Saturday Night Live was so close to breaking its own Emmy nominations record.

The long-running NBC comedy series scored 21 nominations this morning, just under its own single-year record of 22 nominations in 2017. That too was a season dominated by an election involved Donald Trump. This is a jump on the 15 nominations that it received in 2020, the 18 it scored in 2019, and ties the 21 that it secured in 2018.

It takes the total number of nominations for SNL to 306 with 78 previous wins.

Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong were all nominated for Best Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series, while Kenan Thompson and Bowen Yang were nominated for Best Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series. Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Alec Baldwin, Dave Chappelle, Daniel Kaluuya and Daniel Levy were all nommed for their guest spots.

In fact, Yang, whose Titanic Iceberg sketch went viral, has become the first featured player to be nominated for an Emmy in the show’s history.

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It comes as the Lorne Michaels-run show will go head-to-head against HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show in the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series category, which has been decimated due to rules changes around the number of submissions.

Saturday Night Live has won the sketch category in the past four years, four out of the six since the category was separated into two categories – Outstanding Variety Sketch Series and Outstanding Variety Talk Series.

HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show entered the Emmy conversation last year with its debut season.

Missing out are HBO’s How To With John Wilson, Peacock’s The Amber Ruffin Show, Showtime’s Ziwe and HBO Max’s That Damn Michael Che.

The category has undergone a pretty seismic change over the last few years with the number of nominees decimated this year. There were only nine submissions in the category, which means as a result of the Television Academy’s sliding scale rule there were only two spots.

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Last year, there were nominees: Saturday Night Live, which won, HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show and Comedy Central’s Drunk History. The latter was cancelled by the ViacomCBS network after its sixth season, reversing the network’s decision to order a seventh season.

This is all in contrast to the six nominees in 2019: SNL, At Home with Amy Sedaris, Documentary Now!, Drunk History, I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman and Who Is America?

Other contenders this year included Netflix’s Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready, The CW’s Whose Line Is It Anyway? and BYUtv’s Studio C.

The move to only two nominees comes as the category was already set to be upended further after the TV Academy decided to merge it with the late-night talk category. However, after the late-night lobby made its displeasure known, the Academy reversed its decision and kept the two categories separate.

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