TheWrap-Up Podcast: ‘Hacks’ Co-Creator Paul W. Downs on Why Men Should Be More Empathetic to Women’s Stories

Episode 65: We also talk about Rebel Wilson, Hollywood’s latest gun violence pledge and more

This week on TheWrap-Up podcast, TheWrap founder and editor-in-chief Sharon Waxman talked to Paul W. Downs, co-creator, co-showrunner and co-star of HBO Max’s hit comedy “Hacks.”

They talked of course about the show’s Season 3 renewal — following the speculation that the Season 2 finale felt like a series finale — and about where things might be going in the future. But Downs also spoke at length about his experience as the only man in the show’s writers room and one of the few men in the primary cast, explaining that he thinks women’s stories are important because it can, or should, increase the empathy men have for women.

“I feel like when you’re writing, if you can be empathetic enough to step into someone’s shoes, you know, if you can try it on, I think that’s the goal. In not only writing the show, but making the show, watching the show,” Downs said.

“I think that’s why female stories are so important. Because I think it’s so much easier, for some reason, for women to relate to male stories, and watch male stories, than it is for men to watch female stories, which is too bad,” he continued. “And I think partly because there haven’t been as many of them as there are shows about straight white men. So, I hope that in watching shows like this, and having strong female characters, it increases empathy in viewers.”

Elsewhere in the episode, Waxman and guest co-host Adam Chitwood, TheWrap’s assistant managing editor of audience, talked about how Rebel Wilson was essentially forced out of the closet by an Australian journalist, Hollywood’s latest gun violence pledge, and the wave of executive departures at some of Hollywood’s biggest companies.

And finally, TheWrap’s box office reporter Jeremy Fuster stopped by to talk about the potentially huge June box office, fueled by “Jurassic World: Dominion” and “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Listen to this week’s “TheWrap-Up” podcast below:

“TheWrap-Up” won the Best Hard News Feature award from the L.A. Press Club in 2021 for the segment “The Complexities Black Journalists Face This Week Covering Protests.” It is hosted each week by TheWrap’s founder and editor-in-chief Sharon Waxman. She dives into the biggest headlines of the week in the world of movies, television, streaming and tech.