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Need a laugh? How to watch Kenan Thompson, Wanda Sykes and more riff in our Comedy Roundtable

A collage of portraits of Robin Thede, Anna Konkle, Wanda Sykes, Jane Krakowski, Kenan Thompson and Michiel Huisman.
The 2021 Emmy Comedy Roundtable participants, clockwise from top left, Robin Thede, Anna Konkle, Wanda Sykes, Jane Krakowski, Kenan Thompson and Michiel Huisman.
(Christina House and Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Spectrum News 1’s broadcast of the 2021 Envelope Emmy Roundtables premieres tonight with a conversation among some of Hollywood’s biggest names in television this awards season.

The Comedy Roundtable features an hourlong chat with Wanda Sykes (“The Upshaws”), Kenan Thompson (“Saturday Night Live” and “Kenan”), Jane Krakowski (“Dickinson”), Michiel Huisman (“The Flight Attendant”), Anna Konkle (“PEN15") and Robin Thede (“A Black Lady Sketch Show”).

The discussion, taped in early May, naturally included talk of the pandemic that has affected us all and how they worked through it — imagine an odd mix of concern, precaution and silliness. Still these performers were driven by the need to create in a time of anxiety.

The Comedy Roundtable calls on Wanda Sykes, Jane Krakowski, Kenan Thompson, Anna Konkle, Robin Thede, and newcomer to funny Michiel Huisman to cheer us up.

“People needed to laugh,” said Sykes about why it was important to find humor even in such dark times. “I know I needed it,” she added and then went on to tell a hilarious story about a recent visit to a pet store.

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Krakowski fully agreed and had her own take on working during the pandemic. “What I have found so wonderful about coming back right now is the sense of community,” she said. “Just having our crew chuckle at something, it makes you feel, ‘Oh, thank God, we can still do this.’ People still want to laugh.”

The group also commented on why their comedies must reflect the absurdity of our times, exploring real pain through humor and the chilling realization that Thompson “knows people.”

Emma Corrin, Hugh Grant, Ethan Hawke, Anthony Mackie, Elisabeth Moss and Jurnee Smollett take us behind the scenes to talk narcissists, grandparents and delivering meaningful work.

The comedy panel airs tonight at 7 Pacific on Spectrum News 1. The gathering of drama and limited series actors — Hugh Grant (“The Undoing”), Ethan Hawke (“The Good Lord Bird”), Jurnee Smollett (“Lovecraft Country”), Anthony Mackie (“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”), Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) and Emma Corrin (“The Crown”) — will air June 25 at 7 p.m., and the Showrunners Roundtable, which includes the creators of “Bridgerton” and “Hacks,” follows on July 2 at 7 p.m.

Each of the three specials will re-air on Spectrum through the end of August, leading to the Emmys on Sept. 19.


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