Emmy episode analysis: Will third time be charm for Louis C.K. as ‘Saturday Night Live’ host?

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Louis C.K. has contended for Best Comedy Guest Actor at the Emmys for the last three years running as host of “Saturday Night Live.” While he numbers five Emmy wins for writing from his career total of 37 nominations, he has never won for performing. Could this be his year? 

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C.K. hosted the May 2015 finale of the landmark fortieth season, which featured Rihanna as musical guest. C.K. does stand-up, then appears in sketches as a shoemaker, a lumberjack, a telecommunications salesman, a music producer, a crime suspect and a sitcom star.

C.K. has won an Emmy or two in each of the last three years. This year, he has racked up seven nominations this year for producing, writing, directing and headlining “Louie”, “Live at the Comedy Store” and “Saturday Night Live.” Odds are he will win at least one of those bids. 

In a running time of just over an hour, C.K. plays six characters, showcasing comedic range and demonstrating a change of pace from his regular role on “Louie,” in which he plays a version of himself.

The opening monologue was controversial for poking fun at child molestation. C.K. even joked during it that he would not be invited back to host again. But the TV academy nominated him again, so voters must not have had much of an issue with the material. 

Apples-to-oranges comparisons are tricky, as when judging C.K. against Bradley Whitford (“Transparent”). However, Bill Hader is also nominated for “Saturday Night Live” and there is aconsensus that he did a better job hosting, so it is hard to imagine C.K. placing higher than second.

Whereas Hader is unrecognizable in many of his sketches, C.K. stays more within his comfort zone, as his costumes alter his appearance at most by putting a toupee or hat on his head.

Simply put, some of the sketches are really weird and potentially off-putting. The first sketch in which C.K. appears features a pair of elves who seek to be sexually dominated by C.K.’s shoemaker character. C.K. later plays a music producer who is keen to describe the erections that he gets around his girlfriend and find out if she has the same effect on other men. That sketch also includes lines that are jarringly forgotten as soon as they are spoken, such as, “Dude, our girls are getting real tight — I wish you and I could talk like that. Why do you think we don’t?”

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Photo: Louis C.K. on “Saturday Night Live” Credit: NBC

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