Every year Forbes releases a list of the highest paid entertainers, whether it be sitcom stars, movie stars, or politicians. Just today the magazine released the list of highest paid comedians. From June 2014 – June 2015 the earnings were tallied to determine who the highest stand-up comics are. While there are definitely people on the list that aren’t surprising, there definitely are some shockers. But the combined income of the list is a whopping $166 million.
For starters, the figures are before any splits with agents and management happen and the revenue needs to be mainly earned from the comic’s stand-up/touring efforts and ticket sales. While many on the list TV and movie deals, actually performing and earning their fortune through stand-up predicts the list.
#1: Jerry Seinfeld – $36 million
It’s been nearly two decades since Seinfeld went off the air but that show continues to pay off for the stand-up comedian. Including a significant cut from a Hulu deal. But he’s not resting on his laurels, earning dollars of new tours, films, and internet deals. And here we thought he was in it just for the cars and the coffee.
#2: Kevin Hart – $28 million
Hart has been a big earner in the stand-up world for a while now, selling out what seems like arena after arena. But he opened up an entirely new revenue stream with leading roles in successful movies, landing at #2 on the list.
#3: Terry Fator – $21.5 million
Fator has made this list a few times over the years as the America’s Got Talent winner’s lucrative $20M residency deal with the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas keeps him on the list year after year. And we’ll probably never mention his name again until the next time this list is revealed.
#4(tie): Jeff Dunham – $19 million
Dunham has been raking in the dollars for a while now with lucrative home DVD sales. Now, a residency at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, helps fill the coffers.
#4(tie): Russell Peters – $19 million
Russell Peters earns bank by touring the world and telling his jokes to scores of adoring fans. There’s literally nothing wrong with that. Add on the high profile judging gig on Last Comic Standing last summer and that’s how he made the list.
#6: Aziz Ansari – $9.5 million
Aziz inked a lucrative book deal reported worth a 7 figure advance, add onto that a national tour headlining Oddball, and Aziz’ post-Parks & Recreation career is looking just fine.
#7: Louis C.K. – $9 million
Louis made his millions through a variety of revenue streams, his self-titled TV show, massive tours, a Netflix deal and selling his own merch via his own website, Louie has figured out there’s more than one way to make a buck.
#8: Gabriel Iglesias – $8.5 million
Iglesias is more than just Hawaiian shirts, he’s a touring machine. On the road almost constantly selling out large venues. Fluffy has also started to work on deals with two different TV networks, hosting stand-up shows to introduce people to the next wave of great performers.
#9: John Bishop – $8 million
Bishop earns a lot of his fortune overseas and is popular amongst the Brits. Spots on BBC and an annual Christmas special make him a very wealthy man.
#10: Dave Chappelle – $7.5 million
Chappelle had legendary stand-up status and has started to earning millions once again through his largest tour in years and a role in an upcoming Spike Lee film.