Emmys 2011: Sizing Up the Supporting Comedy Actor Race, Including Our Dream Nominees

There are few certainties about the 2011 Emmys derby, but rest assured this is one of them: if you’re a male performer on a sitcom not called Modern Family, you face an uphill battle elbowing your way into the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series race. Even without a nod for patriarch Ed O’Neill last year, ABC’s hit comedy accounted for half of all the category’s nominations. So the question this year isn’t whether the Family men will make another strong showing — they will — but rather who’ll snap up the remaining spots. Here’s how things look going into nomination season.

More 2011 Emmy Races In Review: Supporting Comedy Actress | Lead Comedy Actor | Lead Comedy Actress | Outstanding Comedy Series

Review this slideshow of the major contenders — including TVLine’s half-dozen Dream Nominees — then vote below for who you think are the six best. And check back Tuesday for our review of the Reality Series race!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Rachel says:

    Was Jim Parsons in the Leading category? I thought he was supporting. If so, big omission!!

  2. Nina says:

    Neil and Jason – HIMYM

  3. Sara says:

    You’ve got Danny Pudi, which is great, but not Donald Glover? And where are the guys from Cougar Town?

  4. Tom says:

    Why is Ken Jeong on this list and not Donald Glover? If we’re going to list “Community” characters, Troy>Chang for sure…

    • Sam says:

      I want to know why Jeong is on this list AT ALL. He’s incredibly unfunny, especially when he’s surrounded by 9 (the seven leads, John Oliver and Jim Rash) insanely funny people.

    • L says:

      If we’re putting any Community supporting cast members on here, Donald Glover should definitely be up over Ken Jeong.

  5. Chris Serico says:

    Also, Donald Glover! Never not hilarious.

  6. Drew says:

    No Donald Glover??

  7. Bobby says:

    Nick Offerman and Eric Stonestreet are the two I’d like to see one of whom take home the emmy. Both crack me up and it’s ironic they play polar opposite characters to the other

  8. Federico says:

    Donald Glover.
    If you don’ list him, i won’t even bother voting.

    P.S Chevy chase is also missing!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Jason says:

    Um, Mr. Donald Glover from Community??? Hello??? He’s outstanding!

  10. Justin says:

    Neil Patrick Harris has the most votes? Really? That character has become so stale it’s ridiculous. He’s the Sue Sylvester of HIMYM. That whole show has basically become a mockery of itself though. Nick Offerman and Aziz Ansari all the way.

    • Jamie says:

      I disagree with that. I feel this season they really tried to break free of the old Barney. The seasonal arc of Barney finding his father seems to have changed the character based on some of the conversations at the end of the season. As well, we now know (SPOILER ALERT) that Barney will get married, so Barney has now changed.

      • Justin says:

        I just think the show and its characters are all completely one note and don’t deserve anything. Bad writing. Awful laugh track. Stunted story lines. The show is a waste frankly, and I think next season needs to be its last.

        • Jon says:

          What this series is as fresh as it ever was

          • Justin says:

            Six seasons in and this show is definitely not ‘fresh as ever.” There’s no reason a TV show should be titled How I Met Your Mother and literally 90 percent of the series is devoted to not finding out how the mother was met. The show was fun for a while, but six seasons in it’s just annoying week after week. I stopped watching halfway through this season. Not only does this show suffer from poor writing and a major cheeseball factor, the same awful jokes and one-liners said a million different ways, but it also suffers from Bad and Misleading Title for a TV Show Syndrome. Meet the mother already. HIMYM is the very definition of stale.

    • Mike says:

      I agree i will rather Jason Segel.

  11. Franklin says:

    What about Peter Facinelli? He’s one of the most consistent laugh-getters on NURSE JACKIE.

  12. jrs says:

    This is the toughest category of ’em all. So many apt contenders!

  13. Alex says:

    I am shocked – SHOCKED – that you didn’t see fit to include Danny Glover!

