Thursday, May 30, 2024

“Hacks” Returns with Jean Smart, Hannah Einbinder Cracking Wise and Aiming for More Emmy Awards


HBO and Max’s “Hacks” is back and for its legion of fans, May 2nd, when the first episode of season three drops. The series’ welcome return can’t come fast enough. HBO can only be happy — “Hacks” has gotten six Emmy Awards in its first two seasons.

At a recent press conference Variety TV editor and moderator Michael Schneider started it by exclaiming that “our long national nightmare is over because “Hacks” is back and alive!”  He then went on to introduce the panel by aptly describing Emmy award winner Jean Smart as ‘our national treasure,’ her costar Hannah Einbinder and the creative crew of Jen Statsky, Paul W. Downs, and Lucio Aniello. 

Without giving spoilers, many famous faces make appearances. The show opens up with an impromptu reunion at “Just For Laughs”’” at the Montreal Comedy festival.  After a year apart both characters — Smart’s Deborah Vance and Einbinder’s Ava — “have reached this new incredible heights of their career; and yet they realize they still need each other.  Deborah needs Ava to push her,” said Statsky. “Ava needs Deborah because there is a spark that that she doesn’t get from anyone else. That point of where they separated was always very intentional. because we wanted them to kind of go off in their separate ways to realize what they were missing in each other.”

When the inevitable age old question came up — Can women be as funny as men? Einbinder replied with a slight smirk, “The only time I ever hear that is like anonymous comments online. No one’s said that to my face. And I dare them to.” Einbinder should know, her real life Mom is the very funny Laraine Newman, best known for being part of the original Not for Prime Time Players on “SNL.” 

Smart chimed in with, “I do think there’s still that feeling a little bit. And I think women are just – can be funny about different things and men are funny about different things. Cause we’re different. But why was it funny when Milton Berle put on a dress and it wasn’t funny when Judy Garland did her little baggy pants hobo routine? I don’t know, can’t explain it. It just is. But doesn’t mean that women aren’t as funny, God knows.”  

Downs — who appears in the show, writes it, and created it — added “I think it’s a sexist thing. I think men are really threatened by women who are funny. They’re really – I think, there’s that saying, men’s greatest fear is being laughed at; and women’s greatest fear is being killed by men. So it’s like, I think it’s like – there’s a huge power dynamic that we’re dealing with that is millennia old. And it’s really hard to get beyond. But it’s like let’s get beyond it, you know.”  

Smart added “But the bottom line, again, that until we accept the fact that we all have differences and not try to pretend that we don’t, we’re never gonna get anywhere.”

“Hacks” with its singular edgy wit and biting charm is mightier and funnier than ever in its sublime third season.  

Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney writes from Los Angeles for A seasoned journalist with a long history during the halcyon days of the NY Daily News, Leah is a member of the Critics Choice and Rotten Tomatoes.

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