“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon’s Emmy-winning comedy series, doesn’t pull its punches. Within the first episode, the show’s titular character — an almost cartoonish 1950s middle-class, Upper West Side housewife — explodes into a drunken rant about the travails of family life during a profanity-laden performance that includes baring her breasts to the audience of a Greenwich Village nightclub. Miriam “Midge” Maisel’s impromptu comedic monologue packs quite a proto-feminist wallop, smacking down already-tenuous myths of midcentury domestic bliss.”
But what the show needs, if it truly wants to portray the New York underground nightclub milieu where Midge finds her comic footing, is a stronger left hook. The real history of the 1950s nightclub underground was far more radical than the hilariously foul-mouthed Midge would care to admit.
Stephen R. Duncan, Assistant Professor of History at Bronx Community College CUNY, discusses “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and its depiction of New York’s historic downtown club scene for The Gotham Center for New York History. Read More