As her Hacks character knows all too well, the path to the top of the comedy mountain is a winding and treacherous one, so Hannah Einbinder seemed to take it in stride that Late Show host Stephen Colbert didn’t remember her. Even though the actress, writer, and stand-up comedian had done a set on The Late Show. Ouch. And while her acerbic aspiring comedy writer Ava Daniels on Hacks might have made some potentially self-destructive hay out of Colbert’s perceived act of erasure, Einbinder merely used the opportunity to angle for some free footwear.
Now, to be fair to Colbert, Einbinder’s Late Show debut had a couple of things working against it, memorability-wise. For one, Einbinder’s March 2020 big break came immediately before the entire world shut down because of that whole pandemic that’s decided to make a big summer 2021 comeback. For another, Colbert never actually saw the pre-Hacks Einbinder perform live, since her set was pre-taped while Colbert was, one can only assume, taking a meeting about whether or not his NYC-filmed show was shutting down entirely for the foreseeable future. (As it turns out, Colbert was just about to launch late-night’s first(?) socially distanced at-home bathtub monologue.)
Still, though. As Einbinder (no doubt inured to the vagaries of show biz from mom and original SNL vet, Laraine Newman) told Colbert, it was still a magical night, especially once she got a load of the cool swag in her green room gift basket. It seems that comfy sock-wear is one of the ways Colbert gets his guests in the right mood to chat, with Einbinder deadpanning that it’s the perfect time for her (in-person, sure-to-be remembered) Late Show return, since those original, luxurious hose finally wore out. (Einbinder praised the supportive nature of the gift socks without making Colbert feel overly guilty for his own initial lack of support.)
With some suitably joshing reminiscences about working with her onscreen sparring partner and real-life acting idol Jean Smart on Hacks, Einbinder recalled how, after a kiss between her bisexual neophyte writer and Smart’s old school Vegas comedy trouper, the seen-it-all Smart delivered the perfect next-day one-liner at Einbinder’s expense. (To be fair, Einbinder confessed to trying to milk the stage kiss for all it was worth.) All in all, not a bad second appearance for the budding star, as a contrite Colbert not only brought out the bubbly to toast his Emmy-nominated guest’s success on the just-renewed HBO Max series, but had his staff hustle up a new pair of those truly comfortable-looking socks. Unlike her Hacks character, Einbinder’s learned not to burn your bridges, because, free socks.