These 10 Highest Paid Comedians In The World Will Make You Laugh

By Stephen Loke and Abhinandan Lawati

It isn’t an easy task to make people laugh. It is even more difficult to do so in front of thousands of them. It usually take comedians many years to climb up the ladders of success and earn steady money. But if you can succeed in making people laugh non stop, they pay you really well. Our society is certainly a very stressed one. Laughter is perhaps the best medicine. However, comedians are not immune to human problems. We are sad to hear of the death of Robin Williams. Many thanks to him for making us laugh. We will always remember this great comedian.

The list we have formulated below is based on the latest report from Forbes. You can view Forbes list here. It is mostly based on the comedians’ earnings from stand up tours and merchandise sales. Hope that explains the exclusion of stars like Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey. 

Before we begin the list, here are some interesting facts about the comedians: 

  • The combined earnings of the 10 highest paid comedians in the world stands at $173 million. Who says telling jokes has no future?
  • Jerry Seinfeld is not only the highest earning comedian in the world. He is also the richest. The man boasts a net worth of $800 million.
  • The typical stand up comedian in a bar can make $100-$200 per 45 minute show. The cost will depend on how popular and well known the comedian is.
  • Cruise ship comedians reportedly can earn around $500 - $1500 per show.
  • Russell Peters used to date Bollywood actress, Sunny Leone. Sunny Leone is a well known actress in the adult entertainment industry.
  • Although David Copperfield is popularly known as a magician, his stage acts incorporates a lot of comedies. This is one of the reason he stands out among the rest. The man uses magic, mystery and laughter to keep audiences entertained.
  • Jeff Dunham is adopted. He was raised by devout Christians and he is their only child.
  • Robin Williams, one of the greatest comedians on earth committed suicide and died on August 11 2014. 
  • Robin Williams was reportedly worth $130 Million but in recent years Williams declared that he was almost at the point of bankruptcy. At the time of his death, he left behind $50 Million according to Forbes.
  • Men usually dominate the comedian market. However there are many famous women comedian such as Jenny Slate, Amy Schumer, Chelsea Peretti, Shelby Fero and June Diane Raphael. Women are beginning to make a bigger impact in this arena.

1. Jerry Seinfeld

Annual Earnings : $32 million

According to Forbes, Jerry Seinfeld reportedly earned around $32 million in the previous year. The man benefited mostly from his stand up acts and the sitcom Seinfeld which is named after him. According to Forbes, Seinfeld in 2004 earned $267 million from Seinfeld. It is also reported that he declined an offer of $5 million per episode to continue the 10th season of Seinfeld which has 22 episodes. Seinfeld is not only the highest paid comedian, he is the richest of them all with a net worth estimated to be around $800 Million. Not only that, with $800 Million, he is now the wealthiest actor alive.

Watch the richest comedian perform below.

2. Terry Fator

Annual Earnings : $24 million

Terry Fator initially gained prominence after winning America’s Got Talent in 2007. He is able to do more than 100 ventriloquist impersonations using 16 different puppets in his shows. His success in the comedy scene stems from the smart combination of ventriloquism and singing, making him a unique show person. When he entered America's Got Talent, he never dreamed of winning it. His purpose was to get exposure and fame if he got in the top 20 spot. The show changed his life when he won the competition. The judges, Sharon Osbourne, David Hasselhoff and Piers Morgan loved his performance. Even Simon Cowell praised him for the brilliant performance that he displays. The ventriloquist currently enjoys a lucrative deal with Las Vegas’s Mirage Hotel. The 5 year contract is known to be worth an astounding $100 million. 

Terry Fator on America's Got Talent.

3. Russell Peters

Annual Earnings : $21 million

Russell Peters is truly a global superstar. He enjoys worldwide recognition and he initially worked his way up through YouTube. The Canadian has even managed to sell out concerts in popular venues such as Madison Square Garden and London’s 02 Arena. He won the Gemini Award in 2008. Russell Peters started his career in Toronto but is now famous worldwide having performed all over the world including Asia, Africa and the Middle East. So great was his popularity that he was able to break a few records. He broke the United Kingdom's comedy sales record when he sold 16,000 tickets in 2009 at London's 02 Arena. He also had the largest stand up comedy in Australian history when he entertained 13,880 people.

