There are two Jerry Seinfelds in popular culture. There’s the real-life Seinfeld, who’s a successful actor and comedian boasting a fortune of $950 million.
On the other hand, there’s the fictionalized version of him, also called Seinfeld, who lives in a world of an NBC sitcom set in New York City. Sounds about as complicated as the Matrix, huh?
But that isn’t the focus here today. The matter at hand involves speculating whether fictional Seinfeld can actually afford to live in the Big Apple by looking at his finances.
Living on a Standup Salary
First, it’s important to determine just how much money Seinfeld makes working as a standup comedian. As some may already know, doing comedy, especially as a relative unknown, doesn’t bring in much of an income.
After all, not everybody can be like the real-life Seinfeld and command a multimillion-dollar pay from one comedy special.
And while many comics today can supplement their salary with other working gigs, the ‘90s were a different time. According to estimates by MarketWatch, Seinfeld would’ve earned around $35,000 as a standup working on the assumption that he enjoyed some popularity in the city’s comedy scene.
Dealing with NYC Rent Prices
The next thing to figure out is how much rent he would’ve paid for his Upper West Side apartment.
It’s safe to assume that living in a neighborhood that nice, rent prices in the area would be among the highest in the city. According to RENTCafé, renting a one-bedroom apartment in today’s Upper West Side would cost around $3,976.
However, renting in Seinfeld’s building would be cheaper at $3,000 a month. In the 90s, he would’ve had to shell out $1,200 to afford it despite the trope that his building was supposedly rent-controlled. In the show, his place only cost a couple hundred dollars.
Considering all of these, it would appear that Seinfeld would’ve had to live from paycheck to paycheck so he can afford his lifestyle in New York City. And that’s assuming he managed to nab a rent-controlled apartment.
That said, it’s hard to believe that he could’ve afforded to drive the kind of cars he did on the show. While he wasn’t an overall big spender, he did own some pretty fancy cars, more specifically a BMW and Saab.
In the end, though, Seinfeld’s television lifestyle doesn’t really have to be realistic. After all, many shows often portray characters living a lifestyle that would be above their means in real life.