Ever since the show came out back in 2017, there have been speculations that the show’s main character, Miriam “Midge” Maisel, is based on a real person.
‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ tells Midge’s story, a confident married woman who is the mother of two children and is living the perfect life. She supports her husband in his pursuit to become a comedian, even though she isn’t aware of how much he uses the world of comedy to escape his real life and is then left by him. Drunk and hurt, she finds herself in the Gaslight Bar, which is where her husband used to do his acts and bares her soul to the audience, catching the eye of a worker at the bar who convinces Midge to focus more on her stand up, giving Midge a new chance at life.
- Comediennes who loosely inspired characters from ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’
- Joan Rivers and Midge Maisel’s similarities and differences
- Did a man inspire midge Maisel?
Comediennes who loosely inspired characters from ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’
According to “The Showbiz CheatSheet”, Midge Maisel is not a true story but is loosely inspired by Joan Rivers. The actress who played Midge’s booking agent was inspired by Sue Mengers, who was a talent agent in that period.
Another character, Sophie Lennon, was a little inspired by Phyllis Diller to approach her act by making herself less attractive to the audience. Many of the show’s characters drew their personalities or quirks from real-life people to better embody women from that era in the comedy industry.
Joan Rivers and Midge Maisel’s similarities and differences
“The Showbiz CheatSheet” mentions some similarities between Joan and Midge, starting with their religion and origin. They are both Jewish and were born and raised in New York. They both began to experiment with comedy in the 1950s, and they both performed at the Gaslight Café.
Their differences revolve more around their personal life and behaviours. Joan was single when she first started her career, while Midge had just been left by her husband and had to worry about two children. Joan was less confident than Midge. Joan seemed to struggle to find her place in this world, but Midge was always confident. As soon as you start watching the pilot, Midge’s confidence hits you in the face.
She is at her wedding and says, “Who gives a toast at their own wedding?” and proceeds to give the audience, the viewers as well as the guests to her wedding, a recap of what she, her family, and her husband are like without looking uncomfortable or giving off a single nervous tick.
Did a man inspire Midge Maisel?
According to an article from “Women’s Health”, in which ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s’ Amy Sherman-Palladino is interviewed, Mrs. Maisel is based on a real person, but that person was not a comedienne. There is the awareness that Midge Maisel has been compared to other comediennes, notably Joan Rivers, but Amy states that Midge is based on her father, Don Sherman.
The character of Midge is based on stories Don Sherman told his daughter. Don Sherman was a comedian in New York in the 1950s. In those days, the clubs didn’t pay the comedians, but someone would pass a basket among the audience to entice them to fill it with money. Sounds familiar … In the pilot episode, Midge mentions this when her mother asks if Joel is being paid as a comedian. Don Sherman also showed his daughter the “psychology of being a comic“, “what it means to try to be funny“, and “how hard it is to turn it off“. A lot of Midge’s character is Don, and some other aspects are inspired by comics that Amy and her husband have known for a long time.
While these other female comics are a small part of Midge, they don’t encompass her character entirely, and that is what makes her so unique.