Crown,’ ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ are the top winners

September 19, 2021

by Carla Hay

Pennie Downey, Marion Bailey, Josh O’Connor, Charles Dance, Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Erin Doherty, Michael Thomas and Pennie Downie in “The Crown” (Photo by Des Willie/Netflix)

Anya Taylor-Joy in “The Queen’s Gambit” (Photo by Phil Bray/Netflix)

With 11 prizes each, Netflix’s drama series “The Crown” and the Netflix limited drama series “The Queen’s Gambit” were the top winners at the 73rd annual Emmy Awards, which were presented at The Event Deck at L.A. Live in Los Angeles on September 19, 2021, in a ceremony hosted by Cedric the Entertainer. CBS had the U.S. telecast, with Paramount+ making live streaming of the ceremony available. Going into the ceremony, “The Crown” and the Disney+’s sci-fi drama series “The Mandalorian” were the leading contenders, with 24 nominations each.

The Emmy Awards won by “The Crown” were for Outstanding Drama Series; Best Actress in a Drama Series (for Olivia Colman); Best Actor in a Drama Series (for Josh O’Connor); Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (for Gillian Anderson); Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (for Tobias Menzies); Best Writing for a Drama Series; Best Directing for a Drama Series; Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (for Claire Foy); Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series; Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (one hour); and Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series.

“The Queen’s Gambit” was the top winner in categories for Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie, including Outstanding Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie. “The Queen’s Gambit” also ruled in limited series, anthology series or movie categories for directing; writing; cinematography; single-camera picture editing; sound mixing; production design; casting; period and/or character makeup (non-prosthetic); and music composition (original dramatic score).

Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” was also a big winner, with seven prizes: Outstanding Comedy Series; Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (for Jason Sudeikis); Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (for Brett Goldstein); and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (for Hannah Waddingham). The other three Emmys won by the show were for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series; Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama series (half-hour) and Animation; and Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series.

“Saturday Night Live” won eight Emmys this year, including Outstanding Variety Series. “The Mandalorian” received seven Emmys, all in technical categories. “Mare of Easttown” picked up four Emmys, including three in the field of Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie: Outstanding Actress (for Kate Winslet); Best Supporting Actor (for Evan Peters); and Best Supporting Actress (for Julianne Nicholson). “Mare of Easttown” also won an Emmy for Outstanding Production Design for Narrative Contemporary Program. As previously announced, Debbie Allen received the noncompetitive Governors Award for career achievement.

Presenters and surprise guests included Uzo Aduba, Paulina Alexis, Anthony Anderson, Annaleigh Ashford, Awkwafina, Angela Bassett, Adrien Brody, Aidy Bryant, Sophia Bush, Stephen Colbert, Jennifer Coolidge, Misty Copeland, Kaley Cuoco, Michael Douglas, Ava DuVernay, Lane Factor, Beanie Feldstein, Allyson Felix, America Ferrera, Sterlin Harjo, Taraji P. Henson, Gayle King, LL Cool J, Devery Jacobs, Ken Jeong, Mindy Kaling, Daniel Dae Kim, Vanessa Lachey, Dan Levy, Eugene Levy, Jessica Long, Annie Murphy, Catherine O’Hara, Dolly Parton, Sarah Paulson, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Amy Poehler, Ellen Pompeo, Billy Porter, Michaela Jaé (Mj) Rodriguez, Seth Rogen, Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi, Patrick Stewart, Wilmer Valderrama, Kerry Washington, Rita Wilson, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Bowen Yang and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP tallied the votes for the Primetime Emmy Awards, which are voted on by branches of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, with some special jury awards. The executive producers of 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards telecast were Reginald Hudlin and Done and Dusted.

The 2021 Creative Arts Emmy Awards were handed out in a three-part ceremony on September 11 and September 12 that was webcast on Emmys.com. Highlights of the ceremony were televised on September 18 on FXX. A complete list of winners for the 2021 Creative Arts Emmy Awards can be found here.

