how RACHEL BROSNAHAN became tv’s hottest property
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, and the best of the streaming shows
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel Genre: Comedy Available: Wednesday 5 Dec Season: 2 Episodes: 10 Runs: 50min (approx) TVSW says: An intelligent comedy with heart
RACHEL BROSNAHAN WAS worried when she was cast in the first series of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Amazon Prime Video’s comedy about a 1950s American housewife who becomes a stand-up comedian.
Although the 27-year-old actress had plenty of TV experience, including a stint as ill-fated call girl Rachel Posner in House of Cards, she had never done comedy before – and certainly not stand-up.
‘I was so terrified doing my audition that I think I blacked out for the whole process, and I haven’t stopped being terrified,’ she laughs. ‘But I was searching for something that felt scary to me, and the comedy world was unfamiliar.’
To research her role as title character Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel, Brosnahan immersed herself in the work of Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller and attended open-mic nights.
‘It was fun to dive in,’ she says. ‘Midge is based on a lot of female comics, but also she’s inspired by a few women that I have loved, including my grandmother, who was bold and brilliant.’
Brosnahan’s research paid off handsomely when the first series won eight Emmys, including Outstanding
Comedy Actress for
Brosnahan, who also picked up a Golden Globe.
The first season saw
New York mother-of-two
Midge turn to stand-up after her husband, Joel
(Michael Zegen), left her for his dim-witted secretary.
After getting drunk in their local comedy club and doing an impromptu routine based around her unhappy marriage, Midge set out on an unlikely career, assisted by her novice manager, Susie (Alex Borstein).
As the show returns for season two, Chuck’s Zachary Levi joins the cast as a doctor, while Midge is trying to balance life as a mother and a stand-up as she begins to get bookings at bigger venues.
‘She’s got a new level of confidence and she’s excited,’ says Brosnahan. ‘But there is a ripple effect and this season explores how her family and friends are affected by this change in her life.’
Brosnahan reveals she shares some similarities with Mrs Maisel.
‘I think we are both ambitious, we are both resilient, and we both see the glass half full,’ she says.
‘But I’m not as confident as Midge, particularly when it comes to work.
‘She enters into this whole new field that she has no experience in at all, and genuinely believes that she can take it by storm. She never doubts it for a single second.’
RACHEL BROSNAHAN AS MIDGE MAISEL