“I turned him into a woman. A cute woman. I made him adorable.”
That is “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s” Amy Sherman-Palladino talking about the complex funny lady for the ages that she and husband Daniel Palladino created for their Amazon Prime series about a late-’50s housewife and mother who pursues a stand-up career in nightclubs after her husband cheats on her. But Miriam “Midge” Maisel (played by Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan) was actually inspired by Amy’s comedian father, Don Sherman, a stand-up comic who appeared in four “Rocky” movies and wrote for TV series and variety shows who died in 2012 at age 80.
As her hubby says, “When Amy writes about you, it is very slimming.”
Amy adds, “I put you in a corset.”
A few days before the 71st Primetime Emmy nominations were announced, the married creators spoke to Gold Derby (watch the exclusive video above) about the comedy’s second season. The first season earned 14 nominations and won eight trophies — a record for a comedy. This week, they out-marveled themselves with a total of 20 nods — the most for any comedy series.
Their current success is sweet validation after “Gilmore Girls,” a highly popular show that they oversaw for six seasons on the WB channel, earned one lone Emmy nomination and its only win for makeup.
Midge’s style of comedic patter, talking a mile a minute off the top of her head while cracking wise, is borrowed straight from her father, who spent years honing his routines while working on cruise ships, inspired her character’s conversational style on stage. Amy recalls there were “a lot of ‘Broadway Danny Rose’ moments in the backyard,” when her dad’s comedian friends would laugh about the old days and “their trials and tribulations.”
On the second season, Midge and her parents get out and about both in Paris and on their annual summer vacation in the Catskills. But even in the first season, the couple made sure that she wasn’t just walking down hallways.
“We’ve always seen her as a woman in the world,” Dan says. “In the pilot, once we got past her first official stand-up — which was the toast at her wedding — we put her out in the world. We showed her walking down Riverside Drive, we show her going to the butcher’s. And it’s always been an important thing for us to remember to like have her out in the world. It’s easy for us and cheaper to have people talking in rooms.”
Adds Amy, when she hears the c-word: “Shhh!” It’s a good thing that Amazon has big pockets. As she says, “It’s a tragically expensive show. We’re kind of surprised they let us into the building.”
But she doesn’t think a multi-faceted character like Midge would work on regular TV. “I’m not sure that a regular network would care for a character like Midge. She’s a streaming gal because she’s adorable, but she can also be narcissistic and she can be ‘all about me.’ ”
The colorful couple — Amy declared that Dan was dressed like an ice cream salesman before the camera rolled — also discuss the origins of “Tits up,” the pre-performance catchphrase uttered by both Midge and manager Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein) as well as why they gave Susie a red plunger as a comedy prop. They also hint at what to expect on the third season — likely to air in the fall — that finds Midge on tour in Miami and “This is Us” star Sterling K. Brown joining the cast.
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 22. And join in the fun debate over the 2019 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.