'Hacks' Stars Megan Stalter and Paul W. Downs Have Hilarious Spinoff Idea (Exclusive)

Deborah Vance and Ava Daniels might be the main characters on HBO Max's Hacks, but Jimmy LuSaque and his assistant Kayla provide their own side-splitting dynamic. Jimmy is played by Hacks co-creator Paul W. Downs, while comedian Megan Stalter steals scenes as Kayla. In a new interview with PopCulture.com, the two joked about a potential spinoff idea featuring Kayla.

Hacks centers on the relationship between Las Vegas comedian Deborah (Jean Smart) and Ava (Hannah Einbinder), a Millennial comedy writer hired to freshen up Deborah's material. Jimmy brought the two together, but both clients provided him with plenty of headaches throughout Season 1. Kayla, his incompetent assistant whom he has to deal with because his father is his boss, makes his life a nightmare by putting him in compromising situations.

In Season 2, Jimmy has to help Deborah and Ava while they go on tour, which puts the two of them in places where you'd never expect to see them. Kayla isn't traveling with them, but Stalter suggested Kayla should go to Japan in a spinoff. "That's great. I love that," Downs agreed. Stalter added, "Yeah, I want to see her on a full vacation, but only for two days, and then she's back at work."

Kayla is usually terrible at her job, but there could be flashes of brilliance ahead for her in Season 2. She "really tries" to help Jimmy, Stalter said, but Kayla thinks of her job "more as a hobby." She does not need money or power, but "I think she's like, 'OK because I love Jimmy and I want him to be proud of me.'"

Downs has far more on his plate than just acting alongside Stalter. He created the series with his wife Broad City writer Lucia Aniello, and Parks and Recreation writer Jen Statsky. Downs also co-wrote and directed several episodes. "It just comes natural," Downs joked when asked how he juggles his multiple roles on the show.

"It can be hard, but I'm really lucky because not only did I create and write the show with Jen Statsky and Lucia Aniello, who are so brilliant and make me look so good, but also I have scene partners like Meg, who is so funny," Downs said. He is "surrounded by talented women," Downs continued. "It really makes my job a pleasure and easy. So yeah, I try not to think about time, and I have to say, acting is the most fun of the hats to wear. Meg and I have a lot of fun on set, sometimes too much."

Downs also loves working alongside Jean Smart, who won an Emmy for Hacks last year. HBO Max submitted the episode "1.69 Million," which Downs directed, to represent her work on the show. Acting alongside Smart is "the most fun," but writing for her is "such a pleasure" because Downs gets a chance to hear her perform a joke he wrote. "I really love directing Jean, too, because as a performer, I know what it's like to get direction," Downs added.


Hacks Season 2 also features several new cast members. Laurie Metcalf and Ming-Na Wen have key roles in the season. Viewers are used to seeing Metcalf be funny on Roseanne and The Conners. Wen usually doesn't star in comedies but "is so funny," Downs said. "It's [being] surrounded by amazing women that makes me look good," Downs said. "It's really, it's the secret. I've got to tell you, it's really the secret." Hacks Season 2 debuted on HBO Max Thursday.