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The show started with bathroom humor: A filmed bit with Kathy Bates, Zooey Deschanel and other nominated actresses prepping in the restroom, then discovering a weeping Jimmy Kimmel lamenting a Botox reaction he said would keep him off stage as host.

“You look beautiful,” he was reassured. “You look like a `Real Housewife.’”

Viewers of the skit may have been puzzled by a nude Lena Dunham, the creator-star of “Girls,” who’s routinely brave about showing skin on the HBO comedy.

Standup comic Louis C.K. won the Emmy for best comedy writing for “Louie.”

Kimmel set up one of the night’s best filmed comedy bits by musing on what “Breaking Bad” would have been like had it aired in a G-rated, pre-cable era.

The answer: a spoof of the opening to “The Andy Griffith Show,” with “Breaking Bad” stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, fully suited up to cook crystal meth, out at the lake with their fishing poles as the “Andy Griffith” whistling theme song was heard.

As a pungent punchline, they shot dead an unexpected witness: a friendly deputy billed as co-star Don Knotts.

HBO came into the night with a leading 17 creative arts Emmys from a Sept. 15 ceremony honoring technical and other achievements. CBS was second with 13, followed by PBS with 11. Discovery received six awards, NBC got five and ABC and the Cartoon Network won four each. Fox received two trophies.

Emmy has to prove herself a winner with the audience. After rebounding somewhat to 13.5 million viewers in 2010 after an all-time low in 2008 of 12.3 million, last year’s show drew 12.4 million viewers airing on Fox. The ceremony rotates annually among the four major networks.