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The Popular Seinfeld Fan Theories That Explain How Kramer Makes Money

Beloved and iconic as "Seinfeld" is, it often stretches the fabric of believability. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Anything that bills itself as "a show about nothing" can pretty easily give itself permission to leave a whole swathe of questions unanswered.

Inspiring many of those questions is one Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards). This is a man with an unlimited supply of zany schemes, who lives in a spacious apartment in New York City's highly desirable Upper West Side, and yet never seems to work. Yes, the character is hilarious, and his schemes set in motion many classic, outlandish events. So many, in fact, that the internet has no shortage of pieces listing off Kramer's best moments (ColliderDecider, and TV Insider, to name a few).

Still, the questions persist. How does Kramer get his money? How does he afford to pay rent, buy food, and just generally live in the most expensive city in the United States? Given that we've been thinking about it for nearly three decades now, perhaps it's no surprise that fans have come up with some strikingly plausible theories out there.

Jerry supports Kramer financially

You can find some of these Kramer theories at the r/FanTheories subreddit. "I think Jerry uses Kramer as his source of material for his jokes," wrote u/mybustersword. It is no news to anyone that the Jerry of "Seinfeld" the show is very much based on elements of Jerry Seinfeld's real life, with his primary source of income being his own very lucrative comedy career. With this as a starting point, the post argues that, with Kramer being such a unique and free-spirited character, Jerry basically pays Kramer's rent as long as he can use the stories of his unhinged antics in his stand-up routines.

The post also offers up a multitude of evidence in support of this arrangement. Take the fact that Jerry and Kramer share keys. Then there's Kramer's fierce loyalty to Jerry, as well the instance where Kramer hung out in his friend's apartment and actually pretended to be Jerry.

The most compelling argument, though, involves the show's format. As u/mybustersword continues: "most episodes start with Jerry doing stand up that relates to the episode plot. The only one that doesn't is the part 2 when Kramer leaves the state and is accidentally a suspect for a serial killer. That does not start with a stand up. As Kramer was not with the group."

It's a solid theory, and there are plenty on the thread who seem to agree with it. However, one, in particular, gives sugar-daddy Jerry a run for its money.

One of Kramer's crazy schemes actually worked

This theory was also posted at r/FanTheories by u/FireflyRodric. "Before Seinfeld begins, one of Kramer's crazy business ideas actually worked, making him wealthy," they wrote. "This is why he never worries about money, and is always trying to come up with a new business idea."

This theory makes explicit reference to a moment in the 8th episode of the 1st season of "Mad About You," in which Paul (Paul Reiser) is revealed to have been subletting his bachelor pad across town. The person he's subletting it to? Kramer, of course. "If the 'Mad About You' connection is to be believed, we know Kramer is renting from Paul Reiser's character. So he must be sitting on a lot of money."

As to where that money came from, it is briefly mentioned by George (Jason Alexander) in Season 4, Episode 15. George says, "People should plunk down $2,000 to live like him for a week: do nothing, fall a** backwards into money, mooch food off your neighbors, and have sex without dating." The post mentions this too, and from there eliminates possible alternative avenues Kramer could have "fallen a** backwards."

Given that he is terrible at negotiating lawsuit settlements (as seen in Season 7, Episode 2, "The Postponement") and that his still-living mother would have inherited any massive amount of money well before him, this leaves, according to u/FireflyRodric, one remaining possibility. It seems like before we even get to know him, one of Kramer's wacky ideas must have hit it big.