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‘Hacks’ Season 2 Adds Laurie Metcalf, Ming-Na Wen, Martha Kelly as Recurring Guest Stars

HACKS SEASON 2
Robert Trachtenberg/ABC/Sergio Garcia/Netflix/Ming-Na Wen/HBO Max

As “Hacks” takes Deborah Vance’s show on the road, she’s encountering a bevy of new characters in Season 2. The series, which is expected to return later this spring on HBO Max (premiere date still TBD), has added Laurie Metcalf, Martha Kelly and Ming-Na Wen as recurring guest stars this season. Also appearing as a guest star: Comedian Margaret Cho.

HBO is mum on whether Cho (“The Flight Attendant,” “Fire Island,” “Good on Paper”) will play herself as a fellow comedian, or another character on the show. The streamer also kept quiet on character descriptions for Metcalf (“Lady Bird,” “The Conners”), Kelly (“Euphoria,” “Baskets”) and Wen (“The Book of Boba Fett,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”)

Season 2 picks up right where last season left off, as legendary Las Vegas comedian Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) and her young, entitled writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder) travel across the country workshopping Deborah’s new deeply personal stand-up act.

Returning with Emmy winner Smart are Einbinder, Carl Clemons-Hopkins and Jane Adams, all nominated for Emmys for season one. Christopher McDonald, Kaitlin Olson, Paul W. Downs, Poppy Liu, Rose Abdoo, Mark Indelicato, Meg Stalter, Angela E. Gibbs, Luenell, Johnny Sibilly, Joe Mande, Ally Maki and Lorenza Izzo also star in Season 2. As previously reported, other guest stars this season include Vegas icon Wayne Newton.

Production is currently underway for the second season of “Hacks,” which is created and showrun by Emmy winners Paul W. Downs, Lucia Aniello and Jen Statsky. Downs and Aniello EP via their Paulilu banner, Statsky via First Thought Productions, as well as Michael Schur via Fremulon, David Miner for 3 Arts Entertainment and Morgan Sackett. Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, is the studio.

While in the middle of shooting, Downs, Aniello and Statsky took a moment out of their busy schedule to talk to Variety about Season 2 and also accept the inaugural Variety Showrunner Award at the SCAD TV Fest. Watch that interview here.

“What we were most interested in exploring was what it’s like for someone like [Deborah] to keep bombing,” Downs said of one of Season 2’s themes. “It might be something novel and might be something exciting in the beginning, but someone like her who has fans that come to see her, and sells out a 2,000-seat theater in Vegas and crushes, what is it like when you’re on the road in small venues and not doing well? What does that do to your spirit, and what does that do to your relationship, and what does that do to your psyche?”

Viewers, meanwhile, are also bracing for the moment Deborah discovers a nasty email that Ava, in a momentary fit of anger, sent the comedian. “Ava could be in a bit of trouble when that surfaces,” Downs said.

Metcalf is represented by Scott Henderson at WME; Kelly by Brillstein Entertainment Partners, UTA and Morris Yorn; Wen by Link Entertainment and Innovative Artists; and Cho by Sarah J. Martin, Scott Henderson at WME, Heidy Vaquerano at Fox Rothschild LLP and Ken Phillips Publicity Group, Inc.