Emmy episode analysis: Louis C.K. (‘Louie’) embraces his feminine side

louie louis ck bobby's house robert kelly emmy

Comedian Louis C.K. is nominated for Best Comedy Actor at the Emmys for the fifth year in a row for his starring role in “Louie.” This is just one his seven nominations as a writer director, producer and star of both “Louie” and his variety special “Louis C.K. Live at the Comedy Store.” To date, he has prevailed with five of his 32 Emmy bids. All of those wins were for writing. Will his episode submission “Bobby’s House” yield his first victory for acting?

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Louie is surprised by a phone call from his brother Bobby (Robert Kelly) informing him that their uncle has died. However, when they attend his wake, they discover the deceased is a different man entirely. They return to Bobby’s house, where Bobby unexpectedly opens up about how much he envies Louie’s success.

In the next segment Louie waits for a bus and interrupts a woman who is attacking a bystander, but she turns her attack on him. His daughters laugh when they find out he was attacked by a woman, and so does his girlfriend Pamela (Pamela Adlon), who then asks to make Louie up as a woman for role-playing. But the intimacy overwhelms Louie, and Pamela realizes he can’t handle a casual relationship, so she breaks up with him. The next day, Bobby hears Louie’s sad story and can’t stop laughing.

Will this performance win Louis C.K. his first acting Emmy? Let’s weigh the pros and cons:

Louis C.K. writes and directs the episode in addition to starring in it; voters may be triply impressed by his achievement.

The comedian gets a moment of gravitas at the end of the episode, crying over the end of his relationship.

During his role-playing scene with Pamela, C.K. gets to play another persona, “Jornetha,” giving him added range.

His gender-bending performance might be more impactful to voters were they not also judging Jeffrey Tambor‘s acclaimed role as a transgender woman in “Transparent” in this category.

Other than his scene with Pamela at the end of the episode, C.K. is mostly stoic, not outwardly emotional like Emmy voters usually prefer to reward in acting categories.

C.K. plays a fictionalized version of himself on the show, and over the years we’ve seen that it’s especially difficult to win an Emmy playing yourself.

‘Louie’ star Pamela Adlon ‘stunned’ by Emmy nomination for gender-bending episode

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Photo: Louis C.K. and Robert Kelly in “Louie.” Credit: KC Bailey/FX

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