Imagine having your wedding officiated by “Kramer”, the quirky character from the hit 1990s television sitcom Seinfeld. Surprisingly, reality might not be so far-removed from fiction: it turns out Kenny Kramer, the real-life inspiration behind the fictional Cosmo Kramer, has become a minister in the Universal Life Church Monastery to perform wedding ceremonies for anybody who wants an alternative to the traditional ceremony. The Rev. Kramer joins a host of other celebrity ministers, including Conan O’Brien, Fran Drescher, and Kathy Griffin, who have an online ordination through the ULC Monastery.
Online ordination was a natural step for the offbeat, unconventional Kramer, who has been a living tourist attraction on New York streets for a number of years now. Since 1996, he has been running his own “Kramer Reality Tour”, taking visitors on trips to the real-life locations in the world of Seinfeld, and before becoming a minister he was a stand-up comic, reggae band member, and disco jewelry salesman. The idea to get ordained online came during a trip to Cabo San Lucas, where his girlfriend performs as a musician at wedding ceremonies. “I thought, ‘I could do this much better than them’”, he jokingly told the New York Daily News. “I did 10 years as a comic. And I can pretend to be very sensitive—wait, don’t print that!” In pursuit of his dream, the Reverend finally obtained his license to legally officiate weddings in New York on 6 June.
Like many other celebrity ministers, Kramer does not take his job so seriously that his weddings become boring or staid affairs mired in solemn tradition; rather, he infuses his ceremonies with his own brand of humor and lighthearted commentary, in the same way as comedians like Joan Rivers (who has also become a minister in the Universal Life Church). “So here in New York, if I say you are man and wife, you’re married…although I was thinking that I could give a one-year warranty”, he told the Daily News, joking that “[i]f it doesn’t work out in the first year, I’ll give you credit for another wedding.”
Despite his jocular, lighthearted approach to weddings, Kramer has also revealed a commitment to justice and equality. According to the Daily News, he is also open to performing same-sex weddings. This means such weddings with receive full legal equality with others, since New York State recognizes the legal status of both same-sex weddings and online ordination. In addition, the recent repeal of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act means the weddings will also be recognized by the U.S. federal government.
The Universal Life Church Monastery would like to congratulate the Rev. Kramer on his new career path as a minister ordained online and extend its best wishes to those he marries. It is not always easy to become a minister, especially when you veer off the beaten path to walk a new one; nor is it easy when you have a history as a stand-up comic or a connection with popular culture. If ministers like Kramer prove anything, though, it is that marriage need not follow a pre-determined script to have meaning and relevance.
Those who would like to be married by Kramer can reach him at www.kennykramer.com.