Here is the list of nominees and winners for the 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards:

*=winner

Outstanding Drama Series

“The Boys” (Amazon Prime Video)
“Bridgerton” (Netflix)
“The Crown” (Netflix)*
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
“Lovecraft Country” (HBO)
“The Mandalorian” (Disney+)
“Pose” (FX)
“This Is Us” (NBC)

Outstanding Comedy Series

“Black-ish” (ABC)
“Cobra Kai” (Netflix)
“Emily in Paris” (Netflix)
“Hacks” (HBO Max)
“The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max)
“The Kominsky Method” (Netflix)
“Pen15” (Hulu)
“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV +)*

Outstanding Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie
“I May Destroy You” (HBO)
“Mare of Easttown” (HBO)
“The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix)*
“The Underground Railroad” (Amazon Prime Video)
“WandaVision” (Disney+)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
Jonathan Majors (“Lovecraft Country”)
Josh O’Connor (“The Crown”)*
Regé-Jean Page (“Bridgerton”)
Billy Porter (“Pose”)
Matthew Rhys (“Perry Mason”)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Uzo Aduba (“In Treatment”)
Olivia Colman (“The Crown”)*
Emma Corrin (“The Crown”)
Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Mj Rodriguez (“Pose”)
Jurnee Smollett (“Lovecraft Country”)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”)
Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”)
William H. Macy (“Shameless”)
Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”)*
Kenan Thompson (“Kenan”)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Aidy Bryant (“Shrill”)
Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”)
Allison Janney (“Mom”)
Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”)
Jean Smart (“Hacks”)*

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie

Paul Bettany (“WandaVision”)
Hugh Grant (“The Undoing”)
Ewan McGregor (“Halston”)*
Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”)
Leslie Odom Jr. (“Hamilton”)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie

Michaela Coel (“I May Destroy You”)
Cynthia Erivo (“Genius: Aretha”)
Elizabeth Olsen (“WandaVision”)
Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen’s Gambit”)
Kate Winslet (“Mare of Easttown”)*

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

“Conan”
“The Daily Show With Trevor Noah”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”*
“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”

Outstanding Competition Program

“The Amazing Race”
“Nailed It!”
“RuPaul’s Drag Race”*
“Top Chef”
“The Voice”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Giancarlo Esposito (“The Mandalorian”)
O-T Fagbenle (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
John Lithgow (“Perry Mason”)
Tobias Menzies (“The Crown”)*
Max Minghella (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Chris Sullivan (“This Is Us”)
Bradley Whitford (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Michael K. Williams (“Lovecraft Country”)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Gillian Anderson (“The Crown”)*
Helena Bonham Carter (“The Crown”)
Madeline Brewer (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Ann Dowd (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Aunjanue Ellis (“Lovecraft Country”)
Emerald Fennell (“The Crown”)
Yvonne Strahovski (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series*

Carl Clemons-Hopkins (“Hacks”)
Brett Goldstein (“Ted Lasso”)*
Brendan Hunt (“Ted Lasso”)
Nick Mohammed (“Ted Lasso”)
Paul Reiser (“The Kominsky Method”)
Jeremy Swift (“Ted Lasso”)
Kenan Thompson (“Saturday Night Live”)
Bowen Yang (“Saturday Night Live”)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Aidy Bryant (“Saturday Night Live”)
Hannah Einbinder (“Hacks”)
Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”)
Rosie Perez (“The Flight Attendant”)
Cecily Strong (“Saturday Night Live”)
Juno Temple (“Ted Lasso”)
Hannah Waddingham (“Ted Lasso”)*

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie

Thomas Brodie Sangster (“The Queen’s Gambit”)
Daveed Diggs (“Hamilton”)
Paapa Essiedu (“I May Destroy You”)
Jonathan Groff (“Hamilton”)
Evan Peters (“Mare of Easttown”)*
Anthony Ramos (“Hamilton”)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Anthology Series or Movie

Renée Elise Goldsberry (“Hamilton”)
Kathryn Hahn (“WandaVision”)
Moses Ingram (“The Queen’s Gambit”)
Julianne Nicholson (“Mare of Easttown”)*
Jean Smart (“Mare of Easttown”)
Phillipa Soo (“Hamilton”)

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

“A Black Lady Sketch Show”
“Saturday Night Live”*

Outstanding Variety Special (Live)

Celebrating America – An Inauguration Night Special (Multiple Platforms)
The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards (CBS)
The Oscars (ABC)
The Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show Starring The Weeknd (CBS)
Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020: Democracy’s Last Stand Building Back America Great Again Better 2020 (Showtime)*

Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)

Bo Burnham: Inside (Netflix)
David Byrne’s American Utopia (HBO)
8:46 – Dave Chappelle (Netflix)
Friends: The Reunion (HBO Max)
Hamilton (Disney+)*
A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote (HBO Max)

