No shortage of funny stuff at this year’s Emmys

Issa Rae poses for a portrait in a dress of greens, blues and purple.
Issa Rae should earn an Emmy nomination for the final season of her HBO comedy “Insecure.”
(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

Northern California sports fans: I know we’ve had our differences. But — and I think I can speak on behalf of all Angelenos here — I’m willing to put that history aside because there’s something bigger at stake here, something we can all agree on.

Namely: The Celtics — and their fans — are a scourge upon humanity. Go Warriors!

Also: Emmy voting is almost upon us. It’ll soon be winning time for some worthy shows. I’m Glenn Whipp, awards columnist for the Los Angeles Times and host of The Envelope’s Friday newsletter.

Comedy acting power rankings

There are so many great comedies on TV right now that I want to break out in song — something from “Schmigadoon!” perhaps, maybe “Corn Puddin’” if I’m in the mood to annoy my neighbors. (To be clear, it’s my singing that’s bothersome, more so than the song.)


And as you’ll see in our annual Emmys Comedy Actor Power Rankings, there’s absolutely every reason for Emmy voters to spread around the love this year and not just focus on that show about the aggressively nice, pun-loving soccer coach with the traumatic origin story. Do your homework, voters! For these categories, it’s actually fun.

Jean Smart tops our Emmy Comedy Acting Power Rankings.
(Karen Ballard/HBO Max)

Coach Beard is ‘Ted Lasso’s’ best character

Like you, I tune into “Ted Lasso” to laugh and, yeah, maybe to shed the occasional tear or two. But I also watch to pay close attention to what Brendan Hunt’s Coach Beard is reading on any particular episode. Who needs Oprah’s Book Club when you have such a wonderfully eclectic set of recommendations? (Merlin Sheldrake’s extraordinary look at fungi, “Entangled Life,” is a particularly terrific read.)

So when I came across Randee Dawn’s story on the “Ted Lasso” bottle episode, “Coach Beard After Hours,” I knew I had to give it a look, if only to see if the show’s creators acknowledged the great Martin Scorsese movie that gave the half-hour its title. (They did.)

“We approached it with the device of ‘What would an episode of “Ted Lasso” be like if it was told from Coach Beard’s point of view?’” the episode’s co-writer Brett Goldstein (Roy Kent!) revealed. “It’s why the theme tune and the look, tone and style of it [are different]. It’s a whole different vibe. Much darker and stranger. Because Beard’s brain isn’t as sunny as Ted’s.”

And no disrespect, but thank goodness for that. Can you imagine a show with two Ted Lassos? The sheer number of puns alone would give me a migraine.

Jayne Payne and Brendan Hunt in "Beard After Hours."
(Colin Hutton/Apple TV+)

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How ‘Insecure’ opened doors, hearts and minds

I mentioned Issa Rae in my Emmy Comedy Acting Power Rankings, and Times television critic Lorraine Ali wrote a wonderful appreciation of “Insecure” and its creator and star as the series bids farewell after five seasons.

“I just wanted to create a show that Black people, and Black women specifically, could relate to,” says Rae, who gained notoriety earlier in the decade with her web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.” I wanted a cool and updated representation of the ‘90s shows that I love but with flawed leads I had never seen in this way before.”

Lorraine also asked Rae what she’d miss most about “Insecure.”

“Without a doubt, [I will] miss the people and that inexplicable feeling of creating something new with people who have something to prove for the first time,” she says. “It will forever be the blueprint for my future experiences in this industry.”

I’m not the only one interested in where that blueprint takes her next.

Yvonne Orji and Issa Rae in the "Insecure" series finale.
(Merie Wallace / HBO)


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