Paul W. Downs and Lucia Aniello

“We’re always just trying to reflect life in a real way. If you look at three of our projects in a row — Broad City, Rough Night, and Hacks — tonally, they do feel the same to me. There is a lot of DNA there.

-Lucia Aniello, episode 370 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

Hacks co-creators Paul W. Downs and Lucia Aniello, who are also husband and wife, have been performing and writing together for over a decade. Today, we discuss the road to season three of their hit HBO series.

At the top, they unpack the makings of their creative partnership (8:20), how they chronicled the evolving state of comedy in Hacks (14:38), and Jerry Seinfeld’s recent comments about the medium (20:05). Then, we walk through Paul and Lucia’s origin stories (33:45), their meeting in an improv class at UCB (38:00), and the New York comedy pipeline they fell into with Broad City (46:59).

On the back-half, we talk about the making of their feature film debut Rough Night (49:35), the road trip where they first imagined the premise for Hacks (53:25), their guiding principle while creating the show (59:10), and their journey into parenthood (1:05:48). To close, a piece of advice on art-making today (1:11:30).

For questions, comments, or to join our mailing list, reach me at This conversation was recorded at Spotify Studios. Clips courtesy of HBO.