“B Positive” (CBS), directed by James Burrows

“The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max), directed by Susanna Fogel

“Hacks” (HBO Max) directed by Lucia Aniello*

“Mom” (CBS), directed by James Widdoes

“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+), directed by Zach Braff

“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+), directed by MJ Delaney

“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+), directed by Declan Lowney

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

“Bridgerton” (Netflix), directed by Julie Anne Robinson

“The Crown” (Netflix), directed by Benjamin Caron

“The Crown” (Netflix), directed by Jessica Hobbs*

“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu), directed by Liz Garbus

“The Mandalorian,” directed by Jon Favreau

“Pose” (FX), directed by Steven Canals

Outstanding Directing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

“Hamilton” ( Disney+), directed by Thomas Kail

“I May Destroy You” (HBO), directed by Michaela Coel and Sam Miller

“I May Destroy You” (HBO), directed by Sam Miller

“Mare of Easttown” (HBO), directed by Craig Zobel

“The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix), directed by Scott Frank*

“The Underground Railroad” (Prime Video), directed by Barry Jenkins

“WandaVision” (Disney+), directed by Matt Shakman

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

“The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max), written by Steve Yockey

“Girls5eva” (Peacock), written by Meredith Scardino

“Hacks” (HBO Max), wrtten by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky*

“Pen15” (Hulu), written by Maya Erskine

“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+), written by Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt, and Joe Kelly

“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+), , written by Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, Brendan Hunt, and Joe Kelly

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

“The Boys” (Prime Video), written by Rebecca Sonnenshine

“The Crown” (Netflix), written by Peter Morgan*

“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu), written by Yahlin Chang

“Lovecraft Country” (HBO), written by Misha Green

“The Mandalorian” (Disney+), written by Dave Filoni

“The Mandalorian” (Disney+), written by Jon Favreau

“Pose” (FX), written by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Steven Canals, Janet Mock and Our Lady J

Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

“I May Destroy You” (HBO), written by Michaela Coel*

“Mare of Easttown” (HBO), written by Brad Ingelsby

“The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix), written by Scott Frank

“WandaVision” (Disney+), written by Peter Cameron

“WandaVision” (Disney+), written by Jac Schaeffer

“WandaVision” (Disney+), written by Laura Donney

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series

“The Amber Ruffin Show” (Peacock) Universal Television and Sethmaker Shoemeyers Productions

“A Black Lady Sketch Show” (HBO)

“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” (HBO)*

“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (CBS)

“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

2021 Primetime Emmy Awards; ‘The Crown,’ ‘The Mandalorian’ are the top nominees

July 13, 2021

Pennie Downey, Marion Bailey, Josh O’Connor, Charles Dance, Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Erin Doherty, Michael Thomas and Pennie Downie in “The Crown” (Photo by Des Willie/Netflix)

Pedro Pascal in “The Mandalorian” (Photo courtesy of Disney+)

The following is a press release from the Television Academy:

Nominations for the 73rd Emmy® Awards were announced today recognizing a wealth of innovative storytelling, exceptional new programs, and a robust and diverse group of talent nominees.

The live virtual ceremony was hosted by father-daughter duo Ron Cephas Jones (“This Is Us”) from Los Angeles and Jasmine Cephas Jones (“Blindspotting”) from New York along with Television Academy Chairman and CEO Frank Scherma. “The Crown” and “The Mandalorian” have tied for the top spot for program nominations with 24 followed by “WandaVision” (23), “The Handmaid’s Tale” (21), “Saturday Night Live” (21), “Ted Lasso” (20), “Lovecraft Country” (18), “The Queen’s Gambit” (18) and “Mare of Easttown” (16).

HBO/HBO Max leads the nominations in totals by platform with 130. Netflix has the second-most nominations with 129, and rounding out the top four are Disney+ with 71 and NBC with 46.

“Television has provided a lifeline for so many around the globe this year, delivering a constant source of entertainment, information and inspiration during some of our most difficult days,” said Scherma. “We are thrilled to honor the diversity of storytelling in television today by recognizing talented artists, programs, producers, directors and craftspeople throughout our industry and celebrating their commitment to this extraordinary medium.”

“Bridgerton,” “Lovecraft Country” and “The Boys” are newcomers to the Outstanding Drama Series category, joining returning nominees “Pose,” “The Crown,””The Mandalorian,” “This Is Us” and previous category winner “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Seventy-five percent of this year’s nominees for Outstanding Comedy Series are new to the category including “Cobra Kai,” “Emily in Paris,” “Hacks,” “Pen15,” “Ted Lasso” and “The Flight Attendant.” Returning favorites include “black-ish” and “The Kominsky Method.”

In total, there were 44 first-time performer nominations across the Lead, Supporting, Guest and Short Form categories this season.

Jonathan Majors, Josh O’Connor and Regé-Jean Page received their first-ever Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series joining previous Emmy winners in this category Sterling K. Brown, Billy Porter and Matthew Rhys. Emma Corrin, Jurnee Smollett and Mj Rodriguez received their first nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, while previous Emmy winner Uzo Aduba was nominated for the first time in this category. They are joined by returning nominee Olivia Colman and previous Emmy winner in this category Elisabeth Moss.

Kaley Cuoco received her first-ever Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, while previous Emmy winner Jean Smart and previous Emmy nominee Aidy Bryant were nominated for the first time in this category. They join previous Emmy nominee Tracee Ellis Ross and Emmy winner Allison Janney.

Jason Sudeikis received his first-ever Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, while previous Emmy winner Kenan Thompson was nominated for the first time in this category. They join six-time nominee in the category Anthony Anderson, along with previous Emmy winners Michael Douglas and William H. Macy. Individuals with multiple nominations this year include David Attenborough, Sterling K. Brown, Aidy Bryant, Bo Burnham, Steven Canals, Dave Chapelle, Michaela Coel, Jon Favreau, Derek Hough, Brendan Hunt, Maya Rudolph, Jean Smart, Jason Sudeikis and Kenan Thompson.

The nominations rosters may be revised in cases where names or titles are incorrect or appeals for changes—including the addition or removal of names—are approved by the Television Academy’s Emmy Awards Committee. Producer eligibility is based primarily on title; the producer nominees in certain program categories will be announced by mid-August. Final-round online voting begins Aug. 19, 2021.

The complete list of Emmy nominations, as compiled by the independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP, and other Academy news are available at Emmys.com. As recently announced, the 73rd Emmy Awards will be hosted by Cedric the Entertainer. Executive Producers Reginald Hudlin and Ian Stewart and Director Hamish Hamilton have been selected to helm the show for production companies Done+Dusted and Hudlin Entertainment. The Emmys will be broadcast on Sunday, Sept. 19 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/5:00-8:00 PM, live PT) on the CBS Television Network and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. The 2021 Creative Arts Awards will be broadcast on Saturday, Sept. 18 (8:00 PM ET/PT) on FXX.

Review: ‘This Is Stand-Up,’ starring Jerry Seinfeld, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Sebastian Maniscalco and D.L. Hughley

April 13, 2020

by Carla Hay

D.L. Hughley in “This Is Stand-Up” (Photo courtesy of Comedy Central)

“This Is Stand-Up”

Directed by Paul Toogood and Lloyd Stanton

Culture Representation: This documentary is a compilation of interviews, performances and off-stage footage of a racially diverse group (white, African American, Latino and Asian) of well-known, mostly American stand-up comedians.

Culture Clash: The general consensus in the documentary is that being a professional stand-up comedian goes against what most people consider as having a “normal life.”

Culture Audience: “This Is Stand-Up” will appeal primarily to people who are stand-up comedy fans, even though the documentary ignores many problems (such as sexism, joke stealing and monetary rip-offs) in the business side of stand-up comedy.

Garry Shandling in “This Is Stand-Up” (Photo courtesy of Comedy Central)

“This Is Stand-Up” is kind of like the documentary equivalent of speed-dating. The movie packs in many famous stand-up comedians, who deliver a lot of personality soundbites, but ultimately there’s not a lot of depth or anything new that’s revealed for people who already know about the stand-up comedy world. Although a few of the comedians talk about their personal struggles, most just share anecdotes and advice, and the documentary doesn’t acknowledge the sexist and cutthroat side of the business.

Filmed over five years, “This Is Stand-Up” (directed by Paul Toogood and Lloyd Stanton) has a “who’s who” of stand-up comedians (almost all American) who are interviewed in the documentary. They include Judd Apatow, David A. Arnold, Dave Attell, Maria Bamford, Bill Bellamy, Gina Brillon, Cocoa Brown, Cedric The Entertainer, Tommy Davidson, Mike Epps, Jamie Foxx, Gilbert Gottfried, Eddie Griffin, Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart, D. L. Hughley, Mia Jackson, Jim Jefferies, Jessica Kirson, Bert Kreischer, Bobby Lee, Carol Leifer, George Lopez, Sebastian Maniscalco, Jay Mohr, Jim Norton, Rick Overton, Paul Provenza, Chris Rock, Bob Saget, Amy Schumer, Jerry Seinfeld, Garry Shandling, Sarah Silverman, Owen Smith, Kira Soltanovich, Beth Stelling, Taylor Tomlinson, Theo Von and Keenen Ivory Wayans. (Noticeably missing: Dave Chappelle.)

Toogood and Lloyd are Brits who previously directed the documentary “Dying Laughing,” which had a limited theatrical release in 2017. “Dying Laughing” was an interview-only film about stand-up comedians, and featured many of the same people as in “This Is Stand-Up,” such as Seinfeld, Hart, Silverman, Rock, Shandling, Schumer and Cedric The Entertainer. “Dying Laughing” also had more international representation, since it included comedians from Canada (such as Russell Peters), the United Kingdom (Billy Connolly) and Australia (Jim Jeffries).  In “This Is Stand-Up,” Jeffries is the only non-American comedian interviewed in the movie. British comedian Ricky Gervais is shown as a guest on Norton’s SiriusXM radio show, but he’s not interviewed specifically for this movie.

Although it’s important for the documentary to include on-stage footage of the comedians, the best parts of the movie are when the comedians are shown off-stage. Stand-up comedy routines on stage can easily be accessed on the Internet, so “This Is Stand-Up” shines when it has exclusive footage of what the comedians are like in their homes or backstage. Mohr, Tomlinson and Kresicher are among those interviewed in their homes, while some of the memorable tour footage includes Maniscalco and  the “Kings of Comedy” team of Hughley, Lopez, Cedric The Entertainer and Eddie Griffin.

“This Is Stand-Up” is also a good introduction to hear some origin stories from famous comedians if you’ve never heard before how they got interested in doing stand-up comedy. (Die-hard fans of these comedians probably know these stories already, but the documentary assumes not everyone will know about these comedians’ backgrounds.) Silverman says, “When I was 3 years old, my dad taught me to swear, and he thought that was hilarious. I got crazy with power over that. I got addicted to that feeling.”

Schumer says her first introduction to performing in front of an audience and getting laughs was when she was in school plays—but she was getting laughed at for the wrong reasons. It made her angry until a teacher pointed out to her that people laughing at her performance is a good thing because laughter makes people happy.

Foxx remembers being the type of kid who was always mouthing off in class. Instead of sending him to the principal’s office, one of his teachers set aside time in class for Foxx to tell stories. According to Foxx, it was such a hit that other teachers would visit the classroom to watch him perform.

Maniscalco says that he was the opposite of the class clown. He describes himself as a shy and quiet kid who preferred to observe people. And for Rock, his first inclination to perform on stage was inspired by his grandfather, who was a reverend for their family’s church. Rock says that he saw how his grandfather was the center of attention, and it was the kind of attention that Rock wanted too.

In fact, almost all of the comedians in the documentary say in one way or another that being the center of attention is their main motivation for doing stand-up comedy, despite it being a very emotionally demanding way to make a living. Lopez comments, “What I like about comedy is that it’s given me a great life. And now, I know I’m important.”

However, it’s not a revelation that comedians are very insecure in their real lives. Most have openly admitted to being insecure and/or emotionally damaged. And many have even used their insecurities as the basis of their on-stage personas. It’s also clear from watching this documentary that most of the comedians use comedy as a way to fill a deep emotional void to make themselves feel wanted in this world.

Von (who first came to national prominence in the 2000s as a star of the MTV reality show “Road Rules”) is one of the comedians in the documentary who is followed on tour, instead of just doing an in-studio interview. He talks about his financially deprived background and unhappy childhood, which are the foundation for much of the material in his stand-up act. But he also opens up by saying that part of his motivation for doing stand-up comedy is so his mother will approve, since he says he’s never seen her laugh.

The problem with how the filmmakers deal with these stories and anecdotes is that there’s no outside verification. The documentary does not interview anyone who knew these comedians “way back when” or even people who helped give these comedians their big breaks. Everything in the film exists in the vacuum of what the comedians want to say, without including hardly any other perspectives.

One of the exceptions is when the documentary goes to the home of Kreischer and shows some of his life with his wife and two young daughters, who are all interviewed on camera. He gets visibly uncomfortable when his daughters admit that they don’t like it when he’s away on tour. Family members of the other comedians are not interviewed in this documentary.

The nature of stand-up comedy is for comedians to often exaggerate about their lives in order to be funny. “This Is Stand-Up” takes everything that these comedians say at face value and doesn’t dig much deeper. For example, several of the comedians, such as Hart and Bellamy, talk about the importance for comedians to find their unique voices and identities, but the movie doesn’t give examples of how these comedians have evolved.

Hart says, “It takes a little time to develop who you are or who you want to be. I was definitely guilty of that in the beginning of my career. I didn’t have a voice. I didn’t know I could be myself.” That’s all well and good, but if we’re being honest, that’s pretty generic and vague advice.

The comedians talk a lot about how honing the craft of stand-up comedy involves a lot of practice at open-mic nights for little to no money. And getting to the level of headlining a show can sometimes take years. Comedians such as Seinfeld don’t believe there should be any shortcuts to stand-up comedy fame—people have to pay their dues on stage in front of live audiences, not in front of a mirror or on a YouTube channel.

There’s also an entire segment of the documentary devoted to how to deal with heckling and bombing on stage. Shandling talks about once being so paralyzed with humiliation after bombing from a show that he stayed in a car and couldn’t move for about 15 minutes. Rock’s advice for comedians is to resist the inclination to talk faster when being heckled and instead to slow down and take back control.

However, there’s no mention in the documentary about all the sleazy things that comedians encounter on the way to the top—the rip-offs, the unscrupulous managers/agents, or even the difficulty in getting managers or agents in the first place. And because there’s a limited number of comedy clubs in any given big city, it’s a very insular network where the venue owners and concert promoters have a lot of control.

The documentary includes a diverse mix of comedians, yet doesn’t mention a big problem in stand-up comedy: sexism against women. And the movie has an unrealistic portrayal of stand-up comedians as this “we all support each other” community. (The movie uses “The Kings of Comedy” tour as an example.)

Although there can sometimes be camaraderie among comedians, the reality is that stand-up comedy is and can be very cutthroat. This documentary doesn’t even mention the widespread problem of comedians stealing each other’s jokes. And this documentary completely ignores the bitter rivalries that happen in stand-up comedy.

Seinfeld, one of the highest-paid stand-up comedians of all time, echoes what many of the comedians say in the film: Preparing a stand-up comedy show is a lot harder than people think it is. He says, “I adore the rigorous difficulty of creating and preparing a joke.”

He also says that there are four levels of comedy: (1) Making your friends laugh; (2) Making strangers laugh; (3) Making strangers laugh and getting paid for it; and (4) Making strangers laugh, getting paid for it, and then having them talk like you after seeing your show.

The documentary also covers the issues of social commentary in stand-up comedy and “how far is too far.” When asked if any topic is off-limits in stand-up comedy, there’s a montage of comedians who say “no.” Hughley says, “I’ll never apologize for telling a joke.”

Griffin adds, “It’s always comedy’s job to speak knowledge to power about what people are upset about, because comedy has always been about the people.” He compares stand-up comedians to being the modern equivalents of court jesters.

Silverman (who’s no stranger to controversy) comments on how smartphones and social media have impacted stand-up comedy: “It’s especially daunting now, because people are recording with their stupid phones and posting stuff. There’s more at stake to failing than just in the safe walls of a comedy club. That said, you have to not care.”

Although “This Is Stand-Up” fails to address the predatory side of the business (maybe that’s why managers, agents, promoters and venue owners weren’t interviewed), at least the documentary does include the reality that stand-up comedy takes a toll on comedians’ personal lives. Depression, divorce and substance abuse are common with stand-up comedians, as these problems are in many professions that require frequent traveling. But they’re especially toxic for comedians, who are more inclined to be insecure than most other people.

Brillon comments on what stand-up comedians experience in their personal lives: “Relationships suffer—not just romantic relationships, but family relationships, because stand-up becomes the longest relationship in your life—and the most abusive. And you still love it and go back to it.”

