Hannah Einbinder Feared That ‘Hacks’ Was Ending After That Season 2 Finale

Awards Circuit Podcast: Also on this episode, the Roundtable dissects the reality categories — including structured, unstructured and competition.


When Emmy-nominated “Hacks” star Hannah Einbinder first read the Season 2 finale of her hit HBO Max comedy, she was concerned. After a season of plenty of animosity between aging comedy legend Deborah Vance (played by Jean Smart), and Einbinder’s character, the young writer Ava, it seemed like the season ended with everything wrapped up neatly. A little too neatly, at first, for Einbinder.

“I was very scared. I thought that I was going to be fired,” she tells Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast. “I was going through all of the panicky fear things. It’s kind of insane in retrospect, but I think I was a little too close to the case. Like, it really, really, really upset me. I was crying for a couple hours.”

On this episode of the “Variety Awards Circuit Podcast,” we talk to Einbinder (Emmy nominated for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy) on how this year’s nomination and accolades feels different vs. last year, as well as what she hopes might come next for her character.

But first, our Awards Circuit Roundtable discusses the reality Emmy races, including structured, unstructured and competition reality. Listen below!

When Season 2 of “Hacks” picks up, Deborah and Ava seem to be in a good place. They’re ready to hit the road in Deborah’s luxurious tour bus as she tries out some new, personal material that the two of them have been working on .

But last season’s cliffhanger soon blows things a bit up, as Ava tells Dborah about a voice mail message she left for the writers of a TV show, who are looking to base a character after Deborah’s more diva-like antics. And Ava just makes things worse… while Deborah winds up suing Ava for a breach of confidentiality, even as they continue on the road.

Without giving too much away, things eventually work out…which had viewers wondering, where does the show go next? Turns out, it had Einbinder guessing too. She phoned series creators and executive producers Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky, who reassured her that there’s a plan for next season for both Deborah and Ava.

“I’m just hoping that they’re not apart for long,” Einbinder says. “I’m hoping that whatever that catalyst is that it comes in quick. But they haven’t really told me anything about the trajectory of the show going forward.

“I hope that [the characters] maintain sort of a respectful relationship, where [Ava] was able to understand the balance of making Deborah a part of her life and not her entire life. Hopefully they got some work to do. I love seeing the two of them at work, working on comedy. I hope there’s a lot more of that. And I hope they go back to Vegas a little more. I think there are so many amazing characters who who live in Vegas. It’s an interesting subculture, and just like a cool place to explore. So hopefully they go back to home base and get into some shenanigans there.”

As for Einbinder, she is taking this year to work on her standup (with an eye, perhaps for a special) and touring. But she’s also looking to develop some hobbies. “This is the first time in my life where I’m kind of taking time to slow down and hone and support other interests outside of performing,” she says. “Because for a long time, that’s been all I’ve done or thought about or cared about. And so now I’m sort of doing okay, I can investigate having a life.”

Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast, produced by Michael Schneider, is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in film and television. Each week “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top film and TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post weekly.