Best Writing in a Variety Special
Will Win - Amy Schumer "Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo"
Could Win - Patton Oswalt "Patton Oswalt: Thanks for Clapping" or Triumph's Election Special 2016
Should Win - Tig Notaro "Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted"
Commentary - I loved Amy Schumer's HBO special, and if she wins this award, it will be incredibly deserved. But I have a personal favorite this year, and that is Tig Notaro's HBO Special. Notaro's story is tragic and well-known. But the way she can channel that pain, and create this weird, off-beat, and hilarious stand up special shows how talented she is, and how creative she is in creating her act. Watch out for the popular Patton Oswalt, and with the election going on, never discount the Triumph special.
Best Directing in a Variety Special
Will Win - Thomas Kail and Alex Rudzinski "Grease: Live"
Could Win - Kahlil Joseph and Beyonce Knowles Carter "Lemonade" or Glenn Weiss "The Kennedy Center Honors"
Should Win - Glenn Weiss "The Kennedy Center Honors"
Commentary - I get that Thomas Kail just won a Tony for Hamilton and that Grease Live was liked better by Emmy voters than it deserved, but really? I had just recently shown the 1978 original Grease film for a movie night at my library, and then made the horrible mistake of watching Grease: Live just a few nights later. It is no where near as fun or exuberant or even musically as great as the original. I mean no offense but poor Julianne Hough will never get close to Olivia Newton-John. That being said, clearly Emmy voters liked this, it was a directorial feat, and the leading director just help put one of the most successful Broadway musicals ever. I think he wins an Emmy as well. For the record, this year's Kennedy Center Honors, normally a stately affair, was a rousing good time, ending with that magnificent Aretha Franklin tribute to Carole King. Congrats to the legendary Glenn Weiss for pulling together a magnificent evening.