We were joined on the Popternative show by Hacks co-creator, co-showrunner, and star Paul W. Downs to discuss the third season of the Emmy-winning Max comedy drama series. Season 3 wrapped up on May 30th with the final episode of the season and was recently renewed by Max for a fourth season.

Season 3 returning cast members also include Emmy, SAG Award, and Critics Choice Award winner Jean Smart and Emmy, SAG Award, and Critics Choice Award nominee Hannah Einbinder alongside Megan Stalter, Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Kaitlin Olson, Christopher McDonald, Mark Indelicato, Rose Abdoo, and Lorenza Izzo. The latest season also introduced guest stars Helen Hunt, Christina Hendricks, Christopher Lloyd, Dan Bucatinsky, George Wallace, and Tony Goldwyn.

Season 3 picks up a year after their parting where Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) is riding high off the success of her standup special while Ava (Hannah Einbinder) pursues new opportunities back in Los Angeles.

On returning to play Jimmy and write the series for a third season, Paul says, “It was the most rewarding season because we know the characters now, we’ve lived with them for two seasons and we felt so lucky to be doing a third, and it [also meant] because we established so much of the ground work and rules of the world, that we were able to get to show different gears from everybody. You see Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder really stretch and show different gears, and for myself and Megan Stalter who plays Kalyla, we also get to see different sides of our characters, so I found it very rewarding.”

(L-R): Megan Stalter as Kayla and Paul W. Downs as Jimmy in Hacks, episode 302. Photo by: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/Max

When discussing the relatable and raw aspects of Hacks that blends comedy with some deeper stories, Paul explains, “We really want it to always feel cohesive and that it would exist in the world […] It’s the stuff that I like to watch the most, the stuff that’s laugh out loud funny, but also has touching moments, has heartfelt moments. Those are my favorite shows and movies to watch.”

“Because I write the show but I’m also an actor on the show, it means I live with the story for a lot longer. And I’m also then in the edit [process] with my co-showrunners and I feel very lucky to be able to do that because I get to uncover things about the characters and I get to prepare for so long, I feel like I am able to surprise myself and find things over the course of that journey. It feels honestly like a big marathon each season,” says Paul on having multiple roles with the series.

Watch the full conversation with Paul below.

Seasons 1-3 of Hacks are streaming on Max.


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