All the praise in the world to Henry Winkler. At Monday night’s 70th annual Emmy Awards, he took home the Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series prize, righting a decades-old wrong. Winkler never won for playing all-time iconic TV character Fonzie on Happy Days; his win this year for Barry feels as much like a corrective for that as it does an award for this performance.
Still, as happy as we are for him, we remain depressed for one of the losers: Tituss Burgess, who turned in yet another stellar performance this season on Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Yet once again, someone else aced him out. What does Burgess have to do for giving us the majestic gift that is Titus Andromedon?
In his first season alone, Burgess’ Andromedon gave us the viral gift of “Peeno Noir.” He was bested by Tony Hale at the Emmys, who had already won two years before for Veep. The next year, when Burgess further plumbed Titus’ character for new depths, he was beaten by Baskets‘ Louie Anderson. The next year, when Burgess turned out perhaps his best performance of the series (remember when Titus thought he ate Dionne Warwick?), he lost to Alec Baldwin’s incredibly buzzy Saturday Night Live incarnation of Donald Trump. And then this year, he lost to Winkler.
Can we argue that these other men didn’t deserve the honor? Maybe, maybe not. (I’d have given Burgess the Emmy for both seasons one and three, over Hale and Baldwin, but your mileage may vary.) But the truth we want to hammer home is that Burgess certainly didn’t deserve to lose four times. And he’s running out of chances to win, since Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has only half a season and a movie left. He’ll get one more shot in the Comedy category, and then will have to move to the sometimes-more-competitive Limited Series and TV Movie category.
It would be a true shame if Titus Andromedon went the way of Fonzie — that one of TV’s most indelible, signature characters remains without recognition. It would be even more devastating to see a queer man playing a queer man so expertly not get recognized — those kinds of matches between performer and performance are still too rare.
We can only hope that next year, finally, can be Burgess’ turn.
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