Monday, June 17, 2024

Secrets of “Mrs. Maisel” Before Season 4: Luke Kirby Predicted He’d Play Lenny Bruce Years Ago


Am I jazzed about the return of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”? Uh, duh!

The Emmy winning comedy returns to Amazon Prime on February 18th with two episodes. Then each week will come two more episodes at a time for four more weeks. I’ve seen the first two and they are outstanding. The show picks up right as Midge and Susie are left on the tarmac after being fired by Shy Baldwin (actor Leroy McClain, who is now on “Sex and the City: And Just Like That” doing a great job as usual).

There’s a sequence set at Coney Island that should win an Emmy, by the way. That’s all I can say. But it’s written and directed by Daniel Palladino, and it’s genius.

So tonight I just finished watching a panel discussion with the cast livestreamed by the 92nd St. Y. You can buy a ticket to it on their website. All the main players were there: Midge, her parents, Shirley Maisel, and Lenny Bruce. That’s Rachel Brosnahan, Tony Shalhoub, Maren Hinckle, Caroline Aaron, and Luke Kirby. Missing were Alex Borstein, who plays Susie, and Kevin Pollack who plays Moishe Maisel.

A couple of takeaways: Luke Kirby actually predicted he’d play Lenny Bruce way back at the start of his career. But he thought it would be in the stage play, “Lenny.” His dad found an old clipping of an interview in which Kirby did a Q&A with himself, and he laid it out. Weird, huh? Now he an Emmy Award.

Everyone on the panel praises Shalhoub, Brosnahan calls him a “national treasure.” She says no one enjoys laughing at Tony’s jokes like Tony. Shalhoub said the one thing he’d like to take home from the set is Borstein.  Brosnahan said the one character she’d like to play other than Midge is Susie, for the hats alone. Maren Hinkle revealed that like her character, Ruth, she likes to do matchmaking. She also speaks beautifully about the immigrant experience. Caroline Aaron is even funnier in person than Shirley, who she says will not need women’s lib (the show is set in 1960) because she already has it. Her life is perfect.

A great evening, a lovely preface to the series coming. Season 5 starts shooting any minute. And Season 6? Please God they go that far. This new season already every episode looks like it cost two million bucks. The sets, the costumes, insane. But it’s the writing, acting, and directing, many cuts above everything out there.

Also, no one asked Michael Zegen about his brothers’ plan to knock down small buildings on lower Fifth Avenue to build a granite billionaires’ lair. He was very charming nonetheless.

And one little spoiler:  Jane Lynch isn’t done with “Mrs. Maisel.” That’s all I can say.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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