Emmy nominations reinforce Chicago's rep as comedy training ground

Melissa McCarthy

"Mike & Molly" star Melissa McCarthy. (July 19, 2012)

Nominees for the 64th Primetime Emmys include several former Chicagoans, continuing a trend from years past. The 2011 winner for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series, Plainfield native and “Mike & Molly” star Melissa McCarthy, was again nominated in that category as well as outstanding guest actress for her much-lauded performance as host on “Saturday Night Live.”

The list of nominees only reinforces Chicago's reputation as an influential comedy training ground, with  former iO performer Amy Poehler and Second City veteran Tina Fey nominated for outstanding lead actress on “Parks and Recreation” and “30 Rock” respectively.

Both came up in Chicago's sketch and improv scene in the 90s, as did nominee and Second City alum Stephen Colbert, whose “Colbert Report” was nominated for outstanding variety series and outstanding writing. Nominated writers on his show include Tom Purcell and Evanston native Peter Gwinn (Second City Touring Company veterans) as well as former mainstage performer and Chicago native Paul Dinello.

Northwestern alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who also sharpened her comedic chops at Second City, was nominated for her performance on “Veep.”

From “Saturday Night Live,” which has always had its fair share of Chicago transplants, writers (and former Second City mainstagers) Michael Patrick O'Brienand Shelly Gossman were nominated along with Alex Baze, John Mulaney and head writer Seth Meyers.

Others with Chicago ties include past Emmy winner Eric Stonestreet, who co-stars on “Modern Family” for producer and Rockford native Steve Levitan (also a past winner), who was nominated for outstanding comedy series as well as outstanding direction.

Former Chicago theater stalwart Denis O'Hare(who was in the Goodman Theatre's original 1990 production of “The Iceman Cometh”) was nominated for outstanding supporting actor for his work on “American Horror Story.” Steppenwolf ensemble member Martha Plimpton picked up a nod for guest appearance on “The Good Wife” (which is set in Chicago but filmed in New York) and Oak Park native Kathy Griffin was nominated for her stand-up special “Kathy Griffin: Tired Hooker.” Joan Cusack, who was raised in Evanston, was singled out for her work on “Shameless” with a guest appearance nomination. And “Boardwalk Empire,” which co-stars former Chicago theater actor Michael Shannon, was among the shows nominated for outstanding drama series.

And finally, Kathryn Joosten was nominated for supporting actress for her work on"Desperate Housewives."  The former psychiatric nurse at Michael Reese hospital turned actress died in June at the age of 72.

nmetz@tribune.com

Featured Stories

Advertisement

PLAN AHEAD

Top Trending Videos