Lucia Aniello
Born1983 (age 38–39)
Alma materColumbia University
  • Film director
  • writer
  • producer
Years active2007–present
SpousePaul W. Downs

Lucia Aniello (born 1983) is an Italian-born[2] American director, writer, and producer best known for her work on Hacks, for which she won multiple Emmy Awards, and Broad City. She has directed and written episodes of both shows, as well as the miniseries Time Traveling Bong and the 2017 film Rough Night.

Early life

Aniello was born in Italy and grew up in Hadley, Massachusetts, where her parents owned Italian restaurants, before moving to New York City.[3][2] In 2004, she graduated from Columbia University, where she was a film and media studies major and studied with film critic Andrew Sarris.[4][5] She was in Sigma Delta Tau sorority. She also played varsity tennis for Columbia.[6]


Aniello is an alumna of the Upright Citizens Brigade, an improvisational and sketch comedy group founded in 1990 by a group of comedians including Amy Poehler who is an executive producer of Broad City.[7]

Aniello and Paul W. Downs met at a Upright Citizens Brigade Level One improvisational comedy class.[7] Aniello and Downs began working together on a series of digital shorts and improv.[7] They started their own website and comedy production company called Paulilu Productions. Together they have been writing, directing and acting in digital shorts since 2007. Some of their most well-known web series include The Diary of Zac Efron and The Real Housewives of South Boston.[3] She also co-wrote and directed the first commercial for "Dollar Shave Club".

Work on Broad City

Aniello also met Ilana Glazer of Broad City through the same Upright Citizens Brigade class where she met Downs. Aniello and Glazer were dressed nearly identically at the time of their first meeting, which they now think was a sign for their future work together. As Aniello and Downs began to make digital shorts and build the foundations of Paulilu, Glazer and Abbi Jacobson worked on the prototype of Broad City. The two comedic duos supported each other's work, occasionally acting in each other's shorts or directing them.[3]

When Broad City moved to television Glazer and Jacobson asked Aniello to direct the pilot and cast Downs as Trey, the trainer and boss of Jacobson's character on the show. After the pilot did well and the show was picked up by Comedy Central, they asked both Aniello and Downs to join the group of writers for the show.[8] While collectively, the group was relatively inexperienced and self-taught, they shared a passion for a feminist perspective on comedy and attribute their success to their collective vision. Broad City is widely known for its social commentary. The show is groundbreaking in how it breaks gender roles, positively portrays female sexuality and polyamory in hookup culture.[8]

Current work

Aniello also co-created Time Traveling Bong. Her interest in the subject began in college when she wrote a thesis on time-travel movies at Columbia University. The movie is a stoner film comedy about two cousins who acquire a bong that acts as a time traveling device. While the comedy is rather goofy, there is also a lot of underlying social commentary about how tough it was to be a minority throughout American history.[9]

Aniello directed and, with Downs, co-wrote the comedy Rough Night, which was released in June 2017. It stars Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Kravitz, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, Demi Moore, Ty Burrell and Colton Haynes.[10] During the time of the film's release, Aniello was the first woman to direct an R-rated comedy in nearly 20 years.[11]

In 2020, she directed and executive produced the Comedy Central series Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens as well as Netflix's Baby-Sitters Club.

She is currently co-showrunning and directing HBO Max’s Hacks. More recently, Aniello and Paul W. Downs signed a deal with Warner Bros. Television.[12]


Aniello has received recognition for her work, including “Best of NY Sketch,” in the 2010 New York Comedy Festival and a TONY's “Critic’s Pick.” Her work has been featured in the 2011 Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal.[13]

Personal life

Aniello resides in Los Angeles with her husband and comedic partner Paul W. Downs, with whom she co-wrote Rough Night.[14] They have a son, born in 2022.[1]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Hacks (as Executive Producer) Nominated [15]
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Hacks(Episode: "There Is No Line (Pilot)") Won [16]
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Hacks(Episode: "There Is No Line (Pilot)")
(Shared with Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky)
Won [17]
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directing - Comedy Series Hacks Won [18]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Hacks (as Executive Producer) Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Hacks(Episode: "There Will Be Blood") Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Hacks(Episode: "The One, The Only")
(Shared with Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky)


  1. ^ a b Holmes, Marie. "Jean Smart Dedicates Critics Choice Award To In-Labor 'Hacks' Director". Scary Mommy. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  2. ^ a b Zoladz, Lindsay (June 16, 2017). "Lucia Aniello's Broad Appeal". The Ringer. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Futterweit, Alexa. "Interview: Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs Talk Paulilu Comedy and the Hilarity of Hilary [sic] Clinton." Complex Magazine. Complex, 11 Aug. 2012. Web. 11 November 2016
  4. ^ "Take Five with Lucia Aniello '04". Columbia College Today. Retrieved August 7, 2020.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "DIRECTOR LUCIA ANIELLO CC'04 MAKES BIG-SCREEN DEBUT WITH "ROUGH NIGHT"". Columbia College. Retrieved August 7, 2020.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Strong Play of Mittal and Weintraub Insufficient in Tennis Loss". Columbia Daily Spectator. Retrieved 2020-08-08.
  7. ^ a b c UBC. "UCB Theatre." UCB Theatre. UBC, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.
  8. ^ a b Press, Joy. "The Secret Weapons of ‘Broad City’ Make Fine Art From Crude Humor." New York Times. New York Times, 12 Feb. 2016. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.
  9. ^ Handler, Rachel. "Time Traveling Bong's Ilana Glazer, Paul W. Downs, and Lucia Aniello on The First Time They Got High and Kidnapping Michael Jackson." MTV News. MTV, 19 Apr. 2016. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.
  10. ^ Berger, Laura. "Female Spin-Off of ’21 Jump Street’ in the Works." IndieWire. Penske Business Media, 30 Apr. 2015. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.
  11. ^ Keegan, Rebecca. "The Audacity of Rough Night, the First R-rated Studio Comedy Directed by a Woman in Nearly 20 Years". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  12. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (2021-08-30). "'Hacks' Co-Creators Lucia Aniello & Paul W. Downs Ink Overall Deal With Warner Bros. Television Group". Deadline. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  13. ^ Nester, Aaron. "Lucia Aniello." Earwolf. Earwolf, 2016. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.
  14. ^ Paulilu Productions. "About Paulilu." Paulilu. N.p., 2007. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.
  15. ^ "Hacks". Retrieved September 24, 2021.
  16. ^ "Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series - 2021". Emmys. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  17. ^ "Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series - 2021". Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  18. ^ "74th Annual DGA Awards Winners". Directors Guild of America. Retrieved August 15, 2022.
  19. ^ "Awards Nominees and Winners". Emmys. Retrieved August 15, 2022.