Emmy Episode Analysis: Will Melissa McCarthy win with third Guest Comedy Actress bid for hosting ‘SNL’?

Melissa McCarthy returns to the Best Comedy Guest Actress race for the third year running for hosting “Saturday Night Live.” She lost in 2012 to Kathy Bates (“Two and Half Men”) and last year to Melissa Leo (“Louie”). She also contends again in Comedy Actress for “Mike and Molly“; she won that race back in 2011. Below, we break down the pros and cons of her “SNL” appearance. 

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SYNOPSIS: McCarthy’s episode, which aired on February 1, was the 13th of the 39th season of this NBC programming staple.

The musical guest was Imagine Dragons and the show was punctuated by special appearances from previous “SNL” players Amy Poehler, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Andy Samberg, who joined Weekend Update co-host Cecily Strong in saying goodbye to longtime cast member Seth Myers.

While McCarthy had plenty of opportunities to showcase her different strengths throughout the 90-minute running time, there were stretches where she was absent from the show. 

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PROS:

McCarthy delivers the usual over-the-top monologue as she is heckled by a very displeased Bobby Moynihan in the crowd, showing fake footage of her being a complete diva during the last time she hosted the show. It’s a pretty good monologue that involves some literal high-wire acrobatics .

McCarthy excels at playing crazies. In this episode, she gets to be a weirdo in a women’s group, proudly showing off her vision board in a quest to avenge the death of her father. In another, she reprises her role as ultra-violent congresswoman Sheila Kelly. It is her best sketch, and certainly delivers the laughs.

She is also a real pro at physical comedy. This time, there may not be any pratfalls down staircases, but she does enough slapstick to generate the kind of belly laughs we all expect from this dynamic comedic force.

CONS:

There’s a new Emmy rule this year that could hurt McCarthy’s chances. In the past, guest acting reels were edited down to just feature the scenes with the nominees. This year, no such editing will take place, meaning voters have to sit through a political cold open, two music performances and a long Weekend Update segment where McCarthy is conspicuously absent. Will voters get bored and turn off the episode?

Although McCarthy is the “laugh out loud” funniest among the six nominees, this time hosting “SNL” was not as strong as her first two times. A lot of this episode is hit and miss. The “guess that phrase” and “living pictures exhibition” didn’t work as well as they could have , though this is not necessarily McCarthy’s fault.

“SNL” hosts used to dominate the guest acting races, with Fey, Betty White, Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake all winning. But it’s been four years since a female “SNL” host claimed victory with such heavyweights as Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph losing. Have voters moved on?

According to Gold Derby’s Experts, Editors and Users, McCarthy is currently in last place to win  with 100/1 odds. But she should not be underestimated. Remember, not many people predicted her to prevail in 2011 for “Mike and Molly“. 

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