The subtitle of this post might be "virtue rewarded."
Yes, the wonderful Jack McBrayer—whose performance as Kenneth the Page has been one of 30 Rock's stealth comedy weapon for three seasons—just got his very first Emmy nomination! McBrayer's not as famous as his 30 Rock costars, but after three years of keeping his head down and making us laugh so hard our teeth hurt, he's getting his just deserts!
We spoke to McBrayer this morning after he found out he's up for what is officially termed "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series," and he let us in on what it's really like to work with imperious fellow nominee Alec Baldwin and who dissed the 30 Rock actors when the show first started...
So what got finally got Kenneth the Page some Emmy love? Jack thinks it might have been the episode where "We see the world through Kenneth's eyes, and it's all Muppets," but he also says it's because, "Tina and all the writers write in to my wheelhouse. One thing that I think makes it very easy for all of us, is finding the dynamics between the characters. Not even just Kenneth and the other characters, but between just all the different combinations. I think that's been a key element."
First and foremost amongst those dynamics is the relationship between polar opposites Kenneth the Page and super executive Jack Donaghy, and according to McBrayer, that is going swimmingly. "I could not be more honored to work with him. I swear to God. [Laughs.] First season we were all scared to death of him. But the second season, he was a little more relaxed, therefore we were more relaxed. This season was a breeze; I'm so looking forward to season four. He's so generous. He hosted Saturday Night Live back in February, and he had this idea to bring me up during his opening monologue. My parents were in town, and it was just a perfect storm of 'I can't believe this is my life right now.' "
But a second perfect storm is coming to Jack McBrayer's life, and that is the Emmy ceremony on Sept. 20.
McBrayer admits he is a smidgen concerned about that, saying, "This kind of stuff gives me anxiety. I really, really enjoy flying under the radar. I know that they'll want me to talk on the red carpet, but it makes me squirrelly and it makes me anxious, and it's hot and people are screaming at me." Come visit us at the E! booth, Jack! We swear, we're supernice, and we'll only scream a little.
Still, whatever McBrayer's experience on the red carpet this time around, it will be better than the first time out. He tells us, "I guess we didn't have a great experience the first couple of years because nobody was watching 30 Rock."
"OK, you were the one viewer. But you have these photographers who don't know me from Alec's house cat, you have a publicist shoving you out on a carpet and then you're standing there and ain't no one talking to you. It was mortifying. And of course, here comes Eva Longoria Parker and some other rep behind you screaming at you to move. It was terrible. I'm hoping I don't have to do too, too much red carpet stuff, but I'm sure the NBC people will say otherwise."
We are totally terrible celebrity journalists, because we would for sure shove Eva Longoria Parker out of the way to get to Jack McBrayer. What can we say? We love people who see the world through Muppet-colored glasses!
Last but not least, we must share with you this McBrayer-tastic quote from 30 Rock boss Robert Carlock about the show's noms today: "We are all thrilled and honored to receive any kind of recognition, and this, of course, is beyond our wildest expectations. There are a lot of motivations that keep us writing late into the night. One of them is our fear of Jack McBrayer's violent outbursts. Another is the gratification that comes from being recognized by our peers. "
Are you a huge 30 Rock fan, or do you suspect it's overhyped, liberal-elite poppycock? Post in the comments!
Want more 30 Rock? Check out Tina Fey talking about stardom: "Well, I've fully stopped apologizing for being in the show."
Click the thumbnails above to get our gallery of notable nominees for the 2009 Emmys!