Grew Up... practically perfect in every way. Born Miriam Weissman, Midge grew up in luxury on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Like a lot of women in the early 1950s, Midge set her sights on becoming the ideal wife and mother. She studied Russian literature at Bryn Mawr College with the real aim of finding a husband. Everything went exactly according to plan and she wound up happily married to businessman Joel Maisel.
Living... in Manhattan, of course. Midge is a New Yorker through and through, and prefers the familiarity of her affluent Jewish social world. She and Joel even got an apartment one floor below Midge’s parents, Abe and Rose Weissman.
Profession... housewife turned aspiring stand-up comedian. From mastering her brisket recipe to always looking flawless (even first thing in the morning), Midge spent the past four years being the perfect housewife. She even supported her husband’s quirky dream of being a stand-up. But when she discovers Joel’s been stealing his act from Bob Newhart, Midge begins to realize she might actually be the one with the original comedic voice—and something important to say.
Interests... fashion, make-up, and anything glamorous.
Relationship Status... it’s complicated. Midge’s entire world comes crashing down when Joel admits he’s been cheating on her with his secretary. Their parents want the young couple to figure out a way to reconcile, but Midge isn’t sure that’s what Joel wants, or what she wants either. Still, the fact that they have two young kids together means Midge and Joel will never be completely out of each other’s lives.
Challenge... conquering the world of stand-up comedy. That’s no easy feat, particularly not for a woman in 1958. Thankfully, Midge gets an impassioned ally in Susie Myerson, the schlubby comedy club employee who becomes her manager. The two women couldn’t be more different, but they’re united in their goal of taking the comedy world by storm. As Midge puts it, “Comedy is fueled by oppression, by the lack of power, by sadness and disappointment, by abandonment and humiliation. Now, who the hell does that describe more than women? Judging by those standards, only women should be funny.”
Personality... Donna Reed crossed with an army general. Midge may look like a demure housewife, but she’s always been commanding, organized, verbose, and great at getting what she wants. A natural socialite, Midge can use her funny, bubbly, persuasive demeanor to ingratiate herself with just about anyone. As her life starts to implode, however, cracks begin to show in her perfect facade. Particularly on stage, Midge is emboldened to let her true emotions—and her uncouth opinions—fly.
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