It’s enough to make one wonder just how calculated Cramer’s over-the-top, on-camera persona is. Mad Money’s producer, Susan Krakower, says that Cramer is equal parts stock savant and showman. “Jim has more stocks in his brain than anyone I’ve ever met,” she says. “He also has great timing. The guy is a performer at heart.”

When I ask Cramer whether he’s performing more than just being himself on Mad Money, he gets surprisingly quiet and thoughtful. “I don’t know,” he says. “I mean, I’m not always that way. On Saturday mornings, I like to garden. On Sundays I want to go fishing. But my wife tells me that there’s a certain aspect of my personality that’s always ‘on.’ I think that comes out on camera.”

Suddenly, Cramer turns up the volume again. He does that — speaks normally one minute and starts SHOUTING the next. “I love the fans,” he says. “I love the interaction with the audience and the excitement. And what you see on the show is how I was at the hedge fund. I had no chair there. I’d just stand in front of my screens and scream all day long. My partner, Jeff Berkowitz, would come in and say, ‘You’ve gotta shut up, man.’”

That’s about the same way Nicholas Maier,­ a former hedge fund employee, felt about Cramer. He wrote a book, Trading with the Enemy: Seduction and Betrayal on Jim Cramer’s Wall Street, that detailed Cramer’s crazy corporate behavior and obsession with the stock market. Maier says that on their first meeting, Cramer pointed to his stock-trading terminals and declared, “This is my life. All I think about is the stock market, the stock market, and then I think about the stock market.”