WHY HE DESERVES A NOD: During his two seasons as Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Captain Holt, Braugher has introduced his own rule of comedy: The more deadpan his delivery, the harder we laugh. And while that formula still proved successful in the Fox comedy’s second season, Braugher also mined new and hilarious depths as Holt faced off against archenemy Madeline Wuntch (a top-notch Kyra Sedgwick), who forced him into a public relations desk job by season’s end. That Holt’s departure from the precinct came as such a shock is a testament to Braugher’s terrific, layered and, at times, surprisingly emotional portrayal of the typically stoic captain.
TITUSS BURGESS, UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
WHY HE DESERVES A NOD: Let’s face it: Titus Andromedon is kooky, over-the-top and altogether loud. And yet, despite his alter ego’s many eccentricities, Burgess spent the first 13 episodes of Kimmy Schmidt carving out a character that was also relatable, honest and, most importantly, funny. Thanks to Burgess’ Season 1 performance, Titus was never just Kimmy’s oddball roommate; rather, he became a multi-dimensional character whose flaws, ambitions and secrets were just as fascinating as those of Kimmy herself. (Or, if you’d rather hear our Emmy pitch for Burgess in two words, here they are: Pinot. Noir.)
JAIME CAMIL, JANE THE VIRGIN
WHY HE DESERVES A NOD: Camil is, simply put, a hilarious delight as Jane’s immensely quotable, self-involved telenovela star father. But even though Rogelio has an inflated (and possibly delusional) sense of self, he never comes off as anything other than charming and lovable because of the sweetness and naivete that Camil brings to his over-the-top character. And the actor can deliver a quip like nobody’s business.
ROBERT MICHAEL MORRIS, THE COMEBACK
WHY HE DESERVES A NOD: While Season 2 of HBO’s scathing Hollywood satire was built around Lisa Kudrow’s vain, hapless Valerie Cherish, it was Morris’ flamboyant, fiercely loyal hairstylist Mickey Deane who served as the emotional anchor tethering “Red” to her sometimes misplaced humanity. Morris allowed us to see plainly the exhausting effects of Mickey’s cancer treatment — while maintaining his character’s unwavering belief that his famous friend/employer’s needs came first. Throw in Morris’ unparalleled ability to land a zinger — and one insanely funny morning-after-a-one-night-stand encounter — and it’s hard to deny his nomination-worthiness.
JIM RASH, COMMUNITY
WHY HE DESERVES A NOD:Community’s Dean Pelton might have only come out as two-sevenths of what he was, but portrayer Jim Rash came out swinging in the NBC-turned-Yahoo Screen comedy’s sixth season. Whether he was making Jesus weep through antiquated virtual reality gameplay, being elected as the first openly gay member of Greendale’s school board, or stealing the spotlight in the show’s most recent paintball episode, Rash was a standout in an ever-changing ensemble and brought his A-game after years of being relegated to seventh or eighth fiddle.
TIMOTHY SIMONS, VEEP
WHY HE DESERVES A NOD: Try as he might, Veep‘s painfully inappropriate Jonah Ryan can’t quite catch a break — and the truth is, we don’t want him to. We’re having too much fun watching Simons portray the woeful White House liaison, who — along with Sam Richardson as Richard Splett — is uproarious in his endless professional missteps. Whether he’s trying to avoid Teddy Sykes’ inappropriate fondling, verbally sparring with Dan Egan or fancying himself the king of D.C., Jonah is wholly unpredictable, and Simons consistently finds new ways to keep us laughing.