Emmy Predictions: Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) – Dave Chappelle Will Likely Land a Nom, Despite Controversy

Other contenders include Adele, Jerrod Carmichael, Lady Gaga, Norm MacDonald, Christina P and 'Harry Potter'

Dave Chappelle - Netflix - The
Mathieu Bitton
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Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official awards predictions for the upcoming Oscars and Emmys ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis; Awards Circuit Column, a weekly analysis dissecting the trends and contenders by television editor Michael Schneider (for Emmys) and Davis (for Oscars); Awards Circuit Podcast, a weekly interview series with talent and an expert roundtable discussion; and Awards Circuit Video analyzes various categories and contenders by Variety's leading awards pundits. Variety's unmatched coverage gives its readership unbeatable exposure in print and online, as well as provide inside reports on all the contenders in this year's awards season races.

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UPDATED: June 23, 2022



There are 76 submissions for outstanding variety special (pre-recorded), which will yield five nominees, falling four submissions short of expanding to six. Last year, this category was one of the hottest of the night, having been moved to the Primetime telecast with eventual winner “Hamilton” (Disney+) alongside “Bo Burnham: Inside” (Netflix), “David Byrne’s American Utopia” (HBO), “8:46 – Dave Chappelle” (Netflix), “Friends: The Reunion” (HBO) and “A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote” (HBO).

This year’s roster may not bring the same excitement but there are big names and nostalgia factors among the ranks.

Many of Netflix’s content creators and leaders stood by comedian Dave Chappelle following criticisms from LGBTQ groups and allies regarding his jokes against the transgender community in “The Closer.” That’s the best evidence of the likelihood that the special will make the Emmy shortlist.

In the midst of a huge breakout year commercially, standup comedian Jerrod Carmichael’s beautiful, biting and poignant comedy show “Rothaniel” at the legendary Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City was one of the best specials in years. He is surely getting a boost from HBO’s backing, and has the potential to land other noms, including for his turn as host of “SNL.” This special could be the one to beat going into phase-two voting.

The CBS special “Adele One Night Only” also simulcast on Paramount+, brought the sultry tones of 15-time Grammy-winner Adele to homes across the globe. The special, fortified with an interview conducted by Oprah Winfrey, drew more than 10 million viewers, one of the highest-rated events of the television year. With an Oscar for penning “Skyfall” from the 2012 James Bond film, an Emmy nomination could put her closer to EGOT status.

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What better way to honor the memory of legendary comedian Norm Macdonald, who in 2021 passed away at the age of 61, than finally giving him an overdue Emmy nom? Netflix is keen on getting the late charmer his due for his takes on casinos, living wills and the twists and turns that life tends to throw at you.

It was a New Year’s Day celebration when HBO Max released its reunion special for the 20th anniversary of the first “Harry Potter” movie, with stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson leading the charge. Notably absent was “Potter” author J.K. Rowling due to her controversial views on transgender issues. We’ll see if the nostalgia factor can outweigh any potential backlash.

This duo landed an Emmy nomination in 2015 for “Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live!” in the variety special category, so it’s safe to assume this pair will be returning to the noms list. Voters may want to back “One Last Time,” which coincided with Bennett’s 95th birthday, as a way to honor the living legend.

There are other contenders who bring an immense amount of quality to the category that shouldn’t be overlooked including three incredible Netflix stand-up specials from the iconic Jim Gaffigan (with the inventive “Comedy Monster”), the criminally underrated Christina P. (with the hilarious “Mom Genes” and an MTV “Challenge” alum, which would be fun to see both finally land their overdue first noms) and relatable antics of Chris Distefano (with his knee-slapping “Speshy Weshy”)

Read moreVariety’s Awards Circuit Emmys Predictions Hub.

The nomination round of voting runs from June 16 to June 27. The official nominations for the 74th Emmy Awards will be announced Tuesday, July 12.

The list of programs and potential nominees listed below is incomplete and is subject to change. The complete television awards season calendar is linked here.

