Netflix’s women’s wrestling comedy GLOW is now streaming, and the show is overflowing with a diverse cast of misfits just waiting for you to fall in love with them. The show’s unlikeliest’s hero is the director of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, Sam Sylvia. A former B-movie king, Sam is tasked with making GLOW a reality, but who is playing the man behind that impressive ’80s mustache? GLOW’s Sam Sylvia is played by comedian Marc Maron, a name you have no doubt heard before.
Maron is best known for his hit podcast WTF with Marc Maron and his self-titled IFC comedy, the irreverent Maron. As you can tell, the comedian is his own brand. Thanks to his distinctive dry, culturally savvy sense of humor, it’s not hard to tell when you’re watching something Maron is involved in. While he’s not credited as a writer on GLOW, he brings the same sense of self-deprecation and wit to the role of Sam as he has to all of his previous characters. This isn’t the actor’s first time starring in a Netflix series either. After you watch him help GLOW‘s team of lady wrestlers prepare for their TV debut, you should check out his episode of Joe Swanberg’s cultural anthology series Easy.
While Sam feels so fully realized onscreen you’ll be convinced he is based on a real person, Maron’s GLOW character is entirely fictional. The real GLOW did have a famous B-movie director guiding it to TV, but his name was Matt Cimber. The real-life director was known for his ’70s blaxploitation films, like The Candy Tangerine Man, and his marriage to Jayne Mansfield before he turned his attention to creating the women’s wrestling show in the ’80s. Sam and Cimber both have a history of failed marriages and creating cult classics, but that’s where the similarities end. GLOW‘s director seems to have inspired Sam, but Sam and his journey in the Netflix series is quite different from Cimber’s story. In the 1990s, Cimber began writing and directing documentaries, and he’s still working today.
Who knows where Sam will end up if Netflix renews the series for a second season — which it really should — but given his drug use and constant self-doubt, it’s safe to say the road ahead of him won’t be an easy one, especially once GLOW takes off and he’s faced with all the temptations fame brings. One thing is certain, wherever Maron takes the character next is sure to be a fascinating and heartbreakingly funny place.