Luke Kirby Calls Lenny & Midge “A Beautiful Thing”

May 24, 2023

Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Season 5 Episode 8 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

We are nearly at the end of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The period comedy-drama follows the life of the titular Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) who goes from becoming a housewife in the late 1950s to becoming a stand-up comic in New York. Early on in her career, Midge meets the famous Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby), a fictionalized version of the real-life comedian. Midge and Lenny have instant chemistry together, and Lenny acts like a mentor to Midge during the beginning of her flourishing career. Season 4’s finale saw the two characters consummating their relationship after four seasons of building chemistry.

But now that the series is almost over, it feels like Lenny has been missing all season. Still, we spoke to Luke Kirby about his time on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and his perspective on the Midge and Lenny relationship. He gives us insight into where Lenny is at in his life. If you know the true history of Lenny Bruce, you know it’s important to keep an eye on these years of his life. Kirby also talked about aspects of Lenny’s life he wished he had more time to explore, and who he would have liked to share the screen with had there been more episodes.

Check out our full interview in the video or read it below.

COLLIDER: I’m very excited to speak with you, Lenny is one of my favorite characters on this show, and you play him so well. I’ve seen all of these episodes, except for the final episode, and I can say you are not in the season enough, and I was sad to see that! But jumping into Lenny’s character, can you talk a little bit about where Lenny’s head is at in the season and how he’s coping with what happened with him and Midge?

LUKE KIRBY: Lenny has gotten deeper into his life of litigation, which is a reflection of what happened to the real Lenny Bruce. It’s a heavy burden, and I think at the same time he’s exploring ways to help mask or heal some of that pain that he’s enduring because of it, and because of, obviously, other things, and so he’s probably getting a little bit deeper into his addictions. And in some ways, those things have just started to… he’s become so sort of subsumed under them that to see Midge has always been such a moment of levity for him.

You know, she always kind of… over the course of this show he sees the light within her, and that’s really all he’s reflecting back, and they kind of are able to bounce that back and forth and have that beautiful simpatico that’s so lovely. But I think when they encounter each other at the airport, you know, there’s sort of a sign that his ability to reflect back is just a little muted by another degree of exhaustion that he’s having to contend with.

Is there an aspect of Lenny Bruce’s life that you wish you could have explored if there was more time?

KIRBY: Yeah, I mean, in terms of his mythology, of course, there’s a lot of his performances that were fascinating, and that were met with controversy. There’s a couple that are really interesting to me, one that happened in London, England. There’s an amazing performance that he did in Australia that I think, you know, Lenny in the Outback would have been a great bottle episode, as they call it. There’s plenty for sure.

It’s just been a joy and a privilege to get to explore him in any capacity, but I’m endlessly fascinated by that man, for sure, and he’s become very kind of dear to me. He’s a friend that I’m not going to give up any time soon.

Image via Prime Video

I think a lot of people like this series, and a lot of people enjoy the relationship that Lenny and Midge have together between these two characters. Was that surprising to you to see that reaction, and why do you think people are so attracted to that relationship?

KIRBY: It was surprising because, you know, coming into the show, I really just thought I was doing the pilot. I was very smitten with the pilot for what it was, but I didn’t think that it was going to invite him back. I thought, “Oh, maybe each episode will have some historical figure that they will touch upon,” but being invited back was just so juicy and wonderful. I mean, it was fantastic to get to play in this make-believe. It’s a really fun show to be a part of.

And in terms of why people like it, my sense of it is, I mean, hopefully, it’s for the same reason that I like Lenny and Midge together; it’s just the way friends are. When you see two friends get together, but that right combination, you feel like you can see light pouring out of people sometimes when they connect, and it’s just a beautiful thing. I’m happy that that worked for Midge and Lenny, you know?

It is, you guys have great on-screen chemistry, so I think that’s what makes it so addictive. You guys have had a great run with this series. With it being over, is there a specific aspect of this show that you’ll be missing the most?

KIRBY: I really adore everybody onboard, especially our cast, it’s just been a really fun gang to get to know over the years. And I had this really plum position of getting to pop in a few days a month here and there and say hi, and then leave again for a nice long nap. The rhythm of that was really nice. Also, just shooting in New York City and at the studio we were at where I was able to just ride my bike to work. All of those things were just really charmed, it just has been so charmed.

I guess I’ll miss all of it, but most of all just getting to see the gang be together. They are the ones that put in all the work, I kind of just got to come by and lick it once in a while and do a little dance. So, I’m just really grateful for them, and I’ll miss that.

Image via Prime Video

Speaking about that cast, is there somebody specific on that series that you didn’t have a scene with that you wish you could have?

KIRBY: I would have loved to have done something with Joel. I adore Michael Zegen, and he’s been a good pal over the years. We could have lobbed some balls at each other or something, I don’t know.

I think it would have been an interesting dynamic between the two of you guys.

KIRBY: Yeah, I’m sure they would have found their way.

Looking at the end of this series, because I don’t know what’s going to happen, I’m curious what you can tease for the end of Lenny’s story in this show, and whether he’ll find any sort of closure with Midge, or if we’re going to see any of that kind of stuff?

KIRBY: My lips are sealed, is what I’ve been told to say. What can I tease? You’ll see something!

You know what? I respect that. I respect that a lot and I understand there’s a lot that you can’t give away. Being a part of a show like this, especially a longer-running show, do you have a big takeaway or a lesson that you learned from filming Maisel?

KIRBY: I mean, stay hydrated and plan your day accordingly, get in as many naps as you can, and come prepared.

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