‘Hacks’ Team on Tackling Cancel Culture in Comedy & Deborah’s Triumph

TV Shows

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Hacks Season 3, Episode 8, “Yes, And.”]

Hacks addressed cancel culture in its latest Season 3 episode, “Yes, And” as Deborah (Jean Smart) visited a college campus alongside Ava (Hannah Einbhinder) at the same time as giving an interview to a high-profile journalist who could make or break her late night hosting dreams.

When clips of Deborah’s old comedy routines start going viral among the students though, she’s forced to confront the uglier parts of her old standup acts, agreeing to have an open dialogue with students who air their grievances. When it came to tackling the topic, Einbinder says, ” [Showrunners] Paul [W. Downs], Jen [Statsky], Lucia [Aniello], and I are always talking about comedy and the state of things and what we’re doing and how it relates to the world and our world specifically.”

Jean Smart in 'Hacks'


“We really are all on the same page in terms of where we stand on ‘cancel culture.’ So I think it was a logical thing for Deborah to have to confront it as her audience grows,” Einbinder continues, noting that with that growth comes a younger audience. “As it grows to people who are younger, she kind of steps into the limelight in a bigger way,” Einbinder says. “Obviously, she had success with people her age and around her age, but she would very understandably have to face the younger generation with her material that was abhorrent.”

In other words, Einbinder says, “It feels super logical,” that Deborah would have to face this kind of backlash.

Downs echoes her sentiment, “We don’t shy away from dealing with any issue because we always lead with comedy. As long as it’s funny we can kind of tackle anything.” The show has already addressed some other heavy topics this season whether it was DJ’s (Kaitlin Olson) recovery group or Ava and Deborah’s honest conversation about climate change.

“It’s most satisfying for us when the episode is about something, whether it’s climate change or it’s about addiction or it’s about the way in which comedy changes over time and might be less appropriate than it once was, as [it is in this episode],” Downs says. “But I think our North star is can we make it funny? If it can be funny and it does no harm and we’re not punching down, we feel like we can kind of tackle anything. And we want to do that because we want the show to stimulate conversation and thought and shift perspectives in the way that Deborah and Ava shift their perspectives.”

It was Deborah’s willingness to exchange ideas and listen to the students proves she is capable of adapting and changing her own perspective. And now that Deborah has supposedly landed the late-night hosting gig by the end of the episode, what other potential perspectives will be explored? Fans will have to wait and see as the finale episode arrives on May 30.

Hacks, Season 3, New Episodes, Thursdays, Max

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