How HBO’s hot new comedy took down the toxic man in ‘every single stand-up club’ – Gazettextra

#MeToo has rid Hollywood of many sexual predators and empowered women in the entertainment industry to speak out against assault and harassment of all kinds. But what about the women of earlier eras who managed to persist — and perhaps even thrive — in a toxic environment? Were they resilient survivors, complicit enablers or a little bit of both?

That’s the question at the core of “1.69 Million,” the eighth episode of the HBO Max series “Hacks.” The comedy, created by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky, explores the generational divide between two female comedians who have much to learn from each other: Deborah Vance (Jean Smart), a Las Vegas legend whose shtick has grown stale, and Ava (Hannah Einbinder), a down-on-her-luck 25-year-old comedy writer hired to help freshen the act.

They don’t just have contrasting opinions about what’s funny. As becomes clear in “1.69 Million,” they

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