Rachel Brosnahan on 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,' Women in Comedy and Mom Shaming

Illustration by Britt Spencer

I've always loved women in comedy, so I'm continuously surprised when I hear people repeating that age-old 'women aren't funny' thing," Rachel Brosnahan says. "I don't get it at all. While we've come a long way, clearly we still have a long way to go."

Emmy award-winning actor Brosnahan plays Midge Maisel on the Amazon Video hit series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Two already-released seasons follow the fictional, ever-fashionable '50s mother as she embarks on a personal journey to put her naturally funny, carefree attitude on display. The show's third season will be released on December 6.

Brosnahan will also appear in I'm Your Woman, an Amazon film set to release in 2020, in which she plays Jean, a character wildly different from Midge.

"Jean is at a place in her life where she's feeling pretty small," says Brosnahan. Midge plays larger than life in almost every aspect. I suppose the similarity is that they're both following different journeys to better understanding themselves and figuring out how to use their voices in a new way."

Do you draw any of your Mrs. Maisel character inspiration from current comedians? I watched a ton of Ali Wong. She's brilliant and funny and sharp and vulgar as f**k. I love her so much. I watched Baby Cobra [Wong's Netflix special] about four times. If Midge were a comedian today, she'd be doing similar things to what Ali Wong is doing. I could watch her all day.

Midge has been criticized for not interacting with her kids much. Do you think that helps viewers to separate Midge as an individual rather than as a mother or wife?

I don't understand it. Mom shaming is such a real thing on- and off-screen. Midge may not look like how we picture the ideal mother, but her children are well cared for by four loving grandparents, a very involved husband, neighbors, and the maid. They are loved, but Midge is a working mom. Even though she's a fictional character, I have been personally offended for her at times listening to some of this criticism. Midge and Joel are not going to be parents of the year, but the idea that they are abusive or neglectful is outrageous.

You're also set to star in the movie I'm Your Woman. Are you drawn to roles of strong women?

Definitely. I think that women are inherently strong. I'm drawn to roles that portray women in all of their complexities and that paint a three-dimensional portrait of women.