July 24, 1998

Mike Costanza, a friend of Jerry's from college, wrote a book in which he claims to be the REAL COSTANZA. It's his claim that Jerry and Larry ripped off his life for the character George. The following is a copy of a post that I sent to the VI news list.

Date: Sat, 11 Jul 1998 23:15:34 -0400
From: kenny kramer <>
Subject: the Costanza article

Hey Fellow Seinfans:

Some weeks ago Dave aka posted a preview of an article by "JR" that was supposedly being written for publication in a national magazine. The gist of it is that Mike Costanza's book "THE REAL SEINFELD AS TOLD BY THE REAL COSTANZA with Greg Lawrence" is an accurate account of the facts regarding the origin of the character George.

According to Mike and "JR", Jerry and Larry ripped Mike off. They based the character George on Mike Costanza and George's parents, Frank and Estelle Costanza, are based on Mike's parents Joe and Millie.

According to "JR", there are two reasons Larry and Jerry have never acknowledged Mike and his parents as the real Costanza's (as they have me, for being the real Kramer.) 1- They would rather screw Mike out of money rather than acknowledge him and have to pay up. 2- Larry David doesn't want anyone to know that he didn't have the talent to create George by himself.

If any of this is true it would be a bigger story than Milli Vinnilli.

Unfortunately for "JR's" story, NONE OF IT IS TRUE.

For weeks in a series of e-mail exchanges I have been articulating to "JR" just how wrong he is. "JR" however seems uninterested in the facts and is continuing to sell his story.

In any event, in our last E-mail exchange I was quite specific in refuting the authenticity of his article.

He must have found this very frustrating because he responded with the letter that follows. Following that is my response which I post here and will publish on my website.

Oh, I should mention... when asked to comment on The Real Costanza book, the statement I have been making is "Mike Costanza is obviously a shameless opportunist who should start a tour". That is what "JR" is referring to in the first paragraph of his letter.

Incidentally, I don't mean to discourage anyone from buying Mike's book. It's an interesting read about an average guy who sees his friend go from humble beginnings to super stardom. I think the problem was that Mike's publisher felt that with the "I was ripped off by Jerry Seinfeld" angle, they would sell a lot of books. Too bad.

One of Mike's big gripes is that Jerry, who had met Mike's parents, based Estelle on his mother. To anyone who reads this and thinks that Mike has a case, I invite you to take my tour and see the actual proof that Estelle Costanza is Larry's mother. One of the highlights of the theater portion of the tour is a 10 minute video of Larry's only television appearance as a stand-up comedian. The bit he does was the geneses for the episode called, "The Contest"- where the cast makes a bet that they can, "refrain from treating their bodies as amusement parks". In the bit, "THE TRIAL" Larry is on trial for masturbation. He plays all the characters. The defense, the prosecutor, the witnesses. One of the witnesses against him, his mother. See for yourself who Estelle is. That material was created in the '70's, ten years before Jerry approached Larry about writing a pilot for NBC.

And now keeping in charcter, I just want to mention, If you are a Seinfan, Kramer's Reality Tour in NYC, or my road show, when it comes to a theater or college near you is a must! I GUARENTEEE you NOT ONLY a great time, but a new insight into the show, which we will all be watching for at least the next 30 years.

All sorts of information is at:

If you want to write I look forward to you comments.

Regards, kk

>Date: Tue, 7 Jul 1998 00:35:34 EDT
>Mime-Version: 1.0
>Subject: Re: Hey DUFUS!!!!!


>Why are you so hot under the collar about this silly stuff?

>So the pot calls the kettle black again. Kenny, when somebody hears you accuse someone else of being a quick-buck opportunist, why is it that somehow it just don't ring true? Check your own image sometime against the reality of how people see you. Are you really as dull-witted as you pretend to be? Don't you know it when you've been played like a fiddle? Your buddy Larry released a statement saying Costanza was just a name that Jerry remembered from college. That's almost a quote, and appears to be a pretty blatant lie to most people who know how to read. If it was just a mistake, why didn't Larry issue a correction? You should know, anyone who rides Larry's coat tails as closely as you do.

>Post that on your Web site and explain it away, pal. What happened? Jerry forgot to tell Larry a few things about his real-life best friend, Costanza, the one who takes off all his clothes in the bathroom? Or is that something that Larry David and Mike Costanza have in common just by coincidence? Give me a break, man. You'll read all about in August.

>Thanks again. You're a colorful character.



