This past weekend, Comedy Central presented its second annual comedy awards. It begs the question, do we need another awards show? Probably not. Do we need more comedy in our lives? Heck yeah!
The awards show itself is definitely in a teething period. From the start, it was obvious who the winners were – as best ‘Club Comic,’ Hannibal Burress pointed out – ‘no one else is here from my category’. However, there were less glaring moments of obviousness during the show. Many of the comedians wrote their own intros, some with greater success than others. Will Arnett had the most charming and self-effacing spiel – my favorite introduction of the evening – with his send up of yet another celebrity gift bag. He reached into a Comedy Awards bag and pulled out a carton of KOOL cigarettes (they still make those?), a coupon for ‘Eastern Airlines,’ and an actual live turtle – ‘seems like a lot of responsibility’. Indeed. And so, would I argue for Comedy Central putting on its awards show? It could be great, but it ain’t there yet. Looking on the website for details of writers on the nominated shows for example – none to be found. In this digital age, where people have access to information at their fingertips, points like these are important for all the creatives being nominated, on any show.
The spotlight seemed to shine brightest for the ‘writer/performer’ nominees. There was the ubiquitous Tina Fey, with her team of writers, winning the award for best ‘Comedy Writing – TV’ for the sharply observant and intelligent 30 ROCK. Her elevation of comedy to its most absurd and profoundly funny moments on television, can never be overestimated. Jack Donaghy has to be one of the best characters ever – his proud Republican heart and razor sharp quips, skewered in the more liberal world of the entertainment industry, is priceless.
Louis C.K. took home so many awards all given to him by yet ‘another black man’ (his words, not mine) for Comedy Director, Comedy Special of the Year and Stand-Up Tour. He too writes and performs his own material.
Finally, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo won for their comedy screenplay, BRIDESMAIDS. Accepting their award, they fell to the ground and literally wrestled each other – fancy outfits and all – for sole ownership of the award. The ladies are not afraid to get dirty for comedy.
A delicious extra was a live installment of ‘Angry Obama’ by writer/performers, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of ‘Key and Peele’ fame. Their honest portrayal of the imagined (or some might say, accurate) portrayal of presidential frustrations, is eminently watchable. Jordan Peele does a spot on calm, cool and collected President Obama, while Keegan-Michael Key uses his boundless energy for ‘Angry Luther’ to amply vocalize the insanity of American politics. Interviewing them afterwards, they mentioned doing more ‘Angry Obama’ webisodes for the upcoming election. I’m certain they will have plenty of material.
For these moments alone, it’s worth watching The Comedy Awards on Comedy Central, Sunday May 6 at 9pm EST. Let’s hope next year, more up and coming talent is recognized, and more live animals are given out in the gift bags. Because I could totally see Will Arnett taking home a furry pet tamarin.