HBO's female led comedy show Hacks is sweeping the comedy world with its boasting of original comedic brilliance, and its homage to the comedians of the past who we may have taken for granted. Here are 12 Hack facts to read while you Hacky sack. 

Einbinder And Smart’s Strange First Meeting

Jean Smart Hannah Einbinder Hacks

HBO

Einbinder told Vogue that after her second callback she was put into a dark soundstage with Jean Smart to test their chemistry, with only a plate of plexiglass separating them for covid safety. Smart said about the strange audition space, “there was like one bare light bulb on the set. It was like we were doing a spy movie and we were about to get tortured. Which, you could say, we were.”

Jean Was Scared Of Standup While Hannah Was Scared Of Acting

Jean Smart Hannah Einbinder Hacks

HBO

Jean Smart’s background was in comedic/dramatic acting and Einbinder’s background was in traditional stand-up. Smart admitted that she was very nervous early on that Einbinder would see through her ‘seasoned stand up comic’ act in the role. Einbinder admitted she too was nervous that Smart wouldn’t see her as an actual actress. Smart said about Einbinder, “to be a good stand-up, you have to be able to act. It’s the same way really, really good singers have to be actors as well, if you want to deliver and perform a song well. So even though Hannah wasn’t technically an actress when we first met, I think the style of Hannah’s comedy, where she tells these quirky stories, they’re totally acted out.”

The Purpose Of The Show

Jean Smart Hacks

HBO

According to Lucia Aniello, “Ultimately for us, the show is a redemption story for Deborah Vance. And for us, I think it's just this moment in our culture where, where I think we're starting to really reckon with the way that we've treated so many women for so long, and now we're starting to kind of look back at those stories and say, here's how, whether it's the media or just society at large, did them dirty as it were.”

Jean Smart's Thoughts On Singing

Jean Smart Hacks

HBO

Showrunner and co-creator Jen Statsky told Collider, “Speaking of getting inspiration from cast, in Season 1, Jean said, ‘I really wanna sing. If we get a Season 1, I really wanna sing.’ And we were like, ‘Great! That sounds awesome. No problem. We’ll write that in.”' And then, we wrote it in, and it was happening, and she came to us and said, ‘Don’t listen to me. Don’t take my suggestions. I don’t wanna sing.’ When she was confronted with doing it and it seemed challenging once she actually had to do it, but she killed it. She did amazing. And then, the song was a real conversation and back-and–forth.”

The Writing Process

Hacks Writers

HBO

The show is run by the three creators of the series, Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky who created the show to amplify stories of female comedians, which have not been featured as widely as shows about male comics. The way the writers write is to make each other laugh in the writer’s room said Lucia Aniella. She continued, “I swear to God, we really made this show to make each other laugh. That’s how we write and how we’ve always written because that way, you know your target. I know my target is Jen and Paul . That way, when I’m pitching an idea, I know that this might tickle them or that might tickle them. What that does is makes you think about the show and pitch ideas for a very smart audience and an audience that has a good sense of humor. 

Jean Smart on Deborah And Political Correctness

Jean Smart Hacks

HBO

Jean Smart told W Magazine, “Deborah is not the most enlightened feminist in the world, that’s for sure. I think political correctness, for the most part, she finds incredibly annoying because she treats everybody at face value. Which is kind of the way it should be—but we are also caught in the nuances of things and need to inspect our relationships more. It’s very obvious now that there are factions in our society who want to go back to the ‘good old days,’ which weren’t so good for a lot of people. When they say the ‘good old days’ they mean for white men, mostly. But Deborah is still learning.”

The Idea Was Incubated For 5 Years

Meg Stalter Paul W Downs Hacks

HBO

Paul W. Downs told Collider, “ came with as we shot my Netflix special to Portland, Maine, where we were going to a Monster Jam monster truck show. And it was on that road trip, driving to Portland, Maine that we first talked about this idea five years ago. And we've really just kept thinking about it ever since. And we've been lucky enough to be working on a bunch of stuff that has kept us busy, but once we were all free and able to work on this, we just couldn't wait because in those five years, so many ideas would percolate and we just kept returning to it.

Jean Smart Was The Creator’s Dream Pick

Jen Statsky told Collider, “Jean Smart was at the top of the list because in our minds, no one does both comedy and drama in equal parts better than she does. And so we sent her the script and she responded, thank God. We had a meeting and, and yeah, we were just so over the moon to have her join us and just elevate .”

Only 10% Of The Show Was Shot In Vegas

Jean Smart Hannah Einbinder Hacks

HBO

While the show took place in Vegas in the first season, only about 10% of the season was filmed there. Downs said, “Having made the show, I have a real fondness for Las Vegas. I also was introduced to parts of Las Vegas that, when you go there for a weekend, you're not necessarily seeing old Vegas or parts of Vegas that aren't on the strip. And so I've really developed a fondness for the place.”

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