It’s been well over two years since season three of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was released, leaving millions of fans to ride out the pandemic not knowing what comes next in Midge Maisel’s comedy career. While audiences have been wondering whether the main character will land another gig after her debut at the Apollo ended in heartbreak, one Denver native spent the pandemic shaping that script.

Noah Gardenswartz, a comic now based out of Los Angeles, has been a writer for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel since the period comedy (it’s set in late ’50’s and early ’60s New York) debuted on Amazon Prime in 2017. Back then, Gardenswartz was living in Brooklyn touring as a comic when he was introduced to Emmy Award–winning screenwriter Amy Palladino, who was just beginning work on Maisel. She’d seen Gardenswartz on Comedy Central and thought his Jewish upbringing could be an asset since her new show starring Rachel Brosnahan featured a Jewish comic in the lead role. “My stand-up got me in the door,” Gardenswartz says. “My background with Judaism and my stand-up meant I was someone who could do two things at once for them.”

Working with a team of writers under Palladino’s direction, Gardenswartz has crafted many of the jokes performed in standup routines throughout the episodes—a key component of the show’s appeal. Ahead of season four, we chatted with Gardenswartz to learn how the pandemic impacted the writing process, how his upbringing in Denver proved valuable, and what audiences can expect to see on screen. Spoiler alert: He wasn’t about to reveal any spoilers.

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

5280: You started working on season four right around the time the pandemic began, right?
Noah Gardenswartz: It feels like a decade ago. If I remember right, we were supposed to start the writers’ room in March 2020. Everything was delayed, back when society felt like If we all just stay home for three weeks we can get this thing under control. In the summer, we realized we weren’t going to be able to do it in person, and the whole writers’ room would have to be virtual.

I’m guessing not being in the same room with other writers and comedians is a challenge?
It’s less than ideal. The flow of a writers’ room is very specific, especially to comedy, where you’re pitching jokes and trying to catch a rhythm conversationally. It’s so much harder over Zoom where someone’s audio cuts out or two people start talking over each other. You might have a great joke, but someone doesn’t hear it or someone interrupts and it doesn’t hit. You’re not sure if the joke was bad or if the technology got in the way. It’s not conducive to the flow of a comedy writers’ room, but still it was doable. We still got it done.

Because of the way the show had to be written, did it change the narrative? Did you have to do anything drastically different?
No, the story arc didn’t change. The narrative and who the characters are at their cores and what they experience didn’t change. We kept the integrity of the show intact from a character standpoint. I will say the show is so beloved because of the production value and the big set pieces and the actual beauty of the set. None of that was sacrificed. The show looks as good as it ever has.

But as far as the potential of what cities and countries we might want our characters to travel to or perform in?
We had to keep in mind whether or not any of those could be recreated in New York, because at that time, the world was not open. In season two, they literally went to Paris for two weeks to film. That was not going to be an option for season four.

Are you going to give us any spoilers about what countries we’ll see?
I am not. But I will definitely tell you we do not go to Saudi Arabia.

When you’re working with the other writers, are there any particular characters or scenes you know you’ll be taking on?
In general, it’s a collaborative process as far as developing the macro-picture of the season. When it comes time to write actual episodes, I know I’m going to be helping with the stand-up and keeping a close eye on elements of Judaism, because those are the two things I can really help with. It’s not necessarily waiting for a specific assignment as much as it is like: Midge does two sets here, I’m going to be responsible for turning in jokes for her comedy, and then: Here they go to the synagogue. I’m going to be responsible for making sure it’s presented correctly.

How does a kid from Denver end up in the writers’ room for this show in the first place?
I grew up a very active member of the Denver Jewish community. Denver does not have the big Jewish community of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Miami, but it does have a very tight-knit, active community. Just growing up in the community where I did, my foundational Judaism was very present. Then stand-up comedy was something I found on my own in my college years and after, and it was kind of an example of good fortune and all worlds colliding. My big break in the stand-up world—the first big thing I did of critical acclaim–was a half-hour special on Comedy Central. And several months later is when the Palladinos were putting the show together. We’re represented by the same agency, and my agent sent over my special.

When you were hired for the show, did you know you’d be writing for Jewish characters?
Not necessarily. I understood that Midge, the main character, was Jewish. And I knew she was a comedian that also comes from a Jewish family, and a large part of the story was going to be her family life.

Looking back over the past few seasons, do you have a favorite scene? A favorite episode?
The end of season two, there’s the Yom Kippur scene where the characters are all arguing and fasting in the synagogue. As a Jew, that was super fun to write—just all the inside jokes about how uncomfortable it can be fasting. And then, at the end of season three when Midge does her set at the Apollo, that was a really intricate comedy scene because we were balancing a lot. She needed to be funny while also saying the things that ultimately got her in trouble. It was her first time performing for an all-Black crowd. It was really rewarding when it all came together.

When season four drops, I expect we’ll get some resolution to that scene you just described.

Want to share some teasers?

Are audiences going to be surprised?
Yeah, I think they will be. There’s certainly enough going on that audiences will be surprised by some stuff.

We waited more than two years for season four to start. Any idea when we can expect the fifth?
Even if I knew, I couldn’t tell you. But God’s honest truth is I don’t know.

But there will be a season five.

(Read more: How a Long-Running Joke Helped a Colorado Woman Reach the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials)

Jay Bouchard
Jay Bouchard
Jay Bouchard is a Denver-based writer and a former editor on 5280's digital team.