Rachel Brosnahan Was Told She Was 'Not Funny' for Years Before Comic Role on 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel'

"It was really just a lot of people who were professionals kind of saying, 'You might want to head in a different direction. Maybe consider something over here,'" Rachel Brosnahan said

US actress Rachel Brosnahan attends "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" special screening at Steiner Studios on June 2, 2022 in New York. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
Photo: ANGELA WEISS/getty

To many, Rachel Brosnahan playing a rising stand-up comedian on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel seemed like a natural fit – but according to the actress, not everyone felt that way about her.

During the Prime Video show's FYC event on Thursday, Brosnahan appeared on a cast panel, where she disclosed how she "spent the first couple years of my career being told I was not funny."

"It wasn't like an insulting thing. It was really just a lot of people who were professionals kind of saying, 'You might want to head in a different direction. Maybe consider something over here,'" she said at the event, which was held at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, New York. "I think it's been a really challenging and really incredible exercise over the last couple of years."

Brosnahan, 31, then said she's "eternally indebted" to series executive producers Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino "for saying yes and taking that kind of chance on someone" like herself.

"The day I found out I was going to be their Midge, [I] lost a role that morning because I wasn't funny enough," she recalled. "They wanted someone funnier."

Rachel Brosnahan
Rachel Brosnahan as Midge Maisel in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Amazon Studios

Elsewhere during the panel, moderator Danny Strong recalled a conversation he had with Amy and Dan about the challenging process of casting Brosnahan's character, protagonist Miriam "Midge" Maisel.

"I was having dinner with them in the early part of the casting process. And Amy, she said, 'Yeah, I can't ... I haven't found my lead. And if I don't find her, I'm just gonna not do the show because I need someone great or it's just gonna be a waste of my time,'" Strong, 47, recalled. "Then we had dinner, I don't know, a month later, three weeks later. And she was like, 'I found her. We're all good.' So literally, if she hadn't found [Rachel], there may never have been the show."

Amy, 56, then revealed what pushed Brosnahan above the rest of the contenders during the audition period: "She was the only one who knew to step into a microphone. Everyone else moved away from the microphone."

"She was the only one who knew if you're going to be a stand-up you're going to lean into that f---ing microphone," the Gilmore Girls creator continued. "And if you don't have the balls to do that, you got to get off the stage."

RELATED VIDEO: Rachel Brosnahan Says She Can't Imagine Actually Doing Stand-Up Comedy

Added Amy: "It was just like the minute she did that, we were kind of like, 'We're sold,' because it didn't matter what happened after that. If it didn't work, it didn't matter. All we know is she was the one who had the balls. She had the toughness. She understood the basic thing about comedy."

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Brosnahan has gone on to garner praise for her performance as Midge. She has even earned an Emmy Award and two Golden Globe Awards.

The first four seasons of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel are now streaming on Prime Video.

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