Alex Borstein, who plays Susie in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about her role in the show and how it paralleled her career as a stand-up comic. Although Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) is the character that fuels the show, Susie creates a balance, giving viewers a break from Midge’s heady optimism and boundless vivacity. Season 2 strengthens their relationship and gives Alex’s character a larger role. According to Borstein, her character has a lot more at stake: “Midge can walk away from this decision to do stand-up any time she wants and have a comfortable, happy life. For Susie, it’s this or nothing.”
Borstein shared how without Susie, Midge might not have continued with stand-up. Alex shared personal experiences as a female comic and how difficult it was at times. “Yes, I didn’t tour, and I wasn’t a huge practicing stand-up, but I did a lot of open mics, and one of the reasons I hated doing it was that feeling backstage. It felt very much like a club I wasn’t invited to, or wasn’t a part of,” Borstein shared with The Hollywood Reporter, “So it was nice to see Midge stand up and just take her space and own it, and push it down their throats a little bit.” Borstein added that, “ I think if she had gone alone, she absolutely would have left. I think with Susie there, they both kind of have to be accountable for each other.” Alex shared more personal details of her stand-up career when asked if she’d experienced stage panic when things go wrong. She revealed how many nights she’d not only fall flat and lose momentum, but nosedive completely. However, she added that: “Stand-up is something that I did not because that’s my craft or my art, I did it because I wanted to get on stage as fast as I could. I was so needy and so desperate to try to perform and get attention that that’s why I turned to stand-up, and for me looking back on it, it’s a bit of a sad, lonely experience.”
Concerning their friendship, Alex explained why her character seems more standoffish and reluctant to claim Midge as a friend. “She’s never really had a friend before. She hasn’t had the luxury of that, and she’s terrified of what it really means to have a friend, and doesn’t want to be hurt,” Borstein explained. “I think it’s like they’re in a new relationship, and Susie’s always terrified that Midge is going to run back to her old life and her ex-husband. Susie’s always afraid of losing her.”
Season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is now available on Amazon Prime.