2021 category winner: “Hamilton” (Disney+)


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1 “Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel” HBO
2 “Adele One Night Only” CBS
3 “Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special” Netflix
4 “Dave Chappelle: The Closer” Netflix
5 “Harry Potter’s 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts” HBO
6 “One Last Time: An Evening with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga” CBS
7 “Come From Away” Apple TV+
8 “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah Presents: Jordan Klepper Fingers The Globe – Hungary For Democracy” Comedy Central
9 “Christina P: Mom Genes” Netflix
10 “Jim Gaffigan: Comedy Monster” Netflix
11 “Chris Distefano: Speshy Weshy” Netflix
12 “2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony” HBO
13 “Dave Spade: Nothing Personal” Netflix
14 “Bill Maher: #Adulting” HBO
15 “Iheartradio Jingle Ball 2021” The CW
16 “Nicole Byer: BBW (Big Beautiful Weirdo)” Netflix
17 “Kelly Clarkson Presents: When Christmas Comes Around” NBC
18 “Prime Day Show” Amazon Prime Video
19 “Marlon Wayans: You Know What It Is” HBO
20 “43rd Annual Kennedy Center Honors” CBS
“20 Years of Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir” To be added
“Afrojame Easter – Risen” To be added
“Aida Rodriguez: Fighting Words” HBO
“Ali Wong: Don Wong” Netflix
“Aziz Ansari: Nightclub Comedian” Netflix
“Billie Eilish (Prime Day Show)” To be added
“Carole King & James Taylor: Just Call Out My Name” To be added
“Catherine Cohen: The Twist…? She’s Gorgeous” To be added
“Chappelle’s Home Team – Earthquake: Legendary” To be added
“CMT Crossroads: LeAnn Rimes & Friends” To be added
“Dragging the Classics: The Brady Bunch” To be added
“Drew Michael: Red Blue Green” HBO
“Frank Ferrante’s Groucho” To be added
“Good Timing With Jo Firestone” To be added
“H.E.R. (Prime Day Show)” To be added
“Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles” To be added
“Iheartradio Music Festival 2021” To be added
“James Corden’s Top Gun Training with Tom Cruise” To be added
“Jeff Foxworthy: The Good Old Days” To be added
“Jimmy Carr: His Dark Material” To be added
“Joyelle Nicole Johnson: Love Joy” To be added
“Katt Williams: World War III” Netflix
“Kid Cudi (Prime Day Show)” To be added
“LiveOne Breakout Awards” To be added
“Madame X” Paramount+
“Merry Wives (Great Performances)” To be added
“Michael Bublé’s Christmas In The City” To be added
“Michael Che: Shame the Devil” To be added
“Mike Epps: Indiana Mike” To be added
“Miley Cyrus Presents Stand By You” To be added
“Mo Amer: Mohammed In Texas” To be added
“Moses Storm: Trash White” To be added
“Ms. Pat: Y’all Wanna Hear Something Crazy?” To be added
“National Christmas Tree Lighting” To be added
“Night, Mother” To be added
“Olympic Dreams Featuring Jonas Brothers” To be added
“Phoebe Robinson: Sorry, Harriet Tubman” To be added
“Ricky Gervais: Supernature” To be added
“Ricky Velez: Here’s Everything” HBO
“Rita Mora at the Eiffel Tower” To be added
“Ronny Chieng: Speakeasy” To be added
“Roy Wood Jr.: Imperfect Messenger” To be added
“Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 3” Amazon Prime Video
“SORRY” To be added
“Star-Crossed: The Film” To be added
“Step Into…The Movies With Derek and Julianne Hough” To be added
“Taylor Tomlinson: Look at You” To be added
“The Black Pack: We Three Kings” To be added
“The Dawn FM Experience” Amazon Prime Video
“The Hall: Honoring George Carlin, Robin Williams, Joan River and Richard Pryor” Netflix
“The Queen Family Singalong” To be added
“The Weeknd + The Dawn FM Experience” To be added
“The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration” To be added
“Theo Von: Regular People” To be added
“Tig Notaro: Drawn” HBO
“Yearly Departed” Amazon Prime Video

2022 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

2022 Creative Arts Emmys Predictions

About the Primetime Emmy Awards (Emmys)

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, are given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards have recognized excellence in American primetime television programming. They are divided into three classes - Primetime Emmy Awards, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (honors artisan achievements), and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards (recognizes significant engineering and technological contributions). The typical eligibility period is between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. The Television Academy comprises over 25,000 members, representing 30 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, art directors and various artisans and executives.

  • The 74th Emmy Awards will take place on Monday, Sept. 12, and air on NBC.