“Everybody Loves Raymond” comedy writer Mike Royce did two things after an early-morning telephone call last month notifying him of his first Emmy Award nomination.
First, he slept through the message a CBS publicist left on his answering machine.
The second thing, after he eventually woke up and got the good news, was start to wonder about getting face time on the Sept. 21 awards telecast.
The 1982 Jamesville-DeWitt High School graduate remembers the typical awards show where the TV screen splits into shots of each anxious hopeful trying not to look too hopeful or, when they lose, too upset.
“Egotistically enough, I went back and I looked at last year’s Emmy tape to see if that was going to be true for me. It’s not,” he says. “In the case of writers, they show clips and they announce your name. So if I win, you’ll see me. If I don’t win, you probably won’t see me.”
Actually, it’s possible viewers will see Royce twice.
Royce is nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. And because he’s listed as a supervising producer of “Raymond,” his name is among those credited in the nomination of the show for Outstanding Comedy Series.
Royce, 39, last season wrote two episodes by himself and co-wrote two others. He got the Emmy nomination for his solo credit on a script titled “Counseling” in which Raymond’s wife, Debra, persuades him to get marriage counseling.
The episode ends with Raymond making the admission that he wants a wife who will take care of him like his mother did.
Royce says the episode may have appealed to Emmy judges because the script found a new way to explore major themes of “Raymond.”
“It touches on a very serious-type issues, which is Ray’s attachment to his mother and his ongoing conflict with Debra,” Royce says. “We never before explored it from a psychological standpoint. This seemed the perfect opportunity.”
Until he joined the writing staff of “Raymond” four years ago, Royce was a respected but largely unknown stand-up comedian in New York City, where he first became friends with Ray Romano. Royce’s last job before moving to California was working as an audience warm-up comedian for “Spin City.”
Emmy win or not, Royce counts himself fortunate he’s got a job on a series that’s often as enjoyable to write as it is to see on TV.
“We (the show’s writers) have as much fun as anyone should ever be allowed to have together,” he says. “It’s 10 people joking around about everything under the sun. And, once in a while, we get around to the scripts, too.”