Marc Maron Told Netflix He’d Turn Them Down If Lynn Shelton Couldn’t Direct His Special

Maron says Netflix had concerns about hiring Shelton because "she had never directed a comedy special."
Lynn Shelton and Marc Maron
Lynn Shelton and Marc Maron
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Marc Maron continued to honor the legacy of his late collaborator and girlfriend Lynn Shelton in a new interview with The New York Times. Maron and Shelton were living together when Shelton unexpectedly passed away from an unidentified blood disorder in May. Maron appeared in Shelton-directed features “Outside In” and “Sword of Trust,” while Shelton directed select episodes of Maron’s Netflix series “Glow.”

When it came to setting up his 2017 comedy special at Netflix, Maron believed Shelton was the perfect hire for the job. By 2017, Shelton had seven feature films under her belt (including “Your Sister’s Sister” and “Humpday”) and episodes of major television series such as “Mad Men,” “The Mindy Project,” and “Master of None” on her acclaimed résumé. And yet, Maron tells The Times that Netflix was apprehensive about letting Shelton direct his special.

“I told Netflix I wanted her to direct it. They were concerned that she had never directed a comedy special,” Maron said. “I’m like: ‘She’s done seven movies! You think this is rocket science?’ She’d already made ‘Outside In,’ and that’s a little masterpiece. But she was pretty humble. She got what she wanted as an artist from realizing her vision. Her focus was on the work. But half of this game, for most of us, is getting it out there and that’s the hardest part.”

When Netflix wanted to pass on Shelton, Maron held his ground. The comedian went as far as telling Netflix that he would turn the streaming giant down if they wouldn’t agree to have Shelton direct the comedy special. Even then, Netflix still did not want to fully give in.

“I told my manager I won’t do the special if she can’t direct it,” Maron said. “And they came back with, they’re also going to put another director who’s directed specials with her, to guide her through the process. And I said to my manager, that’s not a great look. Especially if they pull out some dude. You’re going to have some guy teach her? That’s ridiculous. Just let her direct it herself. And that’s all.”

Maron was ultimately able to go through with the comedy special with Shelton at the helm. The project debuted in September 2017 under the title “Marc Maron: Too Real.” Maron would again hire Shelton to direct a Netflix comedy special with his “Marc Maron: End Times Fun,” which debuted on the streamer in February of this year.

Shelton and Maron told IndieWire shortly before her passing that they were working on a new project set in the 1970s and inspired by the likes of Andrei Tarkovsky and “Toni Erdmann.” When asked about if the project will continue to move forward, Maron said he’s apprehensive about continuing without Shelton by his side.

“We wrote the draft over a period of years and there’s a lot of funny stuff in it,” Maron said. “We just needed to tighten up this final scene, and it revolves around how this main character dies of cancer. Yeah. So. That was the unfinished business. I’ve gotten some people who are asking me, like, why don’t you finish that script and make it happen? Maybe find another woman to direct it. I don’t know that it would honor her. Because this was always the thing that she was going to direct me in. That was the whole idea of it. It would be upsetting.”

Head over to The New York Times’ website to read more from his latest interview on the life and legacy of Lynn Shelton.

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