“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” puts spotlight on women in comedy

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Veronica Yaron

My entire life I have never been able to stand comedies; anything involving slapstick humor or something painfully embarrassing makes me cringe in my seat. For years, I avoided watching anything labeled funny, and it was only due to extreme procrastination that I originally started watching “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” on Amazon Prime.

For the first time in my life, a show had me howling, red-faced and near tears.

From the creator of “Gilmore Girls,” Amy Sherman-Palladino, comes the story of Miriam “Midge” Maisel, played by Rachel Brosnahan, a stereotypical 1950s Jewish housewife living in New York’s Upper West Side. Her life seems truly perfect: the perfect husband, the perfect children, an elegant apartment and she just got the Rabbi to come to Yom Kippur.

Midge goes out of her way to play the supportive wife to Joel (Michael Zegen), a businessman trying to make it as a comedian by playing shows in the hip Greenwich Village, shows that Midge helps him land.

Yet, her life falls apart when she realizes her husband is not the comedic genius she believed and has been stealing others’ work for years. After a particularly bad performance, Joel admits to her that he has been having an affair with his secretary and is leaving her.

Just like that, her perfect bubble is popped and she finds herself on stage drunk in her nightgown performing an outrageously vulgar and hilarious bit about being a spurned housewife. It is then that her life takes a turn for the better as she discovers her previously unknown talent of being a stand-up comedienne, taking the clubs of Greenwich Village by storm.

Even in 2017, women struggle to be seen as funny, but the upbeat drama fights back at the stereotype by producing the unfiltered and witty Midge. While she comfortably fits into the stereotype of a housewife, she also has quite the mouth on her that continuously delivers sharp one-liners and gets her arrested for obscenity.

The stark contrast between the bright glamour of the 1950s Upper West Side and gritty club life demonstrates Midge’s flexibility to work any crowd. Not only is the series genuinely funny, it is empowering to watch a woman get behind a mic and see her not just wow her on-screen crowd, but wow the real-life viewers as well.

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