HBO Max and Universal Television took over the Avalon Hollywood on Friday for a star-studded table read of “Hacks” season two finale, “The One, The Only.”

As audience members entered the Avalon Hollywood, they were immediately immersed into the world of famous comedian Deborah Vance, played brilliantly by Emmy winner Jean Smart.  

Smart, who recently received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was in incredible form opposite her costars, including fellow Emmy nominated actress Hannah Einbinder, who plays Ava — Deborah’s protege / partner-in-crime for the last two seasons. 

The event took place the night before final voting commenced for the 2022 Emmy awards, with “Hacks” up for a phenomenal 17 Emmy nominations. 

The series was rewarded for its first season at last year’s virtual ceremony, bringing home Emmy wins for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Directing for a Comedy series, and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Jean Smart.

On the heels of their Emmy success, the creative team behind “Hacks” dove into season two with a mission to up the series’ stakes and scope while delving deeper into the humanity of these characters.

In a nod to the series, the event staff wore shirts from Deborah Vance’s “Trust the Process” tour. The table read opened with Showrunner, Executive Producer, and Writer JEN STATSKY introducing cast as follows:

Showrunner, EP, Writer, and Director LUCIA ANIELLO as Stage Direction Reader

Showrunner, EP, Writer PAUL W. DOWNS as Jimmy

JEAN SMART as Deborah Vance 



MING-NA WEN as Janet 

MARK INDELICATO as Damien as well asfilling in as Marcus (originally played by Carl Clemons-Hopkins)

JOHNNY SIBILLY as Wilson + filling in as Announcer + EMT

ANGELA E. GIBBS as Robin and filling in as Loretta (originally played by Luenell) + Taylor (originally played by Ally Maki)

JILLIAN BELL filling in as DJ (originally played by Kaitlin Olson) + Kayla (originally played by Megan Stalter)

Hacks writer and consulting producer CAROL LEIFER filling in as Elaine (originally played by Susie Essman)

CAITLIN REILLY as Jessica + filling in as AD + Usher

KARA LUIZ as Katie + filling in as Josefina (originally played by Rose Abdoo) + Scripty + Audience Member

Hacks writer and co-executive producerJOE MANDE filling in as Davis + Larry + James 

Hacks writer and co-executive producer ANDREW LAW filling in as Auctioneer

Courtesy of HBO Max and Universal Television / Photographed by David Jon

Of all the standout moments from the evening’s reading, the most poignant was the closing moments of season two between Ava (Einbinder) and Deborah (Smart), where Deborah fires her young protege in a surprise move out of love and mentorship. Deborah displays composure and grace while ending her professional relationship with her friend and collaborator in the attached video.