By Christina Basken
Kenny Kramer is a real-life person who became famous thanks to a TV character named Cosmo.
On Thursday Kramer will take the stage in Oshkosh to explain how his life became a part of Jerry Seinfeld’s and what he has done since to make the most of his brush with fame.
“The show will be funny, interesting and informative,” said Kramer, who will be performing at the Grand at 7:30 p.m.
“I’ll be talking about how my neighbor Larry David, who lived across from me for almost six years, sat there and took notes,” said Kramer. David is the comedian and writer who teamed up with Seinfeld to create the hit show “Seinfeld” which included a character named Cosmo Kramer.
“The next thing I know those notes ended up as stories and adventures on ‘Seinfeld,’” said Kramer. “I’m going to be describing a bunch of those, talking about how real life translated into episodes of the show.”
Even though Kenny does not play the role of Kramer on Seinfeld, he speaks highly of actor Michael Richards’ performance of Cosmo Kramer.
“If I were to play Kramer, this thing would have gone right down the tubes because he’s a funny guy who is a genius with physical comedy and that ingredient is what brought accessibility to kids of all ages,” said Kramer.
“We became friends. We get along great.” Kramer even went house hunting with Richards in California.
“He was looking at this house. It was a beautiful house, and it was after this big earthquake in L.A., and I laughed and said, ‘Michael, look at that house over there, and look at the house on the other side of this house you want to buy. They’re both destroyed. This is a fault line. Don’t you see that?”
Kramer said he was retired by the time Seinfeld survived a shaky start to become popular, helped along by the demise of the long-running hit “Cheers.”
“The ‘Cheers’ TV show audience discovered Seinfeld, and the show started getting more ratings than ‘Cheers,’” Kramer recalled. He also noticed that “this Kramer character started capturing the attention of everyone.”
That led to a moment of inspiration. “All of a sudden, I’m realizing that this character who’s based on me is becoming the biggest thing in the history of television, and I figured I’m enough of an entrepreneur that I’d be a jerk if I didn’t cash in on this!”
For the last 22 years, Kramer has been doing just that with Kramer’s Reality Tour, an idea that came to him when a Gray Line Sightseeing bus drove by.
“When people found out the character Kramer is based on me, they were curious, so I said, ‘Why don’t I have a Seinfeld Reality Check’? That was my idea, to tell stories about what happened in real life that were used in the show,” said Kramer.
“As I had that thought, at that very moment, a Gray Line Sightseeing bus passed under my window and a light bulb went off and I said, ‘A tour! It’s going to be a tour of sights and places that were on the show that were things that happened that made it into an episode!’”
Seinfeld even aired an episode of Cosmo Kramer doing a sightseeing tour called “Peterman Reality Bus Tour.”
“They got all the ingredients of the tour right, and it’s funny because they had a scene where Michael walked in saying, ‘Check it out, check it out,’ handing out flyers, and I got to look at the flyer and it was my flyer,” Kramer said.
“They scanned it and put Michael’s face over mine, and everywhere it said ‘Kramer’ they changed it to ‘Peterman.’ It was amazing that they were going into such detail for something that would probably never be seen except maybe by me.”
Kramer said he is looking forward to his first show in Wisconsin.
“Oshkosh has a reputation for having very nice people, and everyone that I’ve met has been very nice and I’m thrilled to be here.”
To learn more about Kramer’s Reality Tour, visit kennykramer.com.
Photo: Kenny Kramer previews his show at the Grand. Copyright Christina Basken 2017. All rights reserved.