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Comedy News: Magic City

I’d been hearing about Starz TV and its “Boss” and “Spactacus” shows so I decided to sign up after seeing a cool ad for a new series set in 1958 Miami, “Magic City”.

Imagine my surprise upon seeing “Magic City” concerns a middle-aged guy, “Ike,” who runs a swanky hotel along with his two sons because, hey, I’m a middle-aged guy who runs a comedy club and sports bar with his two sons. Perhaps the show could have been called “Emerald City” and been about us.

After all, Ike’s Miramar Hotel is in trouble because of a couple hurricanes while the Comedy Underground and Swannies are still recovering from the snow we had in January. Of course, there would be some significant differences:

Ike has a beautiful second wife who lives with him at the hotel but takes no interest in its operation and even gets upset when he has to break a date to meet with a potential financial savior. I have a second wife my own age who lives 800 miles away but remembers every questionable thing I’ve ever done and seldom fails to comment on what’s wrong with the way I run our place.

Lucky for Ike his ex-mother in law is still favorable disposed to him, perhaps in more ways than one, despite them not having had any contact for six years. Come to think of it, my ex-mother in law might have been favorably disposed to me, too, in more ways than one. Hmm.

Ike is willing to seek the help of a very menacing mobster when he experiences union problems that could provoke Sinatra to cancel his New Year’s Eve show at the hotel. I have no one to turn to about our similar problem with aggressive pan handling in front of our place but it’s such a pain that if I knew a menacing mobster I might just give him a call.

By the way, the best line in the first three episodes of “Magic City” was when Sinatra’s manager tells Ike, “If Frank sees one empty seat; he walks.” Talk about ego. I’m glad Rebecca Corry never came up with that one when she used to perform here (although my manager and assistant manager did say they’d walk if I ever booked her again).

One of Ike’s sons successfully hits on every woman who crosses his path including the menacing mobster’s new bride although he seemingly draws a line when he sees his step mom sunbathing in the nude. The other son remains true blue to his single love. That would have described my boys a while back but at the moment they’re both being monogamous, thank God.

The most striking thing about Ike’s relationship with his kids is that they never hit him up for money. Apparently they don’t have cell phones that are about to be turned off. The playboy can even walk away from crashing a girl friend’s car into a pond with complete impunity. Try that in Washington and see what happens.

These kids also always back their dad’s play even when it comes to dealing with situations in which he has no experience, like negotiating with unions. One of mine tells me to stay out of the kitchen because I never worked as a line cook.

I’ve read several reviews of “Magic City” and they generally seem to love the period cars, clothes, décor and manners but find the plot superficial and the nudity superfluous. I remain transfixed though, wanting to shout at Ike, “Why are you putting up with all this shit? What are you getting out of it?”

It’s at times like that I realize the show and my life have a lot more in common than at first viewing.

– Jonathan B. Fox, “supreme commander,”

The Comedy Underground and Swannies Sports Bar.

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