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Kelsey Grammer as fictional Chicago Mayor Tom Kane

Good Grammer?

by Rebecca Taras | Men's Book Chicago magazine | July 10, 2012

Even with Chicago’s history of colorful mayors, it’s fair to say that Tom Kane takes the cake as the most outrageous personality to ever preside over City Hall. The fictional “Man on Five” played by Kelsey Grammer in the hit Starz series Boss is a lying, cheating scoundrel—but maybe that’s what makes the show, which begins its second season on Aug. 17, so watchable. “What’s great about Chicago’s reputation for being a corrupt city is that it goes on for over a century, so it’s not like we’re pointing the finger at anybody,” Grammer said when we caught up with him at an oddly appropriate location—the Humidor of Westmont for the launch of its swanky new Davidoff Lounge (Grammer no longer smokes stogies, but does offer that they’re “best enjoyed after a satisfying meal, and outside”). “We chose the city for the backdrop of this human story because of its operatic, corrupt history. It’s a hotbed for intrigue, betrayal and privy councils, and stuff that we thought might be a 400-year-old, or even 2,000-year-old theme, that’s crystallized in this town.”

It’s not all on-screen backroom deals and excess when Grammer, who’s also executive producing the show, is in town filming, though. Much healthier than Kane, he enjoys walks with his dogs along the lakefront, shopping with his family and trips to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game—though he does, in an effort to be diplomatic, try to check out the Sox as well. When it comes to holding mayoral court, he can often can be found enjoying a steak at Gibsons. “I don’t,” Grammer says when asked how he gets into character for the role. “I just go to work. Tom Kane is a delight to play. He is certainly corrupt through and through, but there is a redeeming value somewhere. We just haven’t found it yet.

Grammer’s Hots
“My wife Kayte and our growing family; that’s what I treasure.”

Grammer’s nots
“The overuse of words like ‘mantra.’”
“The Internet can be a little annoying.”