The ‘Hacks’ Showrunners Think Comedy Is ‘Not Being Upheld as the Necessary, Important Thing That It Is’

The world is bleak and we could all use a laugh and yet, for some reason, the shows we classify as “comedies” these days — “The Bear”, “Ted Lasso”, and more recently, “Baby Reindeer” — all tend to deal in subject matters that don’t always give us the ha-ha’s we’ve come to expect from the genre. There are outliers however, such as “Abbott Elementary”, which, in a recent episode, managed to find the funny in the unfunny of one of the previous shows listed, as well as “Hacks”, whose delayed third season begins on May 2 and couldn’t be more needed.

Ahead of the Season 3 premiere, Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky spoke to The Hollywood Reporter to share their views on the lost art of comedy.

More from IndieWire

“To even be making a comedy today, we feel really lucky,” Statsky said. “For some reason, there seem to be fewer and fewer of them. Even anecdotally, a friend told me the other day that some young writers he knew ­— writers who are on staff at comedies — had their agents tell them, ‘You should really write a drama.’ Comedy is not being upheld as the necessary, important thing that it is. And this show, in many ways, is a love letter to making comedy and the bond people share when they laugh together.”

Echoing the sentiment, Aniello explained her belief that the lack of comedies based around humor comes from the lack of opportunities available to up-and-coming talent.

“Comedy Central doesn’t do any more original [scripted] content, but that was the place where a young writer, director, actor and stand-up would get their start,” she said. “That’s where you got your first paycheck. You figured it out, and then you went off to something else — like Jordan Peele going off to make all these amazing movies. That pipeline being closed is so bad for comedy.”

A lot of these changes have come about — as they always tend to — from advancements in technology causing massive changes to how the business side of the entertainment industry is run.

“In this merging of the creative business and tech, there are still so many things to work out,” Statsky said. “I believe there are great executives, and we have them on the show. They love storytelling and got into this business because they wanted to make good TV. But with the tech industry, there have been tremendous growing pains. So as difficult as it is for creators in this moment, I think it’s really difficult for executives who just want to be helping creatives and be at the whims of the computer.”

Best of IndieWire

Sign up for Indiewire's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.