  14. shay says:

    Neil HIMYM
    Jason HIMYM
    Simon TBBT

  15. Adam says:

    This is by far the toughest category so far, there are like 9 people i could easily vote for, if not 10.

  16. Buffy Freak says:

    What about Adam Scott from Parks and Recreation?

  17. Emily says:

    I have to echo the disappointment of not seeing anybody from Cougar Town on the list. I would have also loved to have seen Adam Baldwin from Chuck on the list.

    • Samantha says:

      Agree about Adam Baldwin! The entire cast of Chuck has been ignored every year and SOMEONE definitely deserves a nomination.

  18. Jay says:

    Umm, Josh Hopkins.

  19. Sara says:

    Jason had a better year than Neil on HIMYM but he’ll probably be overlooked again.

    I agree with everyone else that’s mentioned the lack of Donald Glover on this list. Definitely put him down as Other.

  20. shay says:

    Oh I forgot

    Ed Helms (the office) and Ed O’Neil (modern family) and I add Kunal HIMYM

  21. Maureen says:

    Chevy Chase should definitely be up there, his character arc on Community was outstanding this season. Much more deserving than Ken Jeong. I would also argue Brian Van Holt from Cougar Town. He’s done some great work, especially in the finale.

    And whoever said NPH isn’t deserving did not watch this season or the episode where Barney met his father. Brilliant acting.

  22. Ben says:

    Jason Segel, really? He’s the worst one on the show. You can tell he thinks he’s funnier than he is, constantly smug and overacting. Used to like him, then after Forgetting Sarah Marshall he kept getting worse, and now he’s close to making the show unwatchable, which is a shame as the rest of the cast are brilliant.

  23. Ann says:


  24. Amy says:

    My dream is either Ty Burrell or Nick Offerman winning the Emmy. I will settle for nominations. It will be a crime if Ed O’Neill isn’t nominated either. I also love Eric Stonestreet. And Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segal. And Simon Helberg and Danny Pundi. There are too many good ones. Can we just give Emmys to all of them? I will settle for a tie between Phil Dunphy and Ron Swanson because they are my very favorites out there. Between Ron Swanson’s Pyramid of Greatness and Clive Bixby I can’t decide who I love more.

  25. G says:

    Josh Hopkins is so funny plus he sings And he’s the romantic lead. Seriously.

  26. Cassie says:

    Hope you’ll add Arjun Gupta, Paul Schulze, Peter Facinelli and Stephen Wallem all of Nurse Jackie to your list.

  27. DonLunte says:

    How is NPH supporting actor and not lead…
    I mean..tbh the show actually focuses around “barney” and not “ted”…
    beside that whole mother-search-thing!
    dont you think?

  28. isela says:

    you need to get TBBT’s Kunal Nayyar in this!!!
    His character is hilarious! he’s awesome!!

  29. Amber says:

    For once, I had to include ‘Other’ in my vote because you didn’t include Donald Glover on this list. Which is just criminal really. He is such a talented comedian and makes everything that Troy does (including and especially crying) absolutely hilarious.

    Danny Pudi/Abed might be the ‘breakout character’ from season 1. But Donald Glover as Troy is the most deserving of a supporting nomination.

    I would also love to see Simon Helberg and Nick Offerman grab nominations. They both do fabulous jobs on their respective shows.

    • I wouldn’t say “most deserving,” especially with Danny Pudi’s performance in Critical Film Studies, but Donald Glover and Chevy Chase should at least be in contention for nominations. Chase’s portrayal of Pierce throughout the season, from losing his mother early on to demanding acceptance, be it with an older group of misfits or with his study group (which resulted in him being in a wheel chair and addicted to pain meds), was its own season-arc that should alter the dynamic for next season.

  30. Donald Glover and/or Chevy Chase should be listed rather than Ken Jeong for Community, and Craig Robinson should be here over Ed Helms for The Office. Also, why is Ed O’Neil supporting? If anybody from Modern Family should garner a nomination for lead actor, it should be him or Ty Burrell.

  31. Lindsay says:

    No Donald Glover makes me so Changry.

