Emmy Nominations: Comedy Central Lives up to Its Name

Amy Schumer is having a banner year as a viral video sensation, film star and magazine cover staple. But what about the channel that hosts those shareable videos?

“Inside Amy Schumer,” the sketch comedy series that is currently in its third season on Comedy Central, walked away with seven Emmy nominations on Thursday. Schumer herself was nominated for comedy actress, the first time a sketch star has been recognized in a lead category.

“Amy’s been a part of our family for so many years. Now she’s just the ‘it’ comedian; forget ‘it girl’ or ‘it guy,’ ” said Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless.

Ganeless acknowledged that Schumer’s increased Internet stardom brought awareness to the show; the cabler has made a concerted effort in recent years to seek out, and promote existing, talent via the Web and social media.

“Amy was discovered and made her way before that changed the ecosystem, but now it just means her content is more accessible to so many more people and in so many more ways,” Ganeless said. “She understands her fans and is able to create really smart, insightful pieces that her fans can watch in full.”

While Schumer is certainly celebrating — she tweeted a photo of herself apparently gorging on junk food and beer — she’s not the only one who received some good news on Thursday morning. Comedy Central has long maintained a presence in the variety series categories due to TV Academy favorites Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, but this year it saw major breakthroughs in other categories and received a total of 25 Emmy nominations (up from 21 in 2014 and 16 in 2013).

Another sketch series, “Key & Peele,” earned six noms and a specific shout-out to co-star Keegan-Michael Key in the supporting actor in a comedy category. Ganeless says it’s “unlikely, but to be determined” as to whether this would mean separate on-air promotional material for him without partner Jordan Peele. There seem to be no hard feelings from Peele, who tweeted his support of his buddy and the others involved.

In part Comedy Central’s windfall is the result of the TV Academy’s decision to differentiate sketch shows from talk shows for the variety categories. The cabler dominated the former, with noms for both “Schumer” and “Key & Peele” as well as Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner’s “Drunk History.” (The other two spots went to IFC’s “Portlandia” and NBC stalwart “Saturday Night Live”).

“I might be biased, but it’s my favorite category. I love outstanding variety new shows — what’s it called again?,” laughed Waters, who also said Comedy Central is “taking more chances now and letting artists make their show that they want to make. It’s great to be in that category and that the Academy recognizes that.”

But who will have the last laugh? That won’t be determined until September.

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