Hannah Einbinder uses comedy as a coping mechanism in debut standup special

Einbinder is known for matching Jean Smart’s quick wit and comedic timing in “Hacks”

FILE - Hannah Einbinder attends the 17th annual Chanel Tribeca Festival Artists Dinner at The Odeon on Monday, June 10, 2024, in New York.
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

To rising comic Hannah Einbinder, her bits are for more than just laughs. She says her jokes are a coping mechanism she uses to process the tough topics she tackles in her material.

Einbinder, known for matching Jean Smart’s quick wit and comedic timing in “Hacks,” released her debut standup special on Max on Thursday to critical acclaim. Throughout her set, she takes on several difficult subjects, including sexual identity and climate change.

“Climate change is something that I think about every day when I look out the window at the Earth, before my eyes, so that is something that I definitely wanted to hit on,” Einbinder tells The Associated Press. “It’s just something that overwhelms my consciousness and so I write about it.”

Einbinder says she thinks about “pretty much everything through the lens of comedy,” adding that the habit is a “classic coping mechanism” or “survival instinct.”

The special, “Everything Must Go,” was the product of steady touring and workshopping bits as Einbinder took the show across the U.S. and abroad. She says audiences let her know “real quick” if a joke was flat and she constantly refined her comedic bits to figure out “what lines stick.”

“My jokes are very long,” she adds. “Each joke is very long, and they’ve been much longer. This is as short as I’ve made them — they’re very long and they’re still cut down. I write a lot and then I trim, but yeah, just keeping the stuff that feels high octane and that is good enough to stay in.”

In one memorable bit, Einbinder sings a Hebrew song to enhance a story, one she says is genuinely true. She said she knows the moment is unconventional for a standup special, but she enjoys leaning into that.

“That is a choice where I am choosing to build tension and then ultimately build it up to a point and build it up to a point — and then release that,” she said.

The “Hacks” star, who is the daughter of “Saturday Night Live” alum Laraine Newman and comedy writer Chad Einbinder, also said she’s not afraid to incorporate her more personal stories on stage because she’s “kind of an open book.”

“All comedians are presenting themselves exactly as they want to be seen, which, I think, is not always even a very vulnerable thing, actually,” she said. “It’s actually kind of like, ‘This is my version of me, this is the heightened version of me. This is the most packaged version of me with a bow.’”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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