What’s something that you think people will appreciate about the show Hacks?
Paul and Lucia and Jen have talked about how so many of these insanely talented female comedians never quite got the same due as their male counterparts. And I think, using Joan Rivers as a template to start from, in terms of building Deborah Vance, which is Jean Smart’s character, I think for them, it was really awesome to be able to depict this woman who’s been doing it forever, who’s a dope comedian, who’s a really clearly trailblazing entertainer. She’s kind of been cast to the side because she’s an older woman, which the entertainment industry has never smiled very kindly on.
So it was so cool to see Jean, who also… I’m not telling any tales out of school, but Jean Smart is a national treasure, so to get to give her that platform of really… And exercising all of the muscles that she can where she’s hilarious, and she’s so sad and tortured, and very angry and embittered, but it all comes from a place of self-loathing. I mean, it just is such an interesting and wonderful portrait of this woman. And then I think Hannah Einbinder, who does such a great job as Ava, kind of being her millennial counterpart, I think the show is a delightful representation of that kind of buddy comedy. While also celebrating the women behind the scenes and literally in the spotlight, in a way that I can’t think of another show that’s quite done what Hacks did in that way.
Thinking about Hacks or PEN15, what’s something that you’ve taken away from working in these years? Whether it’s your actual role or just working alongside some of your castmates, what comes to mind?
Maya and Anna and I went to college together so we have been friends since we were 19. It’s been 15 years of kind of grinding together and we all moved to California at the same time. And Anna started dating my best friend who is also a really brilliant writer and so we have all… When I was on the PEN15 set doing scenes with them, that was a really special moment. We have a couple of pictures that the three of us have kind of always dreamed of getting, the ability to work together in that way. And for them to be celebrated to the point they have been, where they’ve been nominated for an Emmy, and I think have genuinely created the best comedy on television. It’s been so fun to watch not only my friends be so successful, but do the work that I always knew that they were capable of doing.
At the same level… They were that brilliant when they were 19, nothing changed, you know what I mean? So to then not only get to see it successful in the world and also that upper echelon of really getting recognized by their peers and by the industry in getting nominated, that is like, I’m so proud of them and being in that, it was so fantastic. To a degree, I haven’t known them as long, but I’m also really good friends with Paul and Lucia and Jen, and watching everything that’s happened with Hacks. I mean, both those shows, I’ve been cheering them on because I love the people involved, and I think that they’re incredibly talented and incredibly funny, and really intelligent storytellers. So to watch both of those shows take over the comedy landscape over the last year has been thrilling because I got to be a little part of it. But also because I love them and most of all, because they deserve it.
This well-versed and experienced actor has all the right attributes to make him a bigger star than what he already is. With the diversity of his resume and his ability to morph into so many different characters, we cannot wait to see what his future holds for him.