Both, says Cramer, a 50-year-old former hedge fund manager who also cofounded TheStreet.com. There is a philosophy to the orchestrated chaos of the show, Cramer says, in his distinct, suburban Philadelphia accent. People need to know more about the stock market. So I say, Let me help you. Let me inform you and entertain you, and I think youll make better investments.
Maybe hes right. Maybe hes just nuts. Either way, Jim Cramer is doing something else thats unique among todays business TV offerings hes making investing seem fun again. Thats not an easy task in this market. Investors ears are still ringing from the bursting of the 1990s tech bubble. Plus, a parade of corporate scandals has left many individual investors unwilling to trust corporate America. Maybe thats why the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been flat for almost a year and why trading volume isnt growing as exponentially as it was just a few years ago.
We may be in one of those moments where people dislike stocks too much, Cramer says from his Wall Street office, perched just above the New York Stock Exchange building. The scandals were so numbing. People think the market is now an insiders game. He suddenly pounds the table in front of him, and shouts, Its not, and I can tell them its not. There is a lack of enthusiasm right now, but Im going against it.
The cuff links are a surprise. On camera, Cramer is wrinkled and rumpled. Always. His hair whats left of it, anyway is unkempt. And he never, ever wears a jacket. So, when he meets me one morning, shortly after the opening bell has rung on Wall Street, Im surprised to find him wearing what looks like an expensive, purple, French cuff shirt with gold-and-onyx cuff links. Im also surprised to see that Cramer is well groomed and pressed. He wont stay that way. About six hours after our interview, Cramer will film Mad Money the show tapes just about an hour before it airs and by then hell look like hes spent the day tumbling in a clothes dryer.