As a comic, Lenny Bruce was always one to keep things real — and now, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will too.
Iconoclastic stand-up Lenny Bruce was known for his frank, critical, freestyle approach to stand-up comedy and his colorful language and discussion of taboo subjects even landed him in jail for obscenity. In his personal life, there were repeated instances of domestic violence between him and his wife, Honey, and he was beset by rampant drug addiction, which ultimately caused his death in 1966.
But on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Bruce has been softened around the edges.
As played by Luke Kirby, he's become something of a mentor to Midge (Rachel Brosnahan). The two did meet in jail, but since then, he's introduced Midge to higher echelons of the comedy world, and the two have even shared a fair amount of romantic tension, culminating in a season 3 episode in Miami where they almost kiss before Midge walks away.
Brosnahan even refers to Lenny as Midge's "fairy godmother," emphasizing the romanticized image he bears on the show.
But as season 4 is poised to launch on Prime Video on Feb. 18, Kirby reveals that Lenny will start to veer more closely to the tortured true history of the comic this year. "We know some facts about him," Kirby tells EW. "Clearly, Lenny Bruce was a little bothered by a few things, and met a sad and early end. That's always been in the back of my mind in playing him."
"We felt duty-bound to address that a little more explicitly, which you'll see a bit of this year," he adds. "The fairy godmother that he's always presented as, is beginning to come down to earth a little bit more, and gravity has a way of pulling you in. He's a little more earthbound. We're digging into the muck of his life that we know about in a historical way, a little bit."
But will the audience, particularly those who can't resist the romantic undertones between Midge and Lenny, get more of what they want? "It's nice to see a more earthbound version of Lenny and the most grounded version of Midge that we've seen so far on the show intersect with each other," Brosnahan teases. "The scenes with Lenny and Midge are the only ones that are allowed to operate at a different pace. It feels like they live in a little bubble within the show that's always so fun to get to explore and push the walls of."
While Kirby adds that Lenny and Midge's relationship deepens this season, there's also the possibility that he could be a cautionary tale for her as she tries to find a way forward after being unceremoniously fired from Shy Baldwin's tour at the airport in the final moments of season 3.
"Show business is really turbulent," muses Kirby. "There's no clear path for Midge, and Lenny's turbulent life if a good reflection of that."
Ok, but just tell us, do they kiss? (Curse you Dan Palladino and Amy Sherman-Palladino for making me ship Midge with a heroin addict).
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