BetteBack Saturday, April 4,1987: Midler tops comedy nominations

THE NEWS-HERALD, Panama City, Fla.
Saturday, April 4,1987

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LOS ANGELES – Whoopi Goldberg and Bette Midler, with f o u r n o m i n a t i o n s each, dominated the nominations for The American Comedy Awards, the first awards show to honor the comedic art in all its forms.

The nominations for the two-hour show, which will be televised live on ABC-TV on May 19, were announced Thursday.

Robin Williams and Woody Allen, who were both nominated in the category of funniest male performer in a motion picture, led all male comedians, with three nominations apiece.

“This is the first time comedians and comedy actors have voted for each other,” said George Schlatter, who created and will produce the awards show. He said 1,600 people in the entertainment industry voted for the nominations and will participate in the final voting.

The most obvious omission in the nominations is Bill Cosby, who asked to be excluded because, said Schlatter, “he won’t compete for awards.”

Comedian and actor Red Buttons, who was named designated acceptor on the program for those winners who do not show up, noted at the press conference that comedians “are the Rodney Dangerfield of the arts. No respect. But singers and other artists can practice their craft alone. Funny people need an audience to tell them that their craft is working.”

Lily Tomlin, who read the nominations to the press, noted later that “comedians are sort of second cousins of the business in terms of real acknowledgment. I guess psychologically, people who are clownish, somehow it’s not as dignified as a tragedian.

People value it more; I don’t think they’re embarrassed when they laugh, but they don’t see it as one of their higher emotions.”

Schlatter and ABC announced that the first annual American Comedy Award for a lifetime creative contribution to the field of comedy will be given to Norman Lear. The other nominations include:

TV SERIES, FUNNIEST MALE: Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show; Ted Danson, Cheers; Michael J. Fox, Family Ties; Pee-wee Herman, Pee-wee’s Playhouse; David Letterman, Late Night With David Letterman.

TV SERIES, FUNNIEST FEMALE: Bea Arthur, Golden Girls; Julia Duffy, Newhart; Estelle Getty, Golden Girls; Shelley Long, Cheers; Betty White, Golden Girls.

MOTION PICTURE, FUNNIEST MALE: Woody Allen, Hannah and Her Sisters; Rodney Dangerfield, Back to School; Danny De Vito, Ruthless People; Tom Hanks, Nothing in Common; Steve Martin, Little Shop of Horrors.

MOTION PICTURE, FUNNIEST FEMALE: Whoopi Goldberg, Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Ellen Greene, Little Shop of Horrors; Goldie Hawn, Wildcats; Bette Midler, Ruthless People; Dianne Wiest, Hannah and Her Sisters.

FUNNIEST TV STAR IN A SPECIAL, MALE OR FEMALE: Carol Burnett, Fresno; George Carlin, On Location; Billy Crystal, On Location: Billy Crystal; Garry Shandling, 25th Anniversary Special; Robin Williams, An Evening at the Met.

FUNNIEST RECORD AND-OR VIDEO: Dan Aykroyd, Best of Dan Aykroyd; George Carlin, Playing With Your Head; Whoopi Goldberg, Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Steve Martin, Little Shop of Horrors; Bette Midler, Mud Will Be Flung Tonight.

FUNNIEST NEWCOMER, MALE OR FEMALE: Alf, Alf; Mark Linn-Baker, Perfect Strangers; Roseanne Barr, Tonight Show; Woody Harrelson, Cheers; Sam Kinnison, Rodney Dangerfield’s Young Comedians.

FUNNIEST STAND-UP COMIC, MALE: Billy Crystal; Jay Leno; Eddie Murphy; Richard Pryor; Robin Williams.

FUNNIEST STAND-UP COMIC, FEMALE: Elayne Boosler; Whoopi Goldberg; Bette Midler; Joan Rivers; Lily Tomlin.

FUNNIEST PERFORMER OF THE YEAR, MALE: Woody Allen; Jay Leno; David Letterman; Eddie Murphy; Robin Williams.

FUNNIEST PERFORMER OF THE YEAR, FEMALE: Carol Burnett; Whoopi Goldberg; Bette Midler; Lily Tomlin; Betty White.

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