With her cap and suspenders, she dresses like one of the Bowery Boys as if they were trying out for “Newsies.” There is always a mysterious clutch of keys on a chain around her neck. She can be caustic, crude and rude. But as scrappy talent managers go, Susie Myerson will do almost anything to make sure that her Upper West Side fashion-plate client Midge (Rachel Brosnahan), who can do bawdy humor with the best of them, is gainfully employed as a stand-up comic. That’s especially true now that her star continues to rise on Season 2 of Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” It’s an unusual womance but it works, well, marvelously.
As piquantly played by Alex Borstein, who is highly likely to grab her second Emmy for supporting actress in a comedy series, she has been blessed with some unique situations that are pure comedy gold in this second helping of “Maisel”-ness.
Exhibit A: When a couple of rough and tough hoodlums sent by Midge’s stand-up rival Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch) — a former vaudevillian who hides her wealth, breeding and slim figure behind a fat-suited hausfrau personna — to intimidate Susie, they end up becoming chums on the subway when they learn she grew up in the Rockaways just like they did. She asks if Greenie’s Luncheonette is still there, only to learn it isn’t because they burned it down. Her response: “Oh, shame. They made a great patty melt.” She ends up dining with her newfound chums on homemade moussaka served by one of their wives and declares, “You know what? This is the best abduction I’ve ever had.”
Exhibit B: Susie is upset when Midge and her family make their annual summer getaway out of the city and into a Catskills resort. In order to keep her booked with local gigs, she poses as a staff member by constantly carrying a red toilet plunger — a signal that she is on the job — that is ripe with humorous possibilities while sleeping in the employee quarters and scavenging food from the vacation retreat’s kitchen.
Exhibit C: Susie is a mama bear when Sophie once again tries to get back at Midge for revealing that her act is a sham by getting her time slot on a telethon bumped to the latest possible hour. Instead of bombing, Midge uses the lack of viewers to kill with her more adult jokes. Lennon later requests Susie’s presence in her palatial home so she can recruit her as her manager after witnessing how hard she fights for Midge. She walks away puzzled with a free fur coat for her troubles.
All I know is that I now look at once innocuous plungers and find myself laughing — a reaction that I have never had before. If anyone can stave off “Saturday Night Live’s” comic chameleon Kate McKinnon from blocking her path to a second Emmy in a row, it is Borstein. At least that is what 1,310 Gold Derby prediction participants believe for the time being.
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