Is Miriam 'Midge' Maisel A Real Person? The 'Marvelous' Amazon Comedy Draws Inspiration From Real-Life Comics


Television in the streaming era has finally begun to start placing oppressed and minority voices at the center of their own stories — women and people of color are slowly but surely carving out a place for themselves in mainstream television. Amazon's newest series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, features a Jewish woman, Miriam "Midge" Maisel, who, after her marriage falls apart, discovers that she has a profound talent for stand-up comedy. But since the show is a period piece taking place in 1950s New York City, you may be wondering: Is Midge Maisel a real person?

Though the character of Midge is a fiction that sprung from the brain of Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, she is planted firmly in the tradition of some female comedy legends: mainly, the late Joan Rivers. In preparation for her role as Midge Maisel, actor Rachel Brosnahan told Vanity Fair that she watched documentaries about the life of Rivers. But though Rivers served as an inspiration for Brosnahan, she also shared with Vanity Fair that the lives of the legendary comedian and Midge were far from identical:


Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, who brings her legendary fast-paced dialogue to her new show, also cited Joan Rivers as an influence for Midge's character. She shared with Vanity Fair how Rivers' particular sense of humor often alienated her from fitting into traditionally "feminine" circles:

But Sherman-Palladino also drew from her personal experiences when crafting Midge's character. She told Vanity Fair that stand-up comedy has always been a part of her life:

Sherman-Palladino has brought the kind of female-centric touch that made Gilmore Girls so famous to standup comedy, as Midge struggles to reconcile her life as a wife and her identity as a woman in the 1950s with her raunchy sense of humor and her burgeoning career as a comic. By combining personal experience with inspiration from real-life icons like Joan Rivers, Sherman-Palladino brings humanity and humor to the life of Midge Maisel. If you love women, comedy, and especially women in comedy, this new show is something you definitely don't want to miss.