When it comes to sitcom icons, Seinfeld’s Cosmo Kramer is pretty high on the list. He’s the ultimate wacky neighbor character, with his “hipster doofus” fashion sense, his intrusive behavior, his crazy hairdo, his inexplicable source of income, his insane “get rich quick” schemes, and of course, his unforgettable entrance.
Plus, Michael Richards played the character with pitch-perfect comic timing and wit. One of the most renowned aspects of the Kramer character was his off-key remarks. He’d come out with some wild stuff that made him perhaps the most quotable character on the show. So, here are the 10 Best Cosmo Kramer Quotes.
10 “It was like l was swimming through a flabby-armed spanking machine.”
After Larry David left the show following its seventh season, a lot of fans noted that Jerry Seinfeld, now the only one steering the ship, made the show a whole lot weirder and more absurd. It was still funny, and there was a lot to be enjoyed, but it was a marginally different show.
That’s exemplified in the season 8 episode “The Nap,” in which George starts taking naps under his desk, Jerry phones in a bomb threat, and Kramer starts swimming in the East River after an unfortunate trip to the public pool, eventually starting a trend among fellow New Yorkers.
9 “The bus is outta control!”
Kramer’s whole monologue in the episode “The Fire” about his quest to save his girlfriend’s severed toe is so brilliantly performed by Michael Richards.
Even though the show doesn’t depict it, he acts it so well that you feel like you were there. “I jumped on the bus. I told the driver, ‘I got a toe here, buddy – step on it!’ Then all of a sudden, this guy pulls out a gun. Well, I knew any delay is gonna cost her her pinky toe, so I got out of the seat and I started walking towards him. He says, ‘Where do you think you’re going, Cracker Jack?’ I said, ‘Well, I got a little prize for ya, buddy.’ Pow! Knocked him out cold! Then everybody is screaming, because the driver, he’s passed out because of all the commotion. The bus is outta control! So, I grab him by the collar, I take him out of the seat, I get behind the wheel, and now, I’m driving the bus.”
8 “You’re a rabid anti-dentite!”
As silly as the idea of the “anti-dentite” is – someone who has a prejudice against dentists – it does make a statement about bigotry. Kramer vehemently defends dentists’ rights in the face of what he thinks is intolerance from Jerry.
“You think that dentists are so different from me and you? They came to this country just like everybody else, in search of a dream...Oh, it starts with a few jokes and some slurs. ‘Hey, denty!’ Next thing you know, you’re saying they should have their own schools!” At this point, Jerry, of course, says, “They do have their own schools.”
7 “You’re just as pretty as any of them. You just need a nose job.”
Kramer has long been established as a guy who just comes out and says what he’s thinking. He has no filter between what he thinks and what he says, which leads to some hilarious comic situations.
Jerry, George, and Elaine have all said privately that George’s new girlfriend needs to get a nose job, but of course, since they have at least a little bit of sense, none of them would actually say it. And then Kramer just comes right out with it when she’s talking about all the pretty women in New York: “You’re just as pretty as any of them. You just need a nose job.”
6 “Look away, I’m hideous!”
When Kramer is kicked out of Monk’s Café for smoking a cigar, he decides to start a sort of smokers’ club in his apartment for everyone who have been cast out into the street to do their smoking outside. However, being around second-hand smoke 24 hours a day doesn’t have a great effect on his health, and he ends up with yellow teeth and a wrinkled face.
He looks at himself in Jerry’s toaster and he’s genuinely horrified with what he sees. He cries out, “Look away, I’m hideous!” This scene is one of the ones with the most outtakes, since Jerry Seinfeld kept cracking up at Michael Richards’ line delivery.
5 “Marriage? Family? They’re prisons! Manmade prisons! You’re doing time!”
In the season 7 episode “The Engagement,” George thinks he and Jerry have made a pact to both get married, and when Jerry backs out of it and he’s stuck in an engagement, he’s unhappy. But Jerry backed out very quickly after hearing what Kramer had to say about the institutions of marriage and family.
“Marriage? Family? They’re prisons! Manmade prisons! You’re doing time! You get up in the morning, she’s there. You go to sleep at night, she’s there. It’s like you gotta ask permission to use the bathroom. ‘Is it all right if I use the bathroom now?’”
4 “Who turns down a Junior Mint?”
Michael Richards won his first Emmy Award for his portrayal of Kramer in the season 4 episode “The Junior Mint.” Funnily enough, when the crew was filming the scene in which the Junior Mint falls in the operating theater and lands inside the guy, they found that a Junior Mint would be too small to read on camera, and so they had to use a York Peppermint Pattie instead.
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This is just one, but there are a ton of great quotes in the episode, and one of them was improvised by Jerry Seinfeld: “Then we can go watch ‘em slice this fat b****** up.”
3 “I’m out there, Jerry, and I’m loving every minute of it!”
After a doctor tells him he has a low sperm count, Kramer considers changing the type of underwear he wears. But he doesn’t like the looseness of boxers and the jockeys are too tight on his “boys,” so he’s left with just one option. As Jerry explains to Elaine, “The only thing between him and us is a thin layer of gabardine.”
This storyline was in the season 6 episode “The Chinese Woman,” in which Jerry finds that a white woman named Donna Chang enjoys the fact that people assume she’s Chinese from her name, only to be shocked when they actually meet her.
2 “You contribute nothing to society!”
Kramer is the last person to be telling this to somebody, but that’s what he says when he’s breaking up with his girlfriend. The whole episode, his storyline is shot from the woman’s perspective. At first, he berates her, but by the end, he begging her to take him back.
Initially, he tells her, “I must have been out of my mind. Look at you. Why don’t you do something with your life? Sit around here all day – you contribute nothing to society! You’re just taking up space. How could I be with someone like you? I couldn’t respect myself.”
1 “I’m Cosmo Kramer, the Assman!”
When Kramer is given the “ASSMAN” vanity plates, he doesn’t want them. He can see that there’s been some kind of mix-up and he doesn’t want to be associated with this crude nickname. But when the clerk at the DMV tells him that according to the state of New York, he is the Assman, he has no choice but to take them.
Later, he comes to embrace his new nickname. He realizes it helps him pick up women and he can get a good parking space at the hospital by pretending to be a proctologist. By the end, he loves being the Assman.