  32. Barbara B. says:

    Those Modern Family guys seem to be a lock. I really hope Chris Colfer gets a nomination, he is so deserving! Also, Donald Glover deserves more recognition than he gets. He should absolutely be thought of in this supporting comedy Emmy race.

  33. Jake says:

    Donald Glover deserves a nomination this year, as does several of the guys from Cougar Town. I’d say Glover even deserves to win if it hadn’t been for Nick Offerman in Parks & Rec. As for the Cougar Town guys, I would have loved to see Brian Van Holt on this list. He really got to flesh out Bobby as a fully formed character this season, while still retaining the character’s goofiness.

    My dream nominees:

    Donald Glover, Community
    Danny Pudi, Community
    Nick Offerman, Parks & Recreation (winner)
    Jason Segel, How I Met Your Mother
    Ty Burrell, Modern Family
    Brian Van Holt, Cougar Town

    I’d love to see Tracy Morgan, Ed Helms, Adam Scott, Aziz Ansari, Chris Pratt and Josh Hopkins to be nominated as well, but there are way too many deserving people in this category!

  34. Kevin H. says:

    I’m wondering since Jane Lynch is hosting the Emmys (and therefore probably won’t win for Sue) if Chris Colfer will take home an Emmy. Not saying I want that to happen though because Kurt is completely overrated. But so is Glee.

  35. farah says:

    Neil, Jason, Simon,

    They’re not on the list and it’s a shame

    Kunal HIMYM
    Josh Hopkins Cougar Town
    Brian Van Holt Cougar Town
    Ian Gomez Cougar Town

    • Sarah says:

      I concur. Where are my Cougar Town men? If I had to choose between them, I’d pick Brian Van Holt as Bobby. I want to give that guy a hug.

  36. Rob J. says:

    Where in the heck is Rico Rodriguez (Manny, Modern Family)?!

  37. Sean D says:

    This category is woefully in need of Donald Glover (Community), Jim Rash (Community- is he eligible though? Would he be guest actor? I’m not sure. Still, too hysterical to ignore), and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation).

    I would give Adam Scott the win. Out of all possible nominees.

  38. For the most part, I agree with TVLine’s Dream Nominees, aside from the notable absences I mentioned above. While I realize it will be a long shot for Community to *win* an Emmy, I am sincerely pulling for an upset in that they will at least garner enough nominations to become an attention-grabber.

  39. Saracen Riggins says:

    Jason Segal in the episode AFTER the funeral – where he reverted back to high school mode – was a season high for me. And Chris Colfer would be my LAST pick. While he can be funny, most of his story is serious – as mentioned by the write-up.

  40. Jon says:

    Ed Helms, Ty Burrell from your list
    Not on list: Josh Hopkins, Brian Van Holt, Ian Gomez – all from Cougartown
    Not on list: Rizwan Manji – Outsourced
    Not on list: Peter Faccinelli – Nurse Jackie
    What about the boys from Shameless? Will that be considered a comedy or drama? I vote for comedy.

  41. Holly says:

    Maybe I’m in the minority on this but how about Bill Hader? I know SNL didn’t have the best season, but he’s become the best thing about that show right now in my opinion. I would love to see him get some recognition.
    Also, I hope Nick Offerman is nominated and wins this year.

  42. Christine says:

    I’m very surprised Donald Glover is not on this list. He may be the funniest person on Community. He can turn any line, as simple as it seems, into comedic gold. His facial expressions and the inflection in which he delivers his lines is spot on every time.
    I am also a little surprised by the ommision of all of the Cougar Town guys, however, I do feel that the ladies are a little funnier than the men. Out of everyone I would say the guy who plays Bobby would be most deserving.

  43. Melissa says:

    Anyone else wondering why it says Academy Awards???

  44. Richard says:

    Bill Hader from “SNL” should have been included.

  45. Evan says:

    Completely agree, he plays the most diverse characters on the show and pulls them off every time.

  46. Clown Baby says:

    Charlie Day is missing from the list. EPIC FAIL.

