Kramer Almost Had A Ponytail On Seinfeld. Michael Richards Explains Why He ‘Ditched That Idea’

 Michael Richards on Seinfeld.
Credit: Castle Rock

It’s safe to say one of the best Seinfeld characters would be Jerry’s neighbor and friend, Cosmo Kramer – known for his unpredictability and quirks. But another quality of Kramer’s that still hasn’t escaped our minds is his zany, yet original look. This includes his teased up hair, but if you can picture it, the character of Kramer almost donned a ponytail, and Michael Richards, who played the role, has explained why he “ditched the idea.”

Cosmo Kramer was without a doubt a ‘90s TV character who was an outrageous dresser. An original hipster, Jerry’s mooching neighbor wears clothes that look like they came out of a thrift shop. And don’t get me started on his hair that looks like, as Elaine Benes describes in one episode, “the bride of Frankenstein.” Michael Richards, who played Kramer for nine seasons, spoke on The Rich Eisen Show about creator Larry David’s vision for his character's appearance:

When I started out and they were casting, Larry [David] was still close to Kenny Kramer as he visualized the Kramer character, and he suggested I wear a ponytail ‘cause Kenny wore a ponytail. But I broke that off quickly as I started to get into Cosmo Kramer.

Kenny Kramer was an American stand-up comedian who lived next door to Larry David just like Cosmo Kramer did Jerry. However, the sitcom actor made sure not to meet the real-life inspiration so he could make the role his own. It looks like shedding Kramer from having to wear a ponytail for every episode was another way for him to mold his original take on the memorable character.

It turns out that having Cosmo Kramer wear a ponytail throughout Seinfeld presented more challenges than it was worth. Michael Richards spoke more about why it was best to just “ditch the idea” altogether, saying,

Well I couldn’t grow it out in time and I didn’t want to wear a fake one, although I considered, ‘Hmm, a fake one. It could fall off at times.’ And we see that it’s fake and he’s very concerned about this fake ponytail. But it falls off and he has to stick it in his pocket, and that’s an interesting cover. That could lead to comedy. But I ditched that idea and just decided to go into something more personal. I pulled the hair out, put some gunk in and let that fly.

Don’t get me wrong, that would have been an incredibly funny Seinfeld moment if Kramer’s ponytail, which he’d presumably have worn in many episodes, was revealed to be a fake the whole time. It definitely wouldn’t have been out of left field behavior for the New Yorker, known for coming up with absolutely ridiculous schemes, to create ponytail extensions for men with hardly any hair.

However, Michael Richards had the right idea to create his upright wavy hairstyle that matched Kramer’s absurdity and free-spiritedness. If Andy Kaufman could have played Kramer during the show’s run, I wonder how he would have felt about the original ponytail idea.

Michael Richards arguably made the right move coming up with a unique look that perfectly fit the eccentric character. You can see Kramer and his “Bride of Frankenstein” hair in one of the best TV sitcoms of all time on your Netflix subscription.