‘Fleabag’ star Phoebe Waller-Bridge wins Emmy in stunning upset over Julia Louis-Dreyfus

"Fleabag" creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge  at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
(Chris Pizzello/Invision/Associated Press)

In a stunning upset, Phoebe Waller-Bridge won the Emmy for lead actress in a comedy series Sunday for her performance in “Fleabag,” beating the favorite, “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Returning to the stage shortly after winning a comedy writing Emmy in what was quickly turning into a “Fleabag” sweep, Waller-Bridge seemed as shocked as everyone else in the Microsoft Theater.


“Acting is really hard,” she said, jokingly reworking the writing acceptance speech she’d given minutes earlier, before thanking her cast and crew. “I am so supported on this show. It’s sickening how much we all love each other.”

Waller-Bridge, who created the darkly comic Amazon series about a single London woman, stopped a historic winning streak by Louis-Dreyfus, who had won six Emmys for her performance in “Veep” — every year the HBO comedy was eligible — in addition to two wins for “Seinfeld” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” With a ninth Emmy, she would have broken the record by an individual performer.

“Veep” took a hiatus while Louis-Dreyfus received treatment for cancer. The comedy about a female politician who becomes vice president (then president) returned for its final season in May.

Waller-Bridge also beat last year’s winner, Rachel Brosnahan of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” as well as Natasha Lyonne for “Russian Doll,” Catherine O’Hara for “Schitt’s Creek” and Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”).