Did you hear that? It was the sound of another doorway opening just a little wider. Short-form sitcom Childrens Hospital (Adult Swim) won an Emmy over the weekend, and suddenly, it seems like the mainstream comedy world’s scope has widened. This was the first year a series like Childrens had its own place at the Emmys, in a category that looks like it was practically created for the purpose of rewarding Rob Corddry’s hilarious darling: “Outstanding Special Class: Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Programs.”
Alright, so that category name is only a notch above gobbeldygook and the non-Childrens nominees in this category are mostly Web versions of wildly successful half-hour comedy series. But the point is, the opportunity now exists for a series like Childrens — a 15-minute sitcom known for its absurd, rapid-fire plotlines — and its many short-form companions to be rewarded for excellence alongside the other mainstream comedy greats. Just ask Corddry, who made time to chat with Hollywood.com just before the winners were announced. “I’m almost as excited for introduction of this category as I am for getting nominated,” he says.
The way he sees it, this is validation for a group of people who simply enjoy comedy outside the constraints of genre and budget. “We started off doing it because it was something we loved and we were bored. And we hate money,” he laughs. And now, the Emmy recognition is taking the short-form world to the next level. “It is the establishment-industry-advertiser people recognizing the fact that there’s a new family emerging and that this is where we made our chops and where we continue to live,” Corddry says.
But why now? What’s happening in comedy that’s allowing these shorter episodes and webisodes to grab the attention of a nominating body like the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences? Well, it might have something to do with the way in which the comedy world is growing. “[Short-form] is definitely is a better, more populist opportunity," he says. "And it breeds a really cool atmosphere – people like each other and they like working with each other."