Renata Lubinsky performs stand-up during open mic night at Ould Triangle in Seattle. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Renata Lubinsky performs stand-up during open mic night at Ould Triangle in Seattle. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Our very own ‘Mrs. Maisel’ takes dating to the comedy stage

Renata Lubinsky is a stand-up comedian who wrote the book “Around Seattle in 80 Dates.”

After a longtime marriage to a man she met in her early teens, Renata Lubinsky found herself single and raising two kids on her own.

So at 47 years old, she decided to give online dating a try. She thought, “I may be over 40, but that doesn’t mean my love life is over.”

Around that time, she saw that the local theater was staging “Around the World in 80 Days,” and she had an epiphany: She would adopt Jules Verne’s challenge. As part of a divorced woman’s journey to find love again, she would go on 80 first dates.

It took her nearly two years, but Lubinsky, of Shoreline, did go on 80 first dates with 80 different men. And then she had another epiphany.

Bad first dates can go so badly that you can’t help but laugh about it later.

So Lubinsky became a stand-up comedian.

“I like to laugh at myself,” said Lubinsky, who compares herself to comedy great Joan Rivers. “I take a look at everyday things and our everyday lives and I find the funny.”

She saw her 80-date challenge as perfect fodder for stand-up comedy, so she wrote about each one. She took improv classes through Unexpected Productions and joined the Fresh Ground Stories Meetup to practice telling jokes and funny stories on stage.

Renata Lubinsky holds a copy of her new book, “Around Seattle in 80 Dates.” (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Renata Lubinsky holds a copy of her new book, “Around Seattle in 80 Dates.” (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Lubinsky, 52, made her stand-up debut in 2014 at Laugh’s Comedy Spot in Kirkland, which has since moved to Seattle.

She says she was surprised how hard it is to tell jokes for 3 to 5 minutes. But she wasn’t surprised that she could make the audience laugh.

“My first husband didn’t like that his wife good at networking and was funny and outgoing,” she said.

Those traits are serving her well now as a comedian.

“The first time I went to do my stand-up, I won first prize,” said Lubinsky, who is a senior business analyst for BECU. “I didn’t even know I was in a competition.”

She said her career has been helped by Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

In “Mrs. Maisel,” which has a third season on the way, Miriam “Midge” Maisel seemingly has the perfect 1950s New York life: a husband, two kids and an Upper West Side apartment. But she might just lose it all because she’s decided to become a stand-up comedian.

Rachel Brosnahan plays a 1950s housewife-turned-stand-up-comedian in Amazon’s hit TV show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” (Amazon Studios)

Rachel Brosnahan plays a 1950s housewife-turned-stand-up-comedian in Amazon’s hit TV show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” (Amazon Studios)

Lubinsky says she’ll get compared to Rachel Brosnahan’s Mrs. Maisel when she does a show.

For one, they’re both Jewish.

Because of anti-Semitism in Poland, Lubinsky’s family was forced to move to Israel when she was a baby. Both of her parents are Holocaust survivors, she said. Lubinsky, who retains her Israeli accent, immigrated with her first husband to the Seattle area about 11 years ago.

On the show, Midge’s marriage is on the rocks.

Lubinsky sees parallels with Mrs. Maisel here, too. Her marriage collapsed in 2013.

“I met my first husband when I was 14,” said Lubinsky, who married for the first time at age 19 in Israel. “I spent most of my life with the same man. We had just bought our dream house. Three months later, we were getting a divorce.

“Like me, she needed a big change in her life. It’s interesting that you need to go through such a big change to really do what makes you happy.”

In 2018, Lubinsky turned her jokes into an online-dating memoir titled “Around Seattle in 80 Dates.” In the back of the book is a list of 50 dating do’s and don’ts that Lubinsky learned through trial and error.

“Now when I talk to people who have read the book, they say, ‘You are our local Mrs. Maisel,’” Lubinsky said. “It’s such an amazing compliment.”

Lubinsky’s 80-date challenge had a great payoff: She found her second husband. And yes, he was her 80th date.

