2018-02-08 18:56:36 UTC
People chase money and fame so they can live like Jimmy Buffett. Beaches,
margaritas, cheeseburgers, sea captain hats. The thing is, as a new profile in
the New York Times outlines, Buffett hasnt been a card-carrying resident of
Margaritaville in years. He has an apartment in New York Citys bustling
Columbus Circle, finds refuge in shopping malls, quit smoking pot in favor of
occasional vaping, and only consumes sugar on Sundays. He calls Warren Buffet
Uncle Warren; not because theyre related, but because theyre friends and are
very, very rich.
Thats not to call him a sell-out or any such thing. In Taffy
Brodesser-Akners thorough profile, she paints Buffett as a workhorse devoted to
maintaining the quality of a brand that, while built on a fantasy, has nearly
spiraled out of control. Only Krusty The Clown surpasses Buffett in the sheer
volume of their branded products.
I think it was just the way I was brought up in a seafaring family, he says.
I wanted to be in charge, like a captain of the boat.
And, god bless him, hes really trying to uphold the vision of paradise his
music (some of which, the piece points out, is actually quite sad) imparts to
loyal Parrotheads. These days, thats through his multi-million dollar Broadway
musical, Escape to Margaritaville, which he likens more to Rocky Horror than he
does a traditional musical.
As Brodesser-Akner recounts:
For the past week, hed been having meetings with the bartenders and food and
beverage managers at the theater. Its not enough to sell someone a margarita.
You have to make sure they feel like theyre on island time, too. I wrote a
note to the team and I said, I appreciate everything everybodys doing but what
Im doing here, youve got to understand the uniqueness of where were doing
this show in the Marquis Theater with a hotel attached with 1,800 rooms. Its
like vertical tailgating.
Hes going to speak with the ushers, too. Theyre like 60 years old, up to 80.
They come out and tell you, Youve got to sit down! and You cant do this.
You cant do that. Its like having a schoolteacher. Mr. Buffett wants his
ushers to understand that this show is more like Rocky Horror than a
conventional musical. Theres an opportunity here to give people a really
great, full experience, he told them. Theyve paid money to be here. They
And this exemplifies a struggle: Creating the illusion of leisure takes a
shitload of work. If theres one sentiment youll be left with after reading
its that Buffett could really use a vacation. But youll also be left knowing
he probably wouldnt be able to enjoy it.