The Reel Review


With her Las Vegas residency over, legendary comedian Deborah Vance and her oversharing young writing assistant Ava hit the road to work on some new material, in this second season of the HBO Max comedy series starring Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder.

Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder in Hacks.

As excellent as Season One was, Season Two is even better, with sharper, funnier comedy and more poignant, serious moments, as Deborah and Ava really get to know one another. It also sees some new, colorful supporting castmembers – Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird, Roseanne), as Deborah’s militant road manager Weed, is hysterical.

Smart and Einbinder have phenomenal onscreen chemistry and the clever writing is utterly believable as Deborah tries to rediscover her comedy magic working venues across America – among them, state fairs, small comedy clubs and a gay cruise.

Jean Smart in Hacks.

Show creators Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs (who also plays Deborah’s agent) and Jen Statsky have succeeded in creating that rare, lightning in a bottle – a show that is hilarious, heartfelt, relevant and respects its audience’s intelligence. Hacks currently is the best show on television. Season 2’s rousing finalé will have you laughing through tears.


• Jean Smart won an Emmy for Best Actress for Season One of Hacks and in April 2022 received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The show also picked up Emmys for Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Directing.

Frasier (and now Hacks) alums Jean Smart, Harriet Sansom Harris and Jane Smith.

• Season 2 is a reunion of several actresses who appeared on the hit comedy series Frasier. Jean Smart won a guest Emmy for playing Frasier’s high school crush Lorna/Lana Lynley. Harriet Sansom Harris, who plays Deborah’s old friend/competitor Susan, was Frasier’s agent Bebe Glazer and Jane Adams, who plays Ava’s mother, appeared as Niles’s love interest Dr. Mel Karnofsky.

• In a case of life imitating art, comedian Hannah Einbinder is doing her stand-up act across the United States this summer, with her ultimate goal – a network comedy special.


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