Great Jim Cramer-penned piece in the current NY magazine on ... himself. My friend Jim explains why he is such a polarizing figure, and explains why there is a market for his Mad Money show and its particular brand of "idiocy". But there's much more, with the cogent and brutally honest piece evolving into something ready for the next edition of Karen Horney's classic "The Neurotic Personality of Our Time".
Over the objections of just about everyone at CNBC, Jeff Zucker green-lighted the idea after I made a direct appeal to him. Mad Money debuted that month. On the show, I say stupid things, yell “Booyah” with alarming frequency, and occasionally wear a diaper or jump into a pile of lettuce to illustrate the finer points of investing.
God knows why, but there seems to be a market for this kind of idiocy. In that first year, the ratings took off; the network put the show in not one, not two, but three time slots; I made the cover of Business Week; and less than a year later, I was improbably filling college halls with cheering student fans (for some reason, college kids are an especially eager audience for my show). But sometimes it feels like for every person who likes what I do, there are a dozen who hate me for it. Mad Money has spawned legions of haters, people who write about the show and my character in really negative, sometimes pretty nasty ways. These people accuse me of being a clown or an idiot. Usually, I agree with them. When people ask for my autograph, I instantly hate myself. Half the time I don’t believe I even deserve a television show, and the other half I spend believing that no one is more deserving of a show. Slap me and I’ll change my mind like Faye Dunaway in Chinatown.
It reminds me of a well-known (and somewhat sad) David Letterman-related anecdote from the 1980s:
One evening some years ago, during a commercial break in The Late Show with David Letterman, Terri Garr, one of the guests, attempted to converse with her host. "How are you doing?" she inquired brightly. Letterman, wincing at the loudness of the house band, picked up a pad from his desk, scribbled something down and passed it to her. The note read simply: "I hate myself." Garr tried her best to point out that he was the best in the business - witty, inventive, original. He grabbed the pad again, underlined "I hate myself", and pushed it back.
Disclosure: As usual, I'm wildly conflicted and so you should, if you choose, only read for adverbs. Because I write for the Cramer-founded TheStreet.com, I am a CNBC analyst (where Mad Money appears), and I have appeared on Kudlow & Cramer in the past. I'm sure there's more.