HBO Max is going back to Las Vegas. Hacks, the streamer’s breakout comedy about the dark mentorship between two comedians, has been picked up for a second season. Now, with the show off the air since last summer, fans have burning questions what to expect from Season Two—and when to expect it. We’re rounding up everything we know so far.
Hacks stars the inimitable Jean Smart as Deborah Vance, a onetime pioneering female comedian who has settled into the comfort and complacency of a cushy Las Vegas residency. Hannah Einbinder stars opposite Smart as Ava, an outcast 25-year-old comedy writer from Los Angeles. When Deborah stands to lose her residency and Ava’s writing career is on life support, their shared manager (Paul W. Downs) teams them up to revitalize Deborah’s material. Punctuated by caustic barbs and generational conflict, Deborah and Ava’s animosity softens into a growing friendship, as they each realize that the divide between women of different generations isn’t as wide as they think.
“We have been blown away by the positive reception to Hacks—we owe this renewal to every single person who tuned into the show and then told a friend to watch,” said series creators Downs, Lucia Aniello, and Jen Statsky, when news of the renewal broke last summer. “We are so grateful we get to continue, and want to thank our partners at HBO Max and Universal Television for supporting the show so fiercely, and our wonderful cast and crew for delivering on every level. Many years ago, we set out to tell a deeply important story that needed to be told—that of a handsome, charming talent manager and his two demanding female clients. We’re so glad that story resonated with audiences, and we can’t wait to get to work on season two. See you soon.”
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The performers are excited to return, too—just ask Smart, who responded to the news with a Deborah Vance-style zinger. “I am absolutely thrilled we are picked up for a second season,” Smart said in a press release. “I told Hannah it’s no more Miss Nice Guy; from now on it’s Bette and Joan. And guess who’s BETTE??!!’”
The entire core cast is returning, along with four veteran actresses joining the fray: Laurie Metcalf, Martha Kelly, Ming-Na Wen, and Margaret Cho. Though no details have been announced about the characters these actresses will play, we’re guessing Ava and Deborah will meet them on the road, judging by what we know about the plot of Season Two. In a first look preview at EW, Downs reveals a roadmap for the season, saying, “We start the season with [Deborah] really needing to get another residency, but in order to do that she has to get this new act in shape. She has to create a new hour, and she has to make it so undeniable that she’ll be able to cement a new place for herself in Las Vegas… Everybody’s coming together to figure out how to make that possible in a short amount of time.” This means getting Deborah out of her “castle in Vegas” and into the “very tight, confined space” of her tour bus. According to Statsky, we can expect a “fun new dynamic” as Deborah and her entourage travel to the East Coast and back.
But the road trip may not be all fun and games, because we haven’t seen the last of Ava’s Season One meltdown. Remember when Ava sent a damning email about the horrors of working for Deborah, prior to their reconciliation? It won’t go away easily. “The first three episodes are really Ava having a private experience,” Einbinder teases. “She’s so worried about this email—and wherever she is, she is kind of somewhere else. She’s trapped in her head and in her fear.”
Fallout is coming for other characters, too. In an interview with Esquire, Downs teased the consequences from the Season One sexual harassment caper between his character, the beleaguered manager Jimmy, and Meg Stalter’s character, the haphazard assistant Kayla. “There is absolutely going to be fallout,” Downs said. “We’re going to deal with Barbara from HR.” EW‘s first look photos show Jimmy and Kayla sitting in front of Barbara’s desk, looking frightened and chastened. “The ‘will-they-won’t-they have her continue to work on Jimmy’s desk’ [answer] hangs in the balance,” Downs told EW.
Wondering when can we expect to have Hacks back in our lives? There’s no word yet on a release date, but here’s hoping Deborah is back to taking down toxic men in comedy clubs at her earliest convenience. Watch this space for updates as we continue to learn more.
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