News Article

Kramer vs Kramer

The real Cosmo Kramer -- We compare the character with the man he was based on

In 1989, a lanky doofus named Kenny Kramer — a real-life Manhattan neighbor of cocreator Larry David — received $1,000 from Seinfeld for the right to base a character on him. A thousand bucks? Michael Richards makes more lighting a cigar. Now it's payback time. The real Kramer, 53, hosts Kramer's Reality Tour, which includes an NYC bus trip to the Soup Nazi storefront, Tom's Restaurant (a.k.a. Monk's), and other hot spots. Here's a tale of two Kramers.

SCHEMES

KENNY
Hawked flashing-light ''disco'' jewelry in the '80s; pitched a denim tuxedo to Calvin Klein; sold ''Proud to be on Prozac'' T-shirts

COSMO
Too many to list (though we have, on page 53)

STYLE

KENNY
Australian-outback wear and denim; shoulder-length hair for ''a branded identity''; briefs (''my boys need a home too'')

COSMO
Vintage bowling shirts; gravity-defying hair; briefs

ATTEMPTS AT A REAL JOB

KENNY
Stand-up comic; manager of British reggae band; karate coach; promoter of a coloring book on substance abuse

COSMO
H&H bagel boy

STAFF

KENNY
Zack Waldman, a former Howard Stern intern fired for bursting into the studio naked to promote his brother's nightclub (recently promoted to Kenny's ''protege'')

COSMO
Darin, the tie-wearing slave to Kramerica

SEX

KENNY
''A raging heterosexual''; a veteran of ''orgies'' in the '70s; enjoys all positions, not just a ''bottom dweller''

COSMO
Kavorka-empowered chick magnet; likes being on the bottom

BOOK PROJECTS

KENNY
Still shopping his autobiography. Has rejected offers to write a coffee-table book because it would be ''a knockoff.'' (Hey, even Kenny's got his standards.)

COSMO
The coffee-table book with folding legs, among others (see page 38)

CLOWNS

KENNY
Loves 'em; advertises a clown friend — the Magical, Musical Marion — on his website

COSMO
Fears 'em

VICES

KENNY
Can't drink the black stuff; smokes the occasional stogie; has been known to swing a nine iron; didn't even enter the contest — ''I knew I wouldn't win''

COSMO
Caffe latte addict; cigar fiend; golf-a-holic; lost the contest

POLITICAL CAREER

KENNY
Failed campaign for mayor of NYC. Said Larry David at the time, ''I'd vote for him because [he put] the name tag issue into his platform'' (see episode 68).

COSMO
Botched campaign for president of the Seinfeld parents' Florida condo

APARTMENT

KENNY
No hot tub — it's in his building's health club (''I met my accountant'' there); claims Larry David foraged in his fridge; briefly considered building levels

COSMO
Hot tub; no fridge; briefly considered building levels

Originally posted May 04, 1998 Published in issue #430 May 04, 1998 Order article reprints