Here's a little showbiz secret for you:
Remember all those times you watched awards shows like the Oscars and the Tonys and couldn't believe how crushingly, terribly, depressingly unfunny most of the jokes were?
Some of the people who host these things feel the same way.
"I have seen awards shows where they will list the writers at the end, and there's like 40 writers and (you think) 'Couldn't one of them have come up with one funny joke?' " said Jane Lynch, the host of this year's 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, airing at 8 p.m. Sunday on Fox (WTVT-Ch. 13). "My goal is that nobody will cringe … or at least few people will."
There's some precedent; comic actors such as Neil Patrick Harris have fared much better as hosts than comics (just ask Ricky Gervais).
But, hard as she tries, there's a part of the awards show experience Lynch can't upgrade: the winners.
That's where I come in. As a critic with some experience — and my own history of cringing at some Emmy winners — I decided to craft my own awards show, piggybacking on the Emmys.
Dear readers, meet the Deggys.
Think of me as the sheriff in this little corner of pop culture, righting wrongs with the ferocity of Michael Moore at a tea party rally.
The academy already got one thing right, handing three of the early, Creative Arts Emmys Saturday to the PBS film Freedom Riders, inspired by a book from University of South Florida St. Petersburg professor Ray Arsenault. Let's see what else they should be honoring.
Best Comedy nominees
Modern Family (NBC); 30 Rock (NBC); Glee (Fox); The Office (NBC); The Big Bang Theory (CBS); Parks and Recreation (NBC).
The Deggy goes to … Modern Family. No one has been more consistent and sidesplitting. The writers never coast, despite being backed by an amazingly talented cast; easy to see why nearly everyone from the show is also nominated in acting categories.
Will win: The Office, mostly because its emotional sendoff for series star Steve Carell poked fun at TV's biggest doofus in a note-perfect farewell.
Best Drama nominees
Boardwalk Empire (HBO); Friday Night Lights (NBC); Dexter (Showtime); Game of Thrones (HBO); The Good Wife (CBS); Mad Men (AMC).
The Deggy goes to … Game of Thrones. It's big. It's sexy. It's violent. It's tough to beat HBO's sprawling fantasy adventure drama, which brought a Lord of the Rings-level epic tale to the (not-so) small screen.
Will win: Mad Men. Doesn't it always?
Best Comedy Actress nominees
Tina Fey, 30 Rock; Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie; Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation; Laura Linney, The Big C; Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope; Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly.
The Deggy goes to … Tina Fey. It's been three years since Fey won this category, despite pioneering a style of smart, hapless comedy heroines who have inspired everyone from fellow nominee Amy Poehler to network TV newcomer Zooey Deschanel.
Will win: Laura Linney. Before this year, the stage and screen veteran has been nominated three times for Emmy gold and won every time.
Best Comedy Actor nominees
Steve Carell, The Office; Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory; Matt LeBlanc, Episodes; Louis C.K., Louie; Johnny Galecki, Big Bang Theory.
The Deggy goes to … Louis C.K. Yeah, he's the hip choice. But he's made a brave move in his FX comedy Louie, looking for laughs in life's most mundane, often-depressing moments. And he got a Twitter endorsement from Rob Lowe!
Will win: Steve Carell. He's a popular star who capped an amazing run on The Office with a touching performance.
Best Dramatic Actress nominees
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife; Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men; Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU; Kathy Bates, Harry's Law; Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights and Mireille Enos, The Killing.
The Deggy goes to … four women: Friday Night Lights' Britton, The Good Wife's Margulies, Mad Men's Moss and one woman who wasn't nominated, Southland's Regina King. Forced to choose, I'm going with my favorite performance in my favorite show, Margulies' freshly wounded, increasingly independent lawyer.
Will win: Kathy Bates, simply because she's a film star.
Best Dramatic Actor nominees
Jon Hamm, Mad Men; Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire; Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights; Michael C. Hall, Dexter; Hugh Laurie, House; Timothy Olyphant, Justified.
The Deggy goes to … Jon Hamm. Much as I love Olyphant's offhand cool, Hamm's work revealing the corroded, crumbling spirit of a newly divorced Don Draper is his finest performance on TV's finest drama.
Will win: Hamm. Because, after six nominations and no wins, it's about time.