Jean Smart’s appearance as the iconic stand-up comic on HBO Max’s “Hacks” made him one of the best television characters of 2021. This opinion was widely shared by the television academy voters, who saw the actress in prime time on Sunday night Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Smart competed with Aidy Byrant (“Shrill”), Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”), Allison Janney (“Mom”) and Tracee Ellis Ross (” Black-ish “) for the Emmy.

HBO Max’s recap for” Hacks “reads:” Hacks “investigates” a dark mentorship between Deborah Vance (Smart), a legendary comedian from Las Vegas, and a titled outsider, 25-year-old (Hannah Einbinder) “forms. The series received strong reviews after its premiere in May, and HBO Max extended the show for a second season.

Smart’s appearance on “Hacks” received widespread critical acclaim. IndieWire’s Ben Travers praised her work on “Hacks,” arguing that it was the best part of the show in his A-rating of the show back in May.

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“Of course it doesn’t hurt that Smart is on all the time. Anyone who loves her great prop work and prickly replies on HBO’s “Mare of Easttown” will be in seventh heaven to watch her go through the gamut on “Hacks,” “Travers said in his review . “Her linework, physical comedy, and character work are unmatched as she easily slips into the cadence and command of a comedian who hasn’t had a day, hour, or minute off in the past four decades. Smart is such a believable stand-up that I would put her on a late night show right away if I could, but it’s her moments offstage that really stand out. Her patient, omniscient, and largely calm approach to motherhood (Kaitlin Olson is perfectly cast as her spoiled, jewelry-making daughter) is not without Deborah’s snappy wit when pushed and the manner in which she is smart at processing of information taking an extra beat (like learning Wikifeet or what a diva mug is) allows her to separate each glorious response so the audience can enjoy every beat. ”

The 73rd Primetime Emmys were held on Aired on Sunday 19 September at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. The three-hour event was moderated by Cedric the Entertainer and is available for streaming on Paramount for the first time. Follow IndieWire on Twitter and Facebook for the latest Emmys news, including live updates, during the virtual awards ceremony on Sunday night.

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