  47. Amber says:

    It’s criminal Charlie Day is missing. Not only should he be nominated, he should win. He’s the only bright spot on Sunny these days. (Pun intended). Others who are missing from the list, any guy from Cougartown and Donald Glover. My 6 picks in order…

    1. Charlie Day
    2. Danny Pudi
    3. Nick Offerman
    4. Neil Patrick Harris (I maintain a stance he should have won over Jon Cryer in 2009. I don’t understand why 2 1/2 Men gets all the love that it gets.)
    5. Aziz Ansari
    6. Jesse Tyler Ferguson

    People I feel pretty guilty for omitting, Simon Helberg, John Krasinski, Jack McBrayer, and Jason Segal.

  48. Alexy says:

    Rico Rodriguez! Why aren’t the kids from Modern Family being noticed! They’re hilarious!

  49. Ciara says:

    Okay, so bare with me:
    From THIS category, the actors who I think deserve nomimations are as follows: Jon Cryer from Two and a Half Men (10 times funnier than Sheen, but people don’t realize it); John Krasinski and Rainn Wilson from The Office (I don’t watch it, really, but they are both hilarious whenever I’ve seen it, the former overlooked because he underplays it so much…people miss what’s happening, because they don’t look close enough); both NPH and Jason Segel from HIMYM (Jason and his fellow cast members, excluding NPH, are horribly underwritten in recent times, but hopefully they’ll look past this injustice and nominate him anyway?); and Chris Colfer…I’ll be honest, Glee is annoying the heck out of me, but Chris is endearing and at times heart-wrenching…he deserves a nomination. But Joshua Gomez also deserves a nod, if nothing more, He generates quite a few laughs.
    Okay…other categories?
    Supporting Female…so, this may be a biased decision overall for me, as these actresses are picked from shows I actually watch (no worries, I plan to introduce myself to the others very soon…) Mayim Bialik (holds her own against the talented cast); Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders from HIMYM, who are, again, underwritten, but proved themselves a lot in the episode The Perfect Colctail; Betty White…because she’s Betty White; Kristin Wigg because she improves everything she graces with her presence, and…I don’t know. I WOULD say Jane Lynch but Sue Sylvester is – dare I say it – not her best character. Ever seen Role Models? Yeah.
    Lead Actor: Zachary Levi, who is really quite overlooked when it comes to these things, despite being one of the most loveable male leads on television to date; Jim Parsons and, to a greater extent, Johnny Galecki, the latter doing great with his material (Leonard’s character could be harder to like in other hands); Bill Gardell from M&M (I’ve only seen one episode, but I do find him loveable and very funny); and Steve Carell from The Office…I don’t need to justify that decision, I don’t think.
    Lead Actress: Kaley Cuckoo would be my last choice but, yes, she deserves a nod; Toni Collette…haven’t seen the USofT, but Toni is always brilliant, no matter what she is in; Tina Fey, who never fails to please; Mary Louise Parker…again, never seen Weeds, but I’m a huge fan of hers, and have heard great things; Amy Poehler, who, let’s face it, deserves some love; and Yvonne Strahovski, who is endlessly wonderful as Sarah Walker…another overlooked talent.
    Outstanding Comedy Series: Chuck, which may be a blend of espionage, romance, action, mystery, danger, suspence, and infinite cheese, but is still insanely funny (and it balances these themes quite skillfully); TBBT, which is consistently satisfying; Cougar Town, which is getting funnier and funnier as time goes on; HIMYM…so, the bias is really showing in all thes decisions, but Season 6 was a BIG step up from Season 5; Modern Family, though I’ve seen very little of, but always get a lot of big belly laughs from, and…I don’t know. Again, I need to introduce myself to a couple of these shows…such as Community, Parks and Recreation, and United States of Tara, all of which are getting a lot of love. Sound like a must-see list in the making. But no Family Guy, please. It’s just getting tiresome…much like this comment, I’m sure you’ll agree.

  50. Linda says:

    Adam Scott – Parks & Recreation? Or is he a lead?