Since the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special was introduced in 2009, the category has been dominated by the Tony Awards and Louis C.K. (who’s won it three times, including for 2015’s Live at the Comedy Store). Neither were nominated this year, but the category was still stacked, with impressive specials from Patton Oswalt, Amy Schumer, John Mulaney, Tig Notaro, and Robert Smigel’s Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog. Well, Oswalt pooped on all of them by taking home his first Emmy.
It was an emotional acceptance speech for the Talking for Clapping star. Oswalt shared the award with two people: his daughter, Alice, “who is waiting at home,” and late wife, novelist Michelle Eileen McNamara, who “is waiting somewhere else, I hope.” McNamara passed away in April at 46 years old.
Backstage after his win, Oswalt (who wrote a beautiful tribute comparing grief to Jason Statham) added, “Every bit of growth that I’ve had in my career, especially in my writing and in my performing, came because I met Michelle McNamara. Because I met and married this woman who just was so much wiser and self-actualized and aware of life than I was, and that I had convinced myself that I was aware and self-actualized and mature, but then I met the real deal. So I think it’s one of the reasons I didn’t prepare a speech, [it’s] because I was so comfortable with… especially when I saw taped specials and John Mulaney’s, and Hannibal Burress’, and Amy Schumer’s, I was okay going, ‘There are people in my life who help me to aspire to something and evolve to something better and I’m just lucky to get to have that in my life.’ So to have that ripped out of my life the way it has this year… I’m not trying to say this is meaningless, but everything seems like the lights have been turned down 50 percent on everything since she’s gone. It’s just going to be a long, long time before I can be the kind of person that she made me again.”