‘Mrs. Maisel’ has a marvelous night as Amy Sherman-Palladino makes Emmy history

Amy Sherman-Palladino accepts the comedy series writing award for her work on comedy series winner "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." She also won for directing and, in an earlier ceremony, music supervision.
(Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

“This is very, very new — I feel like the new kid at the party,” said Rachel Brosnahan, who had every reason to be shocked and elated at the turn of events for her comedy series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

Brosnahan spoke backstage after accepting the Emmy for her performance as Midge Maisel, an immaculately coiffed, fast-talking Jewish housewife in midcentury Manhattan who stumbles into a career in comedy in the wake of her marriage’s demise.

In all ways, Monday was a marvelous night for Amazon.

The show picked up five awards at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, dominating the comedy categories and beating out critical favorites such as “Atlanta” and “Barry.”


It was a fitting turn of events for the frothy eight-episode series about a woman discovering her talent as a stand-up, which won the award for comedy series — a first for a show on a streaming network.

Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino also made history by winning Emmys for both her writing and directing the series pilot, the first time a woman has clinched both prizes. The show’s leading ladies, Brosnahan and Alex Borstein, also won for actress and supporting actress in a comedy, respectively.

FULL COVERAGE: Live updates | Winners list | Show highlights

The colorful Sherman-Palladino, known for her black hats and eye-catching attire, was typically candid backstage after her historic night.

“The statues are wonderful. The free booze I’m going to drink a lot of is terrific, but the work itself is the true reward,” she said. “That’s what you can hope for when you’re a thousand years old.”

Standing with the show’s cast members and creative team including husband and creative partner Daniel Palladino, Sherman-Palladino discussed the parallels between women in the 1950s and today.

“It was an interesting fluke at the time ‘Maisel’ came out we were taking some trolls down. I’m glad it’s a character that still resonates,” Sherman-Palladino said. “Even though it’s 1959, women can look at her struggle ... a lot of those problems still exist and that just makes us still relevant.”

Praised for its meticulous period design and rat-a-tat banter, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” capitalized on a rare opening in the comedy category, which has for years belonged to the HBO series “Veep” and its perennial Emmy favorite star, Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

“It’s about a woman reinventing herself ... and it’s never too late to do that. And it’s funny and filled with joy at its core — and that’s something we need a lot more of right now,” Brosnahan said of the show’s appeal.

Combined with a trio of wins at the previous weekend’s Creative Arts Emmys, the freshman series won eight awards in total — one for each episode in its first season.

Sherman-Palladino, creator of shows like “Gilmore Girls” and “Bunheads” that were praised by critics but ignored by Emmy voters, fared well in her first trip to the Primetime Emmys as a nominee. She also won a Creative Arts Emmy for her work as music supervisor on the series.

Her win for comedy directing also marked the fifth time in six years that a woman had won the category. She beat last year’s directing winner, “Atlanta’s” Donald Glover. The wins for “Maisel” meant that his series, a critical darling that was praised for taking bold new aesthetic risks in its second season, went home empty-handed.

“One thing I love about this show is it’s about a woman who is finding her voice anew,” said Brosnahan, previously known for a supporting role in “House of Cards.” “It’s something happening all over the country right now. And one of the best ways to find our voice is to vote.”

Accepting her Emmy for supporting actress in a comedy, Borstein used her national TV platform to encourage women to a different kind of collective action.

“Ladies, when you use a public restroom, sit down,” said the actress, who also starred in the HBO series “Getting On.” “If you sit, we can all sit.”

Times staff writers Deborah Vankin and Makeda Easter contributed to this report.