Hannah Einbinder gets candid about her career as a bisexual comedian and discusses her “Hacks” character Ava during the latest episode of the “Just for Variety” podcast.
Einbinder was “so relieved” to see Ava as a queer character “because it was the first bi woman I had ever had an audition for,” she shared while recalling the “bizarre” audition process that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She explained that it took about two months for her to do a call back over Zoom, shortly after the initial COVID lockdown hit in March 2020.
Eventually Einbinder was called into “a completely empty soundstage, dark with no lights and just two interrogation lamps and two chairs” for an in-person chemistry read with co-star Jean Smart. The actors had to sit 10 feet apart with “a sheet of clear plexiglass between them.” The actress noted that COVID sets are all she’s ever known because she hasn’t “really worked in this side of the business until now.”
Commenting on her character Ava, Einbinder shared that the biggest change she saw in her from season 1 to season 2 is that “she gets past a lot of the initial growing pains and mistakes”, getting her act “together a little bit.”
The comedian went on to reveal that she’s been hooked to stand-up comedy ever since her first live stand-up show, which saw her open up for Nicole Byer at a theatre full of her college peers. She recalled thinking, “Oh my God, I love Nicole Byer. I can’t believe she’s letting me do this.”
Einbinder explained that being a comedian “doesn’t always matter if you’re funny,” something that her mother, who is “Saturday Night Live” legend Laraine Newman, taught her.
“There’s a lot of factors that go into someone being able to make a living in this business,” she said of the “real tea” and “realistic feedback” her mom gave her growing up.
Einbinder, a proud bisexual, shared that she’s “really lucky” to have had a “charmed and privileged experience” owning her sexuality publicly throughout her career.
Although she hasn’t been scrutinized personally, she notes that “people who are in super mainstream positions, like Kristen Stewart” experience greater “pressure to have mass appeal.”
“I was lucky to start on a show where my character is queer and I’m working with artists and women and people who are embracing that,” Einbinder told Variety‘s Marc Malkin.
The comedian, who has talked about being bisexual in her stand-ups since the beginning, revealed that she’s had some judgemental experiences at shows from “mostly men being disgusting.”
“That [being a bisexual comedian] has created a thicker skin for me. I’m very sensitive — a delicate flower — and I’m still that way, but stand-up has given me coping tools to deal with the outside,” she shared.