WINNER: TONY SHALHOUB, MONK, USA NETWORK
When it comes to comedy, there’s slapstick, highbrow, lowbrow, juvenile and a million other variations. And then there’s what Tony Shalhoub does on Monk. Like the eccentric character he plays, this brand of comedy is a category in and of itself. On one hand, we laugh, shaking our heads as Adrian Monk bumbles through his adventures trying not to touch door handles or suspect entrees. But at the same time, we admire his persistence and fortitude as he solves what seem to be impossible cases — all while working through his fears and phobias. In a way, Monk speaks to all of us. We may not be as troubled as the character Shalhoub portrays so sympathetically and well, but we appreciate the concept of getting the job done despite all the psychological hurdles thrown in one’s way (or created in one’s own mind). Episodes of Monk are always efficiently written and entertainingly acted. Shalhoub found a home at USA for 8 seasons. And audiences couldn’t have been happier.
FELONIUS MONK: The investigator’s perennially buttoned collar became his most famous fashion infraction.
Lizzy Caplan, Party Down, Starz: We’ve had a thing for Caplan ever since she got bitten by a creepy monster in the movie Cloverfield — and then exploded. Good times. We also didn’t mind her nude scenes in True Blood, season 1, where she also ends up being gruesomely murdered. Her turn as a stand-up comedian and caterer in Party Down involves far less gore, unless you count the hors d’oeuvres she is forced to serve every week.
Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report, Comedy Central: It’s simple: Colbert has become an icon. And it’s not luck. He meticulously prepares for each show, demands genius from his writers (and gets it) and pulls off his alter ego convincingly despite that smirk that tells us it’s all a joke. Or is it? Who cares? He’s darned funny.