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10 Things You Didn't Know Inspired The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

- Amazon Prime's hit series,

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,

has delighted audiences with its glamorous set pieces,

stunning cinematography, and comedic monologues

that are as thought-provoking as they are hilarious.

- Like a Jewish Dorian Gray.

(audience laughs)

- The show explores the culture of Jewish comedy,

brilliantly showcasing the protagonist's journey

of self-actualization through the medium of stand-up.

Viewers have fallen in love with the familiar

yet fantastical world of the show,

but how much reality is behind this marvelous fantasy?

So, here are 10 facts behind the fiction

of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

First up is Midge Maisel herself.

Though Midge Maisel is a fictional character,

the actress who portrays her, Rachel Brosnahan,

has cited many remarkable, and real-Jewish comedians

as influences for the character.

one such inspiration is Jean Carroll who in the 50s and 60s,

established a powerful media presence

with her cutting and clever material.

Carroll was all over the late night scene,

appearing over twenty times on The Ed Sullivan Show,

and even briefly starring in her own sitcom.

Another influence for Midge's comedic style is Joan Rivers.

An iconic Emmy and Grammy award-winning comedian

who began performing in the late 1950s,

she became the first woman ever

to host a late night television talk show,

Late Night with Joan Rivers.

Ranked number six on Rolling Stone magazine's

top 50 best stand-up comics of all time,

Rivers was an edgy and provocative performer

whose irreverent, self-deprecating humor

earned her an induction

into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2017.

Other Jewish comic influences include Don Rickles,

Elaine May, and Phyllis Diller,

whose absurdist stylings seem to be an influence

for another character on the show; Sophie Lennon.

The show's creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino,

also cites her father, Dan Sherman,

as a major influence for Midge.

- So I had to turn a six foot two Bronx Jew

in to Rachel Brosnahan.

- However, despite these influences,

Brosnahan views Midge as a unique character,

saying, "I later learned that Midge is just Midge."

While Midge may be a composite of different comedians,

the character of her friend Lenny Bruce is based

on the real-life Lenny Bruce.

The portrayal of Bruce as a dark and cynical troublemaker

is true to his real-life exploits:

the foul-mouthed Jewish comic often found himself

on the wrong side of the law, even going

as far as being banned from England in 1963,

after a string of controversial performances.

Midge and Lenny's relationship

may also have some truth behind it,

mirroring the real-life friendship

between Bruce and Joan Rivers.

After Rivers bombed on stage one night,

Bruce gave her a handwritten note that said,

"you're right, they're wrong."

The gesture changed Rivers's life,

and she kept the advice close to her heart,

tucked in her bra, to be exact.

The locations of the show are

just as important as the characters,

and even the most outlandish setpieces

are actually based on some very real places.

Midge's first comedic outing is at the Gaslight Cafe,

a coffeehouse in Greenwich Village

that operated from 1958 to 1971.

The Gaslight was known as a venue for poetry readings

and folk music, with performances

from the likes of Alan Ginsburg and Bob Dylan.

Midge's journey takes her

to historic New York establishments like B. Altman,

a luxurious department store in Midtown Manhattan

and the iconic nightclub, The Copacabana,

an establishment with a rich history

of legendary performers including Marvin Gaye,

Sammy Davis Jr., and Barry Manilow.

In the second season, The Maisels and Weissmans embark

on a three-episode trip

to perhaps one of the most culturally important locales

in all of Jewish American culture: The Catskills!

- We're going to the Catskills!

- Every summer for nearly a century,

the gorgeous mountain range has played host

to millions of Jews, so it's no wonder

why the area has been nicknamed "The Borscht Belt"

after the classic Russian meal enjoyed

by generations of Ashkenazi Jews.

Jewish comedians often traveled across the Catskills,

headlining shows for packed ballrooms

at the many kosher resorts and developing a style of humor

which would come to be known as "Borscht Belt humor",

known for its self-deprecation,

references to marital bickering,

hypochondria, and Yiddish wordplay.

You can see the phenomenon for yourself

in Billy Crystal's hilarious film, Mr. Saturday Night,

in which the protagonist, Buddy Young Junior,

performs at such resorts, and even meets his future wife

in the process.

Talk about a classic Jewish story!

During her trip, Midge performs at the Concord Resort Hotel,

a lavish and sprawling kosher establishment

that was the largest resort in the region.

In season three, Midge takes a trip

to my hometown, Miami Beach,

another historic Jewish vacation spot and cultural center

which even today hosts thousands

of Jewish vacationers for the holidays.

The trip features the iconic Fontainebleau hotel

which during the Passover holidays is two thirds kosher!

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's tremendous commitment

to authenticity in this loving homage

to the culture of mid-Century Jewish comedy

exemplifies the Jewish value of connecting to our roots.

This fictional story of a Jewish housewife

who discovers her own power through the world of stand-up

pays tribute to the very real Jewish tradition

of exploring our past for inspiration and empowerment,

while most importantly, getting a good laugh in the process.

- My name is Mrs. Maisel.

Thank you and good night!

- Thanks for watching.

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