An edited version of this story about “An Emmy for Megan” first appeared in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.
A lot has happened with Megan Amram in the past year. Her short-form comedy series “An Emmy for Megan,” a very funny deconstruction of Emmy rules that claims to exist solely to win its creator a golden statuette, landed two nominations and sent her to the Emmys — where she lost in the short-form series category to “James Corden’s James Corden,” and in the short-form acting category to 83-year-old Christina Pickles.
In the aftermath of that hard luck, the Emmys made a couple of rule changes in the shorts categories, including instituting a two-minute minimum on the length of short-form episodes after one of last year’s “Emmy for Megan” episodes pointed out that no minimum length existed.
(One of this year’s nominees, “Better Call Saul Employee Training: Madrigal Electromotive Security,” was even disqualified three days after the nominations when it turned out not to meet that very requirement, with sixth-place finisher “State of the Union” taking its slot instead.)
The Academy also instituted a pre-screening panel to disqualify short-form candidates that weren’t considered professional and competitive enough. Some commentators tied that last change to Amram, overlooking the fact that “An Emmy for Megan” was far sharper and more professional-looking than many of its short-form competitors.
This year, “An Emmy for Megan” made it past those screening panels to land two more nominations — one for Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series and one for Patton Oswalt, who appears in brief segments where he discusses each new episode. Unlike last year, Amram was not nominated for acting, though she did get another nomination for her day job as a writer/producer on “The Good Place,” which finally made it into the Outstanding Comedy Series category.
I would say congratulations on the nominations, but in the grand scheme of things, how worthwhile is a nomination if you don’t win?
Yeah. I mean, I get to go to some more parties. And I eat so much food at the parties, I feel like I’m cleaning out the Academy.
You lost last year, but I don’t think James Corden prompted any Emmy rule changes.
James Corden will be forgotten, and people will still remember that “An Emmy for Megan” changed the rules. But also, and I say this with full sympathy in my heart, do I send “Better Call Saul” a gift basket because they did not reach the two-minute mark? I think that’s a rule that they put in place because of me.
And “State of the Union” should send you a gift basket, because they were only nominated because “Better Call Saul” was disqualified. So they owe you their nomination.
If that series wins, I will obviously be devastated. But it also will show just how random and insane these Emmys are. So maybe I’ll put all my support behind them.
Did you take the new rules personally?
I did, because like everyone in Los Angeles, I’m a narcissist, and I assume everything is about me. I was truly so excited, because it felt like such an escalation of the kind of things I was talking about last year in the series. Now it really feels like I’ve embedded myself in the history of the Emmys forever. If I never win the award, I’ve won something more prestigious than the award. Which is a rule.
My feeling is that the people who think the screening panels were aimed at you either haven’t seen your show or haven’t seen some of the other short-form shows that were nominated last year — you were always going to pass muster with those pre-screenings.
Thank you. In retrospect, I feel like this category is very much in flux because it’s so new. I don’t disagree that there has to be some sort of demarcation of: Is this making films on your phone in 20 minutes or does it have the production value of a TV show?
How do you feel about Patton Oswalt getting an acting nomination for “An Emmy for Megan” when you didn’t? All he did was come on at the end of each episode to talk about you.
I am devastated that I didn’t get an acting nomination. But, I mean, the best-case scenario is that Patton is the only person who wins an Emmy for “An Emmy for Megan.” I can’t think of anything funnier.
Did you wear a “Cats” t-shirt in Episode 3 because you knew that the “Cats” trailer was going to drop between nominations and the start of voting, and you wanted to capitalize on the internet going nuts over it?
I am so glad you asked about that. In the past few days, I thought, “Did anyone see the Easter egg?” I am a huge fan of “Cats.” I wore that shirt because that episode is about James Corden, and I thought everyone would see how I was referring to the fact that he was going to be in the movie.
And in all seriousness, I felt that it was so wonderful that every single person on the internet was talking about the “Cats” trailer. Usually when we’re all talking about something, it’s a horrible piece of news that we’re screaming into the void.
What do you do when and if you finally win an Emmy for Megan? That would doom the future of the show, right?
Absolutely. I kind of think my new push has to be, “Give me an Emmy so I can stop. Please.” But the fact that I didn’t get nominated for actor and Patton did, and the fact that they disqualified “Better Call Saul,” I think there’s so much fodder for Season 3.
Because of “The Good Place,” you actually have a chance to win an Emmy for something other than “An Emmy for Megan” this year.
I’m not sure that would count. I think if I won an Emmy for “The Good Place,” I’d have to continue making “An Emmy for Megan” and say, “You guys gave me an Emmy for the wrong thing!”
Read more of the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.