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    Is ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Based On A True Story? Who Is The Inspiration Behind Midge?

    As one woman’s life unravels, she discovers her voice as a rising stand-up comic in 1950s New York. Such is the story of Midge Maisel, played by Rachel Brosnan. With ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,’ Amy Sherman-Palladino has created a character that is decades removed yet feels timeless. 

    With the show in its final season, we are looking at the real-life inspirations that gave it lifeblood. After all, all great works of fiction draw from a remembered or a passing experience. The show, which often blends fantasy with reality, has not one but two real-life inspirations.

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    ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Is Based On Amy Sherman-Palladino’s Father, Don Palladino

    The protagonist of 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' is based on Amy Sherman-Palladino's father
    The protagonist of ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel‘ is based on Amy Sherman-Palladino’s father.

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is based on creator Amy Sherman Pallodino’s father’s life as an artist in New York. She told Women’s Health that her father was a stand-up comedian and could provide insights and stories that went into making the show. She remembers her father being surrounded by his “cronies” and how they would talk about the good old days.

    Comedians would open for jazz singers. Amy’s dad opened for the singer Dinah Washington. He opened for Johnny Mathis. He opened for a lot of musical entertainers. Through his experience, we got to know the highs and lows of a working comic. And we certainly got to know [it] up close—like, Amy grew up with it—but I got to see it from a more objective place,” said Amy about the working life of comedians back in the days.

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    ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Takes Cues From The Life Of Joan Rivers

    Joan Rivers performing stand-up
    Joan Rivers performing stand-up

    The character of Midge Maisel shares similarities to legendary female comedian Joan Rivers. Like Joan, she is a Jewish New Yorker who pursues stand-up comedy as a middle-aged divorcee. Another thread that binds them is their performance at the real-life Gaslight Café.

    Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby) takes Midge under her wing and mentors her in a predominately male industry. He’s a grand champion of Midge, even going as far as making calls for her when things seem downbeat. Joan Rivers also credited the real-life comic for his honest and encouraging words that changed her life.

    Amy Sherman-Palladino talked to Vanity Fair about her admiration for the trailblazing female comic, saying, “I’m a massive Joan Rivers fan; the world is sadder without her, and will always be sadder without her. And she had that wonderful mix, that battle of wanting to be accepted on a feminine level – [but] you can’t have that many balls and be accepted on a feminine level. It just doesn’t work that way.”

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    Shaurya Thakur
    Shaurya Thakur
    Shaurya Thakur is a Content Writer at First Curiosity, who, in his personal time, is writing the greatest "overcoming post-academic slump existential crises" story. His current obsessions are John Cassavetes and Jack Kerouac; musically, he belongs to Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand.

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