She got married to date No. 80, Paul Matusewicz, on Jan. 6, 2017.

Both born in Poland, they found that they had much in common. On their first date, they shared a picnic overlooking Lake Washington on the Fourth of July. Lubinsky had packed them a Polish spread to be eaten with toothpicks. Matusewicz was impressed.

They like to joke that he fell in love with her because of all the toothpicks.

Husband and wife now watch “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” together. It’s one of their favorite TV shows.

“The way I see it, Mrs. Maisel’s husband was caught by surprise,” said Matusewicz, who is a senior technologist at BloodWorks Northwest. “He didn’t know she had a stand-up career and he didn’t like how he was portrayed (in her jokes). But her (Lubinsky’s) career was never a surprise for me. I’ve been supportive of it.”

He’s even become part of his wife’s show. At some point, Lubinsky will point out date No. 80 in the audience.

“No one calls me by my real name anymore,” Matusewicz joked.

Does No. 80 ask about the 79 dates she went on before meeting him? Yes, but he’s more than OK with her dating past.

“A lot of my dates or ex-boyfriends met each other,” Lubinsky said. “If you finish nice, you can still be friends. Two of them were even in in our wedding.”

Dating When Wiser

Renata Lubinsky will give a workshop on dating when you’re over 40 — including the do’s and don’ts of online dating — from 2 to 3:30 p.m. March 23 at the Neverending Bookshop, 7530 Olympic View Drive, Suite 105, Edmonds. More at www.renatalubinsky.com.

Talk to us

More in Life

Vegetable seeds need good drainage in the pots or flats they start in. Too much or too little moisture will both spell disaster. (Getty Images)
If starting plants from seed, don’t forget to read the packet

Follow these tips, plus the guidelines you’ve already read on that package, and you should do just fine.

This Yellow Coach bus made by Arcade is 13 inches long and in great condition. It sold for $600 at Bertoia Auctions in 2020. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
This Arcade yellow double decker bus was made about 1926

In 1921, Arcade Manufacturing Co. decided to make toys that were copies of real vehicles and everyday items.

Common snowdrops are long lived and lend themselves to dividing and naturalizing in the landscape. (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: Galanthus nivalis aka common snowdrops

Once established, the bulbs are long lived and lend themselves to dividing and naturalizing in the landscape.

"Man and Wife" by Ula Nero
Polish emigrant in Mukilteo shares her colorful artistic vision

Ula Nero is inspired by the Expressionism and Fauvism movements to create funky pet portraits, and much more.

Metal scuptor Wayne Kangas made this fish-shaped weather vane out of 600 leftover stainless steel letters. (Langley Arts Fund)
This artful flying fish tells the weather in Langley

The Langley Arts Fund commissioned “Weather Vane II” by Wayne Kangas for public art in Clyde Alley.

Matt and Jill Wurst opened Audacity Brewing in December 2020 and are now managing to stay open, with the COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, at their brewery on 10th Street on Monday, Jan. 11, 2020 in Snohomish, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
It took some Audacity to open this new Snohomish brewery

The COVID-19 pandemic hit just as Matt and Jill Wurst were getting the business off the ground.

Carissa Hudson pulls a beer at Engel's Pub in Edmonds. At 86 years old, Engel's is one of the oldest bars in Snohomish County.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
When it’s finally safe, these dive bars are worth checking out

David Blend called the watering holes “an essential part of the American experience” in an ode to the haunts.

Enjoy stuffed mini bell peppers on Game Day. (Tulalip Resort Casino)
Make Tulalip chef’s stuffed mini bell peppers for game day

These one-bite treats can be prepped the night before, then popped into the oven for 10 minutes on Super Sunday.

Meatballs go hand-in-hand with spaghetti, but they also can add a wonderful flavor and texture to soup. Pair them with cheese tortellini and youêve got an amped-up version of Italian wedding soup. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/MCT)
Not just for spaghetti: Add meatballs to your winter soup

Make an amped-up version of Italian wedding soup with turkey meatballs and cheese tortellini.

Most Read