‘Seinfeld’: Here’s Who Jerry Seinfeld Said Was His Second Choice for Kramer

by Caitlin Berard

For close to a decade, Jerry Seinfeld played the titular character in the iconic show about nothing, Seinfeld. The legendary comedian was surrounded by an incredible, equally hilarious cast, including Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards, not to mention the dozens of other major stars in both recurring and guest roles throughout the show’s 9-season run.

Seinfeld made TV history, changing the face of sitcoms forever. As such, it’s hard to imagine it with even the slightest alteration, let alone a different actor behind one of its leading characters. In a 2020 interview with The Howard Stern Show, Jerry Seinfeld confirmed this idea, stating that “you could never” replace Michael Richards as the quirky Kramer.

However, when Howard Stern presented an alternative, the comedian couldn’t help but agree that there might just be one other person who could have made Kramer a success: Andy Kaufman.

Jerry Seinfeld Heaps Praise on Andy Kaufman

At first, Howard Stern presented Andy Kaufman as a comedian he didn’t think Jerry Seinfeld would enjoy. “It wasn’t jokes,” Stern said of a typical Kaufman performance. “It was more performance art.”

Seinfeld, however, vehemently disputed this idea. “I worshipped Andy Kaufman,” he said. “He was the first comedian I ever heard of on Long Island.”

“That’s why I went into the city to go to these clubs because my friend told me, ‘There’s a guy in New York, he’s going on at this club. He’s playing the bongos he’s crying in rhythm to the bongos!'”

“And I thought, that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard,” he continued with a laugh. “We gotta see this guy! So then I went into Catch a Rising Star to see what it was.”

For Jerry Seinfeld, comedy is similar to music in that the “genre” doesn’t really matter as long as it’s quality content. “If it’s good, we love it,” he explained. “It’s the same with music. You love classical, you love jazz, you love rock. If it’s good, you love it.”

Andy Kaufman Could Have Played Kramer

Hearing Jerry Seinfeld’s adoration for Andy Kaufman, Howard Stern had an idea: Andy would’ve fit in perfectly with the Seinfeld cast. “In the way that Andy was on Taxi with his character is the same kind of thing like Michael Richards [as Kramer],” Stern said. “It was great [and] over the top.”

The Seinfeld star immediately agreed. “It’s funny that you say that,” he said. “Because Michael Richards is one of those parts. You could never cast somebody else.”

“But now that you mention it, Andy [Kaufman] could’ve pulled off Kramer,” Seinfeld continued. “The only name I’ve ever heard that, now that you mention it, the only other guy who could have pulled off Kramer.”