Where You Know The Actors From

Here’s a guide to the cast of Hacks season 1, which characters they play, and what the actors are known for. Hacks is one of the best shows on HBO Max. The dark comedy is about Las Vegas diva and stand-up comedy legend Deborah Vance, played by Emmy-winner Jean Smart. The series is primarily supported by newcomers and a few popular comedic stars, which truly supports Hacks‘ comedy-world authenticity.

Hacks tells the tale of wildly successful and struggling female comedians, balancing the woes and triumphs of fame, ambition, career-oriented minds, and trying to find success in the business. Jean Smart steps into the long-overdue spotlight as the lead of her own show as Las Vegas comedy queen and entrepreneur Deborah Vance. When Hacks season 1 begins, Deborah finds herself in yet another battle to salvage her comedy empire when Marty (Christopher McDonald) — the sleazy owner of the casino where she headlines — wants her to start sharing her dates with younger acts like Pentatonix.

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This first season of the 2021 HBO Max original series primarily explores the relationship between the sharp-tongued, take no prisoners, comedy-pro Deborah and the 25-year-old acerbic and opinionated writer Ava, sent by their mutual agent in the last gasp attempt to save the latter’s career. Along with Deborah and Ava’s family members, comedy business agents and professions, and friends made along the way, Hacks is full of intriguing dramatic and comedic character dynamics. Here’s a breakdown of the cast and characters in Hacks season 1.


Jean Smart as Deborah Vance


No one has worked harder to achieve her success than the outspoken stand-up icon and QVC entrepreneur Deborah Vance, the undisputed Queen of Las Vegas. Smart, who won the 2021 Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance in Hacks, has also received critical acclaim for her award-worthy turns in Watchmen as Agent Laurie Blake, Fargo, and Mare of Easttown.

Hannah Einbinder as Ava


After an ill-timed joke on Twitter essentially destroyed 25-year-old writer Ava’s career, writing stand-up for Deborah Vance is Ava’s last chance. In addition to appearing in Hacks season 2, the American comedian, actor, writer Hannah Einbinder appeared in How To Be Broke and was named one of the up-and-coming comedians to watch in 2019 by Vulture Magazine. She is the daughter of comedy writer Chad Einbinder and original Saturday Night Live cast member Lorraine Newman.


Carl Clemmons-Hopkins as Marcus


Marcus is Deborah’s business manager/handler and one of the few people with whom she can be herself, who will certainly return for Hacks season 2. Fans of Clemmons-Hopkins will recognize him from his roles on Chicago Med, Chicago PD, and 2021’s Candyman movie.

Related: Candyman Cast & Character Guide

Hack’s Supporting Cast & Characters


Christopher McDonald as Marty: Marty is the sleazy businessman who owns the casino Palmetto. He often finds himself at odds with the casino’s star attraction, Deborah Vance. McDonald is a familiar character actor known for roles in such productions as Thelma and Louise, Happy GilmoreQuiz Show, and Ballers.


Rose Abdoo as Josefina: Deborah’s elegant Las Vegas mansion household is kept running smoothly by her long-suffering housekeeper Josefina. Abdoo’s previous television appearances include Gilmore GirlsUnited States of Al, the voice of Belva in The Great North, and in the Saved by the Bell reboot.

Kaitlin Olson as DJ: Being Deborah Vance’s daughter can’t be easy for the pill-addicted DJ. Olson is best known for her roles in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia as Dee Reynolds, The Mick as Mickey Molng, and Curb Your Enthusiasm as Cheryl’s sister Becky.

Paul W. Downs as Jimmy: Deborah and Ava are just two of Jimmy’s most difficult clients. Downs, recognizable from Broad City as fitness instructor Trey Pucker, is the writer and creator of Hacks in partnership with Lucia Aniello and Jen Statsky.


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Megan Stalter as Kayla: Jimmy the agent suffered at the hands of his inept assistant that he couldn’t fire because she was the bosses’ daughter. Stalter is the noted actress, writer, and star of The Megan Stalter Show, and has appeared on the National Lampoon Radio Hour.

Mark Indelicato as Damien: Deborah’s personal assistant. Indelicato is known for his roles as Justin Suarez on Ugly Betty and Jorge Diaz Jr. on With Love.

Poppy Liu as Kiki: Deborah Vance’s personal Las Vegas blackjack dealer who quickly forms a friendship with Ava. Liu’s notable acting credits include the iCarly revival series, Sunnyside, and Better Call Saul.

Johnny Sibilly as Wilson: The water maintenance manager who is repeatedly called to Deborah’s house, with his repeated visits in Hacks season 1 leading to a relationship with Marcus. Sibilly is best known for playing Costas on Pose, and is set to join the cast of the Queer as Folk reboot.

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Angela Elayne Gibbs as Robin: Marcus’s mother who has a very close relationship with her son. Aside from Hacks, Gibbs has appeared in shows like This Is Us, Black Jesus, On My Block, and The Fosters.

Lorenza Izzo as Ruby: Ava’s ex-girlfriend who she briefly reconnects with while back in Los Angeles. Izzo is known for playing Francesca Capucci in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Kylie in Aftershock, and Santa Muerte in Hulu’s Penny Dreadful: City of Angels.

Jane Adams as Nina: Ava’s scattered mother who struggles to accept the instability in Ava’s comedy-writer career. Jane Adams is an accomplished Tony-winning stage actress who has also appeared in TV shows and movies like Wonder BoysEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindFrasier, and the HBO series Hung. Adams was nominated for an Emmy Award in Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance in Hacks season 1.

Jeff Ward as George: A guy who Ava meets at the casino that she quickly bonds with for one adventurous night, only for their tryst to end in an extremely unexpected manner. Ward is known for playing Charles Manson in Manson’s Lost Girls and Deke Shaw in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


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Nina Tarr as Fabriziana: Ruby’s personal assistant. Tarr played Parody Wonder Woman in SuperHero Diaries and Veronika in Red Raincoats.

Louis Herthum as Dennis: Ava’s supportive and ill father. Herthum is known for playing Peter Abernathy in Westworld, JD in True Blood, and Sheriff Frank Briggs Sr. in Home Before Dark.

Jefferson Mays as T.L. Gurley: The antique dealer who refused to sell the pepper shaker to Deborah due to a grudge. Mays’ previous acting credits include Inherent Vice, Perry Mason, Law & Order: SVU, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

Danielle Schneider as Rina: Marty’s assistant. Schneider is known for her roles in Black Monday, The Hotwives of Las VegasPlayers, and Step Brothers.

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Lauren Weedman as Madam Mayor Pezzimenti: The mayor of Las Vegas who is a special guest at DJ’s birthday party. Weedman has also appeared in Date Night, The Five-Year Engagement, the hit sitcom Arrested Development, and HBO’s Hung.

Linda Purl as Kathy: Deborah’s estranged sister who she refuses to speak to. Purl is best known for playing Pam’s mom Helene on The Office, Sarah Novelli on First Monday, and Ashley Pfister on Happy Days.

Chris Geere and Kirby Howell-Baptiste as British TV Show Creators: The two TV show creators who appear in Hacks episode 9 to interview Ava for a writing job.

Paul Felder as Aidan: DJ’s mixed martial artist fiancée. Felder previously acted in Kaitlin Olson’s series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in the episode “Wolf Cola: A Public Relations Nightmare.”

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Amanda Payton as Jackie: DJ’s friend who hangs out at the bar with Ava. Payton is known for her roles in United States of Al, Trial & Error, and Code 404.

Jennifer Irwin as Barfly: One of DJ’s friends at the bar who talks about seeing Tobey Maguire. Irwin is also known for appearing in Schitt’s Creek as the sister of Catherine O’Hara’s Moira RoseEastbound & Down, and The Goldbergs.


Luenell as Miss Loretta: The best friend of Marcus’ mother who throws a party at Marcus’ house. Luenell is notable for her supporting roles in It’s Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaCalifornicationLopez, and Coming 2 America.

Kara Luiz as Katie: The Everyday Luxuries host whose show Deborah appears on as a guest to help sell foot spas. Luiz has also been in Mom Coms and Boss Cheer.

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Brent Sexton as Michael: Jimmy’s boss and Kayla’s father. Sexton is notable for his roles in The ExpanseDeadwoodBorsch, and The Killing.

Anna Maria Horsford as Francine: One of Deborah’s old friends who is also a veteran comedian. Horsford is best known for starring in NBC’s Amen, the WB’s The Wayans Bros., FX’s The Shield, and the Friday film series.

Nelson Franklin as Interviewer: The journalist who interviews Deborah about her career at her home. Franklin is known for his recurring comedic roles on VeepNew Girl as RobbyThe Office, and Black-ish.

Vinessa Vidotto as Ivy: Marty’s much-younger girlfriend. Vidotto has also been seen in FBI: International and Lucifer seasons 4 and 5.

Madeline Zima as Jules: One of Ava’s old friends from LA who avoids Ava when staying at the same hotel in Las Vegas. Zima is known for playing Jordan Alexis in Betas, Mia Lewis in Californication, and Gretchen in Heroes.

Olivia Boreham-Wing as Young Deborah: The younger stand-in for Deborah on the old tapes that Ava watches. Outside of Hacks, Boreham-Wing has starred in A Rainy Day in New YorkInvisible, and Orange is the New Black.

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