Since it was created in 1979, the supporting actor in a comedy series category at the Emmy Awards has been dominated by just a few good men. Indeed, only 18 men have prevailed in the 31 races, including four-time champs John Laroquette ("Night Court") and David Hyde-Pierce ("Frasier"), three-peaters Michael Richards ("Seinfeld"), Brad Garrett ("Everybody Loves Raymond") and Jeremy Piven ("Entourage"), and double winner Christopher Lloyd ("Taxi").
This year, Jon Cryer ("Two and a Half Men") is defending his title while Neil Patrick Harris ("How I Met Your Mother") is looking for his first win with his fourth consecutive nomination. The other four nominees are all first-time Emmy contenders and appear on two of TV's hottest freshman hits — "Glee" (Chris Colfer) and "Modern Family" (Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet).
Before this award was established for featured actors in comedy series, the wider race was even more restrictive with the winners. In the 1950s, Art Carney won three in a row for his work with the Emmy-snubbed Jackie Gleason followed by the first two Emmys of an eventual record nine for Carl Reiner ("Caesar's Hour"). In the 1960s, Don Knotts had a firm grip on the award with five consecutive wins for "The Andy Griffith Show. And in the 1970s "Mary Tyler Moore Show" cast-mates Ed Asner and Ted Knight won three and two apiece while the first of Rob Reiner's two wins for "All in the Family" in 1974 made history as all four of the cast of that classic were now Emmy champs.
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Photo: Jon Cryer at the 61st Annual Emmy Awards. Credit: CBS