Hannah Einbinder Knows She’s ‘Not Totally Conventional’ in ‘Everything Must Go’ Stand-Up Special

The “Hacks” star tells TheWrap how her Max debut is “the cumulative effect of all of my years as a comic”

Hannah Einbinder
Hannah Einbinder in "Everything Must Go" (Photo Credit: Max)

There’s a reason why Hannah Einbinder looks so confident in her debut stand-up special, “Everything Must Go.” The comedian has been working on the jokes since “2017 or 2018.”

“It really is the cumulative effect of all of my years as a comic,” Einbinder told TheWrap.

The Max special shows audiences exactly why the “Hacks” star has been appearing on “comics to watch” lists and comedy showcases since 2019.

There’s no clear comedic comparison to what Einbinder does in “Everything Must Go.” One moment, she leans into a round of tried-and-true dating jokes, only to subvert them at the last minute (as a bisexual woman, Einbinder has dubbed men “idiots” and women “annoying”). The next, she pretends to be the moon, making use of the thick red curtain most other performers would ignore. Still, the next, she’s reciting a scientific journal from memory for a series of gendered tree jokes.

Specifically, that “Scientific American” article is “Botanical Sexism Cultivates Homegrown Allergies.”

“I remember reading a line about the pollen count and the ways that trees are releasing pollen,” Einbinder recalled. “A lot of those lines are from the article when I’m talking about various points of data. I just find it funny. I read the article, and my brain started firing on it.”

That’s the joy of Einbinder’s new special. You never know where the comedian is going to go or what to expect from her punchlines, but you always know that the journey will be interesting, well-researched and delightfully bizarre.

This is your debut special. When you were thinking about this years ago, did you have a certain plan or vision for how you wanted this to look?

HE: The idea going in was for it to feel filmic, for it to feel visually non-traditional, as far as stand-up specials go. Drawing inspiration from French New Wave, from David Lynch, from “A Star Is Born” — the Barbra Streisand version — and various films that feature performers, that was kind of the idea.

Hannah Einbinder
Hannah Einbinder in “Everything Must Go” (Photo Credit: Max)

A lot of your setups in the special are long. You’re quoting articles and reciting data. How much practice do you have to do to get those very lengthy setups just right?

It does require memorization. I have to do a certain amount of prep before I even go up to try it the first time. I’m not really the type of comedian that can just go up on stage and be like, “Oh, yeah, this is my vague idea. I’ll explore it.” I do a lot of preparation and isolation first. That is certainly distinct to my style. It’s funny, I’ve been doing press, and they’re like, “Can we clip 30 seconds?” And I’m like, “Honey, there ain’t no 30 seconds in this s–t, OK? It’s f–king 15 minutes per joke.” Like, I’m slow and long-winded and it’s very dense. And so it is not totally conventional, but it’s my style.

What’s one of your favorite pieces of comedy? It could be anything from a stand-up special to a sketch or a movie scene.

Oh, my God, that’s so hard. I’ve gotta sound super interesting here. Gotta be niche. Probably “The Mighty Boosh,” which is a wonderful character-driven sketch show.

What’s been your favorite career moment so far?

[“Everything Must Go”] is like the craziest thing ever. Getting to make this is completely such a dream.

What comedians have been impressing you lately?

One of my favorite comedians, who I came up with and who is known for his work on “SNL,” is Michael Longfellow. I think he is the most brilliant, succinct, distinct comedic voice that I’m aware of. He is so original and so funny and whipsmart, and I look forward to seeing his special.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Hannah Einbinder’s “Everything Must Go” is now streaming on Max.

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