Mohr, who’s been very open about his struggles with mental illness and drug addiction, says that for him, stand-up comedy is his greatest love and biggest addiction. Even if he wanted to stop, he says, he’s compelled to keep going: “To be a stand-up comic, you have to be completely unreasonable, unwell and unhinged.”

Haddish explains why stand-up comedians are driven to do what they do: “When you’re on stage, it’s like being next to God … Comedy is the most fantastic medicine you can imagine, not just for the audience, but for the comedian.”

“This Is Stand-Up” might not be very revealing about a lot of showbiz realities, since documentaries and biographies about several famous comedians have already uncovered the dark sides to stand-up comedy. This documentary is, as Toogood describes it in a Comedy Central press release, “a love letter” to stand-up comedians—at least the ones who are famous enough to be in this film. If you want some in-depth insight into on all the sleaze and heartaches these comedians had to go through to get to where they are now, then you’ll have to look elsewhere for those real stories.

Comedy Central premiered “This Is Stand-Up” on April 12, 2020.

2019 Primetime Emmy Awards: presenters announced

September 11, 2019

The following is a press release from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences:

The Television Academy and Emmy Awards telecast producers Don Mischer Productions and Done+Dusted announced the first group of talent set to present the iconic Emmy statuettes at the 71st Emmy Awards on Sunday, September 22.

The presenters include:

  • Angela Bassett* (9-1-1 and The Flood)
  • Stephen Colbert* (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert)
  • Viola Davis* (How to Get Away with Murder)
  • Michael Douglas* (The Kominsky Method)
  • Taraji P. Henson (Empire)
  • Terrence Howard (Empire)
  • Jimmy Kimmel* (Jimmy Kimmel Live)
  • Peter Krause (9-1-1)
  • Seth Meyers* (Late Night With Seth Meyers and Documentary Now!)
  • Billy Porter* (Pose)
  • Naomi Watts (The Loudest Voice)
  • Zendaya (Euphoria)
  • The cast of Game of Thrones: Alfie Allen*, Gwendoline Christie*,
    Emilia Clarke*, Peter Dinklage*, Kit Harington*, Lena Headey*, Sophie Turner*, Carice van Houten*, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau*, and Maisie Williams*

September 17, 2019 UPDATE:

More presenters have been announced for the 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards:

  • Anthony Anderson* (black-ish)
  • Ike Barinholtz (Bless the Harts)
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Neighborhood)
  • Max Greenfield (The Neighborhood)
  • Bill Hader* (Barry)
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus* (VEEP)
  • Cast of VEEP: Anna Chlumsky, Gary Cole, Kevin Dunn, Clea DuVall, Tony Hale, Sam Richardson, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons, Sarah Sutherland, Matt Walsh
  • Gwyneth Paltrow (The Politician)
  • Amy Poehler* (Duncanville and Russian Doll)
  • Maya Rudolph (Bless the Harts and The Good Place)
  • RuPaul* (RuPaul’s Drag Race)
  • Lilly Singh (A Little Late with Lilly Singh)
  • Ben Stiller* (Escape at Dannemora)
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge* (Fleabag)
  • Cast of Keeping Up with the Kardashians: Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner

The 71st Emmy Awards will air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, September 22, (8:00-11:00 PM ET/5:00-8:00 PM PT) on FOX.

For more information, please visit Emmys.com. Find out Where to Watch.

*71st Emmy Awards Nominees

 

https://www.emmys.com/news/awards-news/emmy-presenters-190911

2017 Soul Beach Music Festival: Usher, Mary J. Blige, the Roots, Faith Evans, Cedric the Entertainer to perform

March 2, 2017
Soul Beach Music Festival

Usher,  Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, the Roots and Cedric the Entertainer will perform the 17th annual Soul Beach Music Festival, which will take place  in Aruba from May 24 to 29, 2017. The Roots have teamed up with Usher as his accompanying band, and performed several shows with him in 2016. Blige’s 14th studio album, “Strength of a Woman,” is due out sometime in 2017. In 2016, she co-headlined a tour with Maxwell. Evans was part of the Bad Boy Family reunion tour in 2016. The Roots also serve as the in-house band for NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Usher’s eighth studio album, “Hard II Love,” was released in September 2016.

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