Will the real Mrs. Maisel please stand up?

the comedian Felicia Madison Stay at home moms wanted a purpose beyond being on the Upper East Side. “I have always struggled with life as a stay at home mom. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy being a mom (although my comedy says otherwise), I just felt unfulfilled and like something was missing. I was always brainstorming and trying to come up with a new business or invention. I joke that my tombstone will read ‘She Tried’. Then one day a friend and I decided to take a comedy class and it all clicked. I like it. I was hooked. And the rest is history.” Fortunately, the source material is across the kitchen table. “My youngest daughter is like me and as a result, we clash a lot. She’s actually very funny and should probably be a comedian, but because I am, she never is. It wouldn’t count. Ironically, she’s the only member of my family who hasn’t seen me perform live, but she knows I make fun of her. One time, she was making fun of me and I got mad at her and she replied, ‘Why? You. Make a career out of making fun of me.’ The only slight problem is that she’s getting older, we’re actually starting to bond more than ever and I have to look elsewhere for inspiration…and I’m thinking the Upper East Side might be the perfect target. In general, the best thing to do whenever I need inspiration. Lives are lived,” she says. It’s heartbreaking to know that mother-daughter dysfunction can benefit anyone but a psychiatrist.

Felicia appears as the real-life Mrs. Messel, perhaps to console herself that she doesn’t receive royalties from the show. “I wrote a pilot about my life — upper East Side mom by day, stand-up comic by night — before Awesome Mrs Maisel Turns out it’s a good thing I was on the ground floor when I first saw the promo for it, because I didn’t die when I jumped out the window. Of course, there are similarities and differences, like the show takes place in the 50s and I’m 50, she plays a Jewish mother, I’m a Jewish mother and of course, she’s not real and I’m fake. But seriously, I’m Mrs. Maisel and more, because not only am I raising a family and doing stand-up comedy but I’m also running a comedy club and a business. I like to say that Ms. Maisel considers herself a real-life Ms. Madison.” She always laughs at herself – maybe a little too easily. “My family always laughs at me because the only ones who laugh at my jokes. I always use laughter as a coping mechanism. used to. I’m very uncomfortable in social situations and find it difficult to make small talk at cocktail parties or any big event. Instead of having a conversation, I observe and listen and then crack a joke. In fact, my first five-minute comedy was years in the making. Compilation of jokes. It was easy for me to come up with the first five minutes because it was 50 years in the making. The next 45 minutes were much harder. Observation is the key to comedy. “I think comedians see things differently than the rest of the world. I find humor in everyday situations. For example, Just the other day, I found myself stuck on a follow-up call with a travel company. I couldn’t be rude and hang up, so I answered all of his questions. One was, ‘Are you married or cohabiting?’ And I said, ‘I have to think about it, can I get back to you?’

Punchlines aside, Felicia uses comedy to respond to the very serious events that occur in our world. Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, all open mic guests have been required to show proof of a donation to a charity of their choice in order to earn their spot on stage. “Of course, the overturning of Roe v. Wade was devastating. I immediately started thinking and trying to figure out how to help. I was tired of marching, talking and hearing people complain about how bored they were. It all obviously didn’t work. I wanted men and women to be actively involved in an organization that was fighting. When I told all the comedians running the mic their immediate response was why not just collect the money and donate it yourself? I said no because I wanted everyone, especially men, to actively find an organization, put down their name and email and thus become actively involved in the cause. I’ve had men send me snapshots of their donations to pro-choice organizations, which is great. Most importantly, now they are on a list and will receive updates and information.”

Laughter has become a way for women to simply process the wonderful and frustrating reality of being a woman in America in 2022. “I recently heard Neil Brennan talk about the state of comedy and how everyone says it’s so bad His statement was, ‘Is that so? I don’t think so.’ I have the same view of women in America…is that bad? I mean I still want to live in America more than any other country, look at some of the atrocities around the world including Brittney Greener’s imprisonment, mutilation, murder. So yes, there have been setbacks, but all in all, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else…yet. However, stand-up allows us to see difficult situations through the lens of comedy. It allows us to look at difficult things with a smile that makes everyone more comfortable and makes them think about it,” Felicia explains. She’s very open about her own battle with depression. “I put up with meditation, drugs and a lot of alcohol. No seriously. , depression is actually pretty common in the comedy community. I often hear comedians tell jokes about depression and they start ‘it’s a unique premise…it’s not. Comedy is definitely a huge part of my coping mechanism, which is good and bad. Comedy for depression is probably The best medicine is because an audience full of laughter is the biggest dopamine rush. The downside is that if you have a bad week of comedy or aren’t on stage, you sink into a deep depression. Once when I was away from stand-up for a few weeks, I was very I was depressed and didn’t understand why. The depression lifted as soon as I went on stage, Tada! I’m very open about it because first of all, I want to help others and it helps me to explain that I just feel like I have it all. That doesn’t mean I can’t be depressed. It’s crazy and makes me feel worse because now I’m not only depressed but also mad. I think maybe expressing my frustrations and explaining myself helps me deal more with depression and the highs and lows. But at the same time, it’s an ongoing battle.”

Felicia founded Laughing Affairs as a way to delight a diverse clientele. “I started Laughing Affairs early in my comedy career. I was performing in clubs downtown and my audience, mainly stay-at-home moms, were working on bedtime and homework during the day when their kids were in school compared to the evening. So I decided to bring comedy to their neighborhood while they were free, thus starting the lunchtime comedy show. Since then, I have started producing more comedy shows for corporate, personal and charity events. When I started hiring male comedians, I noticed a huge disparity in how they treated me versus female comedians, which led me to start Funny Business, to help female comedians with the business side of comedy. A series of lectures. These all fall under the theme of laughter, including the events I’m creating at Little Island, Pier 17 and the West Side JCC.” Comedy can be an important medium to inspire thought and conversation. “Laughter allows you to cover complex, difficult topics that People may not want to talk and present it in a non-confrontational, fun way that allows people to digest and think about the issue. If you open a conversation about Roe v. Wade with a pro-life supporter, they will argue and immediately shut you down. will do, but if you make a joke, they can hear, laugh, and maybe even think about it. If you can’t laugh at situations, others, or yourself, life will be more depressing than ever. People say that we are now more than ever. Need more laughs and I say we’ve always needed laughs! What makes you feel better than one of those deep unsettling laughs that literally make you cry? You stop laughing, take a deep breath and say ‘Wow, that’s great. It took!’ And you go.” Excellent Ms. Madison makes some good points. Make sure to follow Felicia on Instagram, TwitterAnd Facebook.

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What will the real Mrs. Messel stand for? Photo credit: JJ Ignotz.