“We wanted to make something that felt real and authentic in every way,” reveals Lucia Aniello about creating “Hacks” with Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky. For our exclusive new Gold Derby interview, she continues, “It’s a comedy about comedy. So when we were going to writing stand up jokes for a comedian; we wanted them to feel genuinely funny. When we were doing more dramatic moments, we wanted that to feel real too. Authenticity is always going to be a north star.”
“Hacks” is the new HBO Max streaming series about a legendary comic, Deborah Vance (Jean Smart), who is in the twilight of her career. With pressure mounting for her so give up the spotlight, she reluctantly hires young writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder) to freshen up her act. The pair clash over their views on comedy and life.
Downs explains, “Partly the reason Deborah and Ava butt heads is because they are both strong-willed and opinionated. They also see a bit of themselves in the other, especially Deborah who sees this person in the pilot who is bold enough to give it back to her. That kindred-ness is something only later in the season they start to enjoy. That speaks to why it’s very personal to us. We have had this collaboration for so long creatively. And no matter what your art is, artistic collaboration is a weird love language. So they do develop that as the season goes.”
The creating trio also serve as executive producers, writers and directors on the series, after previously working on “Broad City” together. Statsky says, “’Hacks’ is about a collaboration between two people creatively. And for me, the greatest joy on this series is to collaborate with Paul and Lucia. There’s a line in the show that says, ‘When you share a sense of humor with someone, you make each other better.’ Every day we felt that. In the writing, the pre-production and the post-production.”
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