Emmy episode analysis: Melissa McCarthy (‘Saturday Night Live’) could finally win Comedy Guest Actress on fourth try

Melissa McCarthy returns to the Best Comedy Guest Actress race at the Emmys for the fourth time for hosting “Saturday Night Live.” She has been nominated for all of her past “SNL” appearances but has yet to win in this category, losing in 2012 to Kathy Bates (“Two and Half Men”), in 2013 to Melissa Leo (“Louie”) and in 2014 to Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black”). Below, we break down the pros and cons of her “SNL” appearance.

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McCarthy’s episode, which aired on February 13, was the 13th episode of the 41st season of the legendary NBC late-night laffer. The musical guest was Kanye West, and the episode opened with an appearance by “SNL” alum Darrell Hammond as former President Bill Clinton. McCarthy showcases her usual comedic range, starting with her opening monologue song and dance number, to sketches featuring typically crazy characters and some of the signature slapstick physical comedy that she has become renowned for.

Can McCarthy take out her competition on her fourth try? Let’s take a closer look at her submission:

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McCarthy is fantastic in the opening monologue as she belts out a song and dance number erroneously touting her fifth hosting gig (this being only her fourth turn as host). It delivers some of the physicality that audiences have come to expect from McCarthy, and is a good start to the show.

McCarthy excels at playing crazies. Her best sketch is towards the beginning of the episode, where she plays an unhinged test-audience member at a horror movie screening with a propensity for extreme overreactions to every twist and turn of the movie she is watching in the darkened theater.

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As is the case with all “SNL” hosts, voters watching the submitted episodes have to sit through various scenes that may not include the host that week. For McCarthy, that includes the political cold open, two lengthy musical performances by West and the long Weekend Update segment. Is there enough of the nominee in this episode to catapult her to the finish line?

Although McCarthy does show off some of the physical comedy we know and love, there is not as much of the slapstick as there has been in previous episodes. There’s no pratfalls down staircases, and we miss out on revisiting ultra-violent congresswoman Sheila Kelly, which is one of her best recurring characters.

“SNL” dominates this category this year, with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler nominated as a duo for hosting the Christmas episode and Amy Schumer also nominated for hosting the episode that aired earlier last fall. However, without a clear favorite among these comedy titans, it is likely that all them may succumb to vote splitting, which will pave the way for one of their non-“SNL” rivals to take the prize.

“SNL” hosts have done well in the past with Fey, Betty WhiteJimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake all winning. But it has been six years since a female “SNL” host claimed victory. Have voters moved on?

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