If sitcom characters lived in L.A., could they afford the rent?

Paying rent can be a problem, whether you’re an Angeleno or a sitcom character.

The cultural zeitgeist has long been suspicious of certain characters’ ability to afford their apartments, namely the crews from “Seinfeld” and “Friends.” After all, New York holds 27 of the country’s 50 most expensive ZIP Codes for renters.

Could their fictional pocketbooks afford a place in L.A.?

Analyzing the hypothetical salaries, rents and living expenses of 30 sitcom characters, custom furniture company Joybird found that 60% wouldn’t be able to afford their lifestyles. The list includes Kramer from “Seinfeld”; Monica, Rachel, Phoebe and Joey from “Friends”; and Mac, Dennis and Charlie from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

The findings cross-reference Zillow housing data with salary estimates for the characters’ jobs. For example, Rachel from “Friends” would make an estimated $1,176 a month as a waitress, but her Greenwich Village apartment would likely set her back $3,250 a month.

A move to Southern California probably wouldn’t help. In Los Feliz’s 90027 ZIP Code, the average apartment of any size costs $2,265.


Monica, however, could probably make rent in L.A. As a chef, her estimated monthly salary is $3,872. It might require tight budgeting, but she could afford a place in downtown L.A.’s 90012 ZIP Code, where the average apartment rents for $2,574.

Ross, who works as a paleontologist for an estimated $6,244 a month, would have a bit more flexibility.

He could head to Santa Monica’s 90401 ZIP Code, where the average apartment costs $3,682, or he could spend most of his paycheck to live in California’s priciest ZIP Code — Westwood’s 90024, where the average apartment costs $4,883.

In “Seinfeld,” Jerry pulls in an estimated $3,750 per month as a comedian and pays $1,850 for his NYC apartment. If he wanted to live next to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in the 90028 ZIP Code, he’d have to shell out $2,803 per month.

Manhattan digs will always cost a fortune, but unlike comparable West Coast units, some areas are getting cheaper. Although the borough holds 26 of the country’s 50 priciest ZIP Codes for renters, nine saw decreases in rental price averages year over year.

In contrast, California ZIPs make up 18 of the top 50 spots, and each one saw rent prices rise when compared with the previous year.

Three Bay Area ZIP Codes experienced the biggest surges in lease averages. In Sunnyvale’s 94085 ZIP Code, the average lease price rose 10.2% year-over-year, while ZIP Codes in Corte Madera and Mountain View climbed 9.2% and 6.8%, respectively.

In L.A., the mid-Wilshire ZIP Code of 90048 saw the largest average rent increase at 6%, followed by Santa Monica’s 90401 at 5.8%. | Twitter: @jflem94