The American Comedy Awards are baaaaaack…

by Brian McKim & Traci Skene on October 23rd, 2013

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that NBC as acquired the rights to The American Comedy Awards and will broadcast the ceremony in May of next year.

They refer to the show ” honoring those who have achieved new heights in film and television.” And:

The ceremony will also pay tribute to some of comedy’s most enduring personalities and acknowledge the work of stand-up performers.

We only blockquote that because, readers will recall that the ACAs did not honor standup comics in their ceremony of 2000. We pointed out that this was curious because the producer of the ACA, George Schlatter was once quoted as saying:

Of all the awards, the Standup Comic Audience Award is our favorite. It is a chance to honor the performers who spend much of their careers developing their craft and working in the comedy clubs all over America.

We posted about the awards in our magazine here. (We can’t recall when that post ran… it’s in our archives, but it’s not dated! We suspect it was late 2000. And we also found an ancient column by The Male Half that takes Schlatter to task for dropping standup comics from the awards.)

From that post about the awards, we excerpt this:

Fun Facts About The American Comedy Awards

For the first two years of the ACA, the award for standup comics was called “Funniest Male Standup Comic” or “Funniest Female Standup Comic”

In 1988 and 1989, an award was given to both a “Comedy Club Standup Comic” and “Funniest Male/Female Standup Comic.”

And in 1990 and 1991, the phrase “Of The Year” was tacked onto “Comedy Club Standup Comic…” and the “Funniest Male/Female” award was dropped after 1989.

From 1992 to 1999, the award was renamed “Standup Comic Audience Award.” Confused? So are we!

No award, of any kind, with any name, was given to a standup comic in 2000.

A cursory examination of the list at left reveals these facts:

Diane Ford lost 10 times, making her the Susan Lucci of the ACA.

Will Durst lost 7 times making him the Ted Danson of the ACA. He lost to Craig Shoemaker, Bill Engvall, Carrot Top, Brian Regan, George Wallace, Richard Jeni and the late, great Dennis Wolfberg.

Robin Williams won the award in one form or another three times, beating, at various times, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy (2X), Jay Leno (3X!), Billy Crystal, David Letterman, Jackie Mason, Garry Shandling and Louie Anderson, none of whom went on to win.

Lilly Tomlin won 2 times, skipped a year, then was defeated by Roseanne (Arnold, at the time).

In 1999, Etta May tied Felicia Michaels and Robert Schimmel tied John Pinette for the top awards, the first ties. Producer George Schlatter cited “irregularities in voting” as the reason for dropping the award the following year. After a meeting with standup comics and other at the Melrose Improv, Schlatter restored the award for the 2001 ACA.

In the 2001 ACA, Price Waterhouse will tabulate the votes, which will be cast by viewers who see a videotape of the nominees, which will be shown on Comedy Central and online.

Those nominees will have been chosen by a “blue ribbon panel” of comics and former comics, who got a list of nominees from club owners, who made their suggestions for “Standup Audience Award” after prompting from Geo. Schlatter Prods.

The Awards will be handed out at Universal on April 22 and broadcast on the April 25, 2001.

If all goes well, will be present when the coveted awards are handed out. We will keep you posted in any event on the nominees and on the voting.

Note: We eventually declined the invitation to attend.