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Who deserves an Emmy nod for Lead Actor/Actress in a Comedy? (Underdog picks encouraged!)

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Longshot-Emmy-nominees_l Don’t look now, but like the murderer in so many horror films, Emmy season has snuck up behind us, and its mangled, furious face will be staring at us in the bathroom mirror as soon as we wipe away the shower steam. Oh, okay, it’s not that scary, but seriously, didn’t we just finish giving Doris Roberts her seventeenth consecutive statuette last week or so? But no, it only feels that way. And with the 2009 Emmy nominations set to drop next Thursday morning (July 16) I thought it might be a good time to start sending energy into the universe on behalf of those folks who most deserve to get dressed up in designer frocks, stroll the red carpet, and celebrate themselves and their own great work come September 20. Let’s start the conversation with our dream nominees for Lead Actor and Actress in a Comedy. (Please limit the discussion to those divisions; we’ll tackle other major categories over the next five weekdays, okay?) Here are three folks I hope can break through the Two and a Half Men/Monk/Entourage clutter next week and get to graft the words the “Emmy nominee” onto their names in perpetuity.

Billie Piper, Secret Diary of a Callgirl: Not only does the one-time pop chanteuse and Doctor Who sidekick score big laughs with the most subtle of punch lines, but she carries the series’ moody, meditative weight solely on her shoulders. Of course, I’d give her an Emmy just for convincing me her character’s boyfriend was an unreasonable lout simply because he dumped her after catching her in bed with another man, and discovering she was a prostitute in the process.

Kyle Bornheimer, Worst Week: So what if his show was a little spotty (and ultimately a little canceled)? Bornheimer’s frantic energy gave a jolt of hilarious unpredictability to Worst Week‘s sometimes formulaic guy-tries-to-please-in-laws shtick. Whether his Sam Briggs was setting a classic car on fire or urinating on a carefully prepared goose dinner, you could practically feel his panic sweat dripping from the TV set.

Eva Longoria-Parker, Desperate Housewives: You may find her off-camera persona off-putting, but who cares? There’s no denying Longoria is the funniest woman on ABC’s Sunday-night lineup. Her Gaby Solis has always been a hoot, but she’s funnier than ever paired in battle against her spoiled beast of a daughter, Juanita, a rival she can neither run from nor destroy, and that’s made her truly Emmy-worthy.

Okay, there you have my three Emmy underdogs for nominations in the Lead Actor and Actress in a Comedy categories, now it’s time to sound off in the comments section with your must-see nominee lists for those divisions, and why you’re picking ’em. (If your brain needs a jump start on the major contenders, check out Gold Derby’s inside-track lists for the ladies and the gents!) And remember: If your favorites don’t rate with Emmy this year — and if you make a strong enough case for ’em on our message boards — they might wind up with a nomination in EW.com’s second annual EWwy Awards. Hey, it’s better than going home with a box of Rice-a-Roni and some Turtle Wax!

Related stories:
Michael Ausiello’s picks in the Lead Comedy Acting categories
‘Worst Week’: Yep, I enjoyed the timeslot buddy of ‘Two and a Half Men’
2008’s EWwy winners!

addCredit(“Piper: Michael Elins/Showtime; Bornheimer: Chris Haston/CBS; Parker: Randee St. Nicholas/ABC”)