You still won't tell me who you are or who you write for. You could be some smart=ass high school kid bustin my balls. However after our last few exchanges, I'm thinkin' you are none other than Greg Lawrence, Mike Costanza's "as told to guy" and the actual author of The Real Seinfeld. If not, you could be a publicist working the book. If you are a journalist as you claim, you certainly are free-wheeling with the truth in your attempt to create a scandal by legitimizing Mike Costanza's, at best, misguided story.

It's obvious your agenda is to make a case for Mike to be viewed as The Real Costanza, a sympathetic figure ripped off by best friend Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, Jerry's neurotic plagiarist co-conspirator.

Why else would you have not followed up and called Jerry's publicist as I suggested. If you check out my tour you could find out all sorts of stuff about The Real George. You would get to see the video of Larry's only TV stand-up appearance, doing his classic bit, "The Trial"...Larry David Defendant: The Charge...MASTURBATION! "Will the prosecution call it's first witness. Call Larry's mother to the stand...Mrs. David to the stand!! Mrs. David to the stand!!!" Larry, portraying his mother in 1982 leaves no doubt who Estelle Costanza is based on. The character was well developed long before NBC thought of asking Jerry if he had any ideas for a TV show. Mike Costanza's claim that the Costanza's are modeled after his parents is ludicrous.

>So the pot calls the kettle black again. Kenny, when somebody hears you accuse someone else of being a quick-buck opportunist, why is it that somehow it just don't ring true? Check your own image sometime against the reality of how people see you. Are you really as dull-witted as you pretend to be?

It's a joke, schmuck! Also happens to be the truth.

Anyone who knows about me or has visited my website knows I have been referring to myself as "a shameless opportunist, cashing in on my illustrious name and branded identity". That's a quote from me from The NY Times 1/18/96. The Real Kramer saying, "Mike Costanza is obviously a shameless opportunist who should start his own RealityTour" is funny. I don't need to check out my image, you need to check out your sense of humor and the facts.

Incidentally, I take umbrage at your "dull-witted" crack as well as the whole tone of your letter. It seems rather inappropriate for you to attack me considering how I responded to all your quires in an honest, forthright and detailed manner. I can't help it if my responses contradict your premise. If "Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David ripped off Mike Costanza's life" is the story you choose to write, so be it. If it is published by a publication with any journalistic integrity, your editor will probably get fired!

Now here's some hot breaking news.

I just got of the phone with Jerry. I called and left a message for him this morning when I first got your "Hey DUFUS" E-mail. He returned my call a few minutes ago. I wanted to hear from him, before I responded to you. I did. Here's what he said. I'm paraphrasing, but basically what he told me is that Mike Costanza's name sounded funny. That's where the similarities end.

Jerry made a point of explaining that in Mike's book, in Mike's own words, he refutes his own claim that he's the real Costanza. If you read the book you know he keeps whining, "Please don't confuse me with George, I'm not George Costanza, I'm not like that." Well, THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT! He's not like George because George has nothing to do with Mike other than his name sounded funny to Jerry.

Jerry further told me, specifically, that he never knew anything about Mike taking his clothes off in the bathroom. On Seinfeld that little incident you are referring to took place in the episode "The Gymnast". In that episode it wasn't about George taking his clothes off; it was about taking just his shirt off when he took a dump. Now here's something you might consider: "The Gymnast" wasn't even written by Jerry or Larry but by Alec Berg and Jeff Schaffer. Two guys who never met Mike and knew nothing about him when they wrote that episode. I would think you should talk to them before you use Mike Costanza's claim that he takes of his clothes when he goes to the bathroom as "proof" of the authenticity of his book.

Mean time, Larry will stand by his statement. As far as he knew Costanza was, the name of a guy that Jerry knew from college. Larry didn't even know Mike was Jerry's friend because Larry and Jerry were not friends. They didn't hang out together and would never see each other except as their paths crossed in the back of comedy clubs.

>Why are you so hot under the collar about this silly stuff?

WHY??? Because you are saying you are about to publish an article stating one of my best friends is liar and a thief. Larry David happens to be a man of great integrity and that's why Seinfeld is the show it is. Because he didn't compromise. I think "silly stuff" is a little too light a characterization for the story you claim to be writing. Not only that but you are doing this after I have spent a lot of time and energy explaining how it was, and how it is. Obviously something you don't want to know about because then you have no story to sell.

If you do get your story published. I'll have a field day commenting on it. Perhaps we could square-off on Crossfire or Larry King Live.

In any event. This letter will be posted on my website as you taunted me to do. I'm also posting it to vandelay-industries.

Thanks for thinkin of me as a colorful character and also for assuring me that I have nothing to worry about because in your article I come out "smelling like a rose".

Mike Castanza and I may be shameless opportunist but you are a shameless oppertunist wanna-be. See ya on the hope.


The real kenny

TO Kenny's: