Jean Smart is currently reigning as the darling of HBO! Not only is the tenured actress stealing audiences’ hearts as Helen Fahey, the charmingly acerbic mother of Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) on the platform’s limited crime series “Mare of Easttown,” but also as Deborah Vance, a popular comedienne known for both her sharp tongue and burning down her ex-husband’s home, on HBO Max’s new dark comedy “Hacks.”
The latter, which airs Thursdays on the streaming service, sees Vance faced with the threat of her Las Vegas residency dates being reduced and inadvertently partnering with an ingenue comedy writer, Ava (Hannah Einbinder, real-life daughter of original “Saturday Night Live” cast member Laraine Newman), whom she doesn’t exactly see eye to eye with. Created by “Broad City” alums Jen Statsky, Paul W. Downs and Lucia Aniello, the show is a tribute of sorts to female comedy stalwarts like Joan Rivers, Debbie Reynolds and Phyllis Diller.
Of the Sin City setting, Downs told TV Insider, “It’s a kind of place where people go to get lost and go to have a lot of fun, but when you’re sequestered there and you live there, [Deborah]’s kind of the queen of nowhere . . . Hopefully, it also echoes the themes of women who have been easily cast aside.” Indeed, the backdrop, though picturesque, is glaringly lonely.
While the cast and crew did make the trek out to Vegas for the filming of a few key scenes (including the segment when Vance commandeers a tour bus), the series was mainly shot in Los Angeles and its enivrons, with production designer Jonathan Carlos, art director James Bolenbaugh and set decorator Ellen Dorros seamlessly faking La La Land for the casino-laden desert burg.
Read on for a guide to the main locations featured on the comedy show.