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After winning the award for best directing in a comedy series during Sunday night’s 2021 Emmy Awards, Hacks co-creator Lucia Aniello shared some more celebratory news.
“To Paul [W. Downs, fellow Hacks co-creator], I’m in love with you, which is why I married you last weekend,” she said as the crowd cheered. She also quipped that she’d recite her vows again but the teleprompter was stating that she needed to wrap it up. Minutes later, their star, Jean Smart, congratulated the couple on their nuptials and apologized for being unable to make the wedding while accepting the Emmy for actress in a comedy series.
Aniello and Downs created HBO Max’s Hacks with longtime friend and collaborator Jen Statsky. In addition to Aniello’s win for directing, the couple — who met more than a decade ago in an improv class at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre — took home a trophy for writing for a comedy series as well.
“I remember walking into class, super early and ready to go, thinking, ‘How do I get on a mainstage team? I must be on a marquee show tomorrow,'” Downs said of meeting his now-wife in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “And Lucia came in five minutes late, like, ‘What’s goin’ on?’ — so not nervous, so nonplussed. I was like, ‘Who is this girl?'”
The pair went on to have both a romantic and creative partnership, first creating short films and videos together and sharing duties as director, writer and performer. “We still feel the same excitement now as we did when we were starting out,” Aniello told THR. “It’s a little less sweaty — we’re not carrying our own equipment anymore. Our budget may be bigger, but it’s all the same feeling of excitement.”
Backstage in the Emmys press room, Downs also spoke about their recent nuptials: “It wasn’t as good as this. This is really very wild and very special. The wedding was beautiful, it was great, but this is really about the show, so I’d like to direct [questions] that way.” Meanwhile, Aniello shared that Statsky officiated, to which Statsky quipped, “I’m kinda like a priest now!”
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