4. Jeff Dunham 

Annual Earnings : $19 million

Jeff Dunham is another ventriloquist who found fame and fortune making people laugh. He is well known for his ventriloquist Achmed The Dead Terrorist. The man has appeared in many popular shows which include the Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show and Comedy Central Presents. Such was his ability that called him "America's Favorite Comedian". Not only is he a brilliant entertainer, Jeff Dunham also has a good business mind. He has sold more than 4 million copies of his DVD. Besides that, the man has also sold more than $7 million worth of merchandise. He is also immensely popular on YouTube raking in more than 125 million hits on his official YouTube channel. To date, his has more than 500,000 subscribers on YouTube. Watch a sample of his performance in the video below which has more than 21 million views.

5. Louis C.K

Annual Earnings : $16 million

Louis C.K, his real name Louis Szekely is the brains behind the Emmy-winning show Louie. The man is one of the first comedians to sell digital downloads of their comedy specials. From the sales of his comedy special, he grossed $4.5 million under just 45 hours. This talented man has been nominated for at least 25 Primetime Emmy Awards winning the Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special. His first attempt at stand up comedy was a complete failure but he eventually build up his career to be the opening act for Jerry Seinfeld and hosting comedy clubs. As his fame grow, he frequently performed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Today, besides being a comedian, Louis C.K also does acting and directing.

6. Kevin Hart

Annual Earnings : $14 million

Kevin Hart has been steadily climbing up the ladders to success. His mock reality show, Real Husbands of Hollywood, has been a huge hit. It managed to bring in 4.1 million viewers with its pilot episode. His DVD Laugh At My Pain has also been able to garner over $8 million since its release. Kevin Hart started his career by winning a few amateur comedy competitions. This caught the attention of Judd Apatow who gave him a recurring role on the TV series Undeclared. His talent soon landed him in films such as Scary Movie 3, Soul Plane, Little Fockers and Grudge Match. Kevin is the winner of the Best Actor In A Comedy Series award by NAACP Image Awards for his work in Real Husbands of Hollywood.

7. Larry the Cable Guy

Annual Earnings : $13 million

Daniel Whitney is recognized more by his stage name Larry the Cable Guy rather than his actual name. The man is prominent worldwide for his portrayal of the protagonist in Larry the Cable Guy. The character of Larry in which he speaks in a Southern slang and regularly uses the catchphrase "Git-R-Done!", has brought fame and fortune to him. He has also been able to bring home cool earnings from merchandise and tours. To date, Whitney has released 7 comedy albums. 3 of these albums have sold more than 500,000 copies.

8. George Lopez

Annual Earnings : $12 million

George Lopez is famous for starring as himself in the sitcom George Lopez. His comedy often bring in elements of ethnic and race relations which included Mexican American culture. Besides being a comedian, George Lopez also dons the hat of a writer. To date, the comedian has written 2 books, with his recent book I’m Not Going to Lie earning him good money. George also has lucrative partnership deals with Punchliner Comedy Club. Outside of comey, Lopez is famous for his feuds and criticisms of other famous stars. He has publicly criticized Jay Leno, Erik Estrada, Carlos Mencia and Kristie Alley. This has led to many controversies. Lopez has also contributed his talents in animations such as The Smurfs 2 where he voiced Grouchy Smurf and Rio 2 where he voiced Rafael.

9. Daniel Tosh

Annual Earnings : $11 million

Daniel Tosh is widely popular for being the host of Comedy Central. The man also has quite a following on social media sites. He reportedly earned around $11 million from various sources in the past year. The son of a preacher, Tosh ventured into the comedy scene right after college. Tosh made a controversial statement in his website, that if he did not became a successful comedian by his 38th birthday, he would commit suicide or retire to the beach. He also put a countdown timer on his site. On his birthday, fans all over voted that he had achieved his dream to become a successful entertainer.

10. Gabriel Iglesias

Annual Earnings : $11 million

Now here is a guy who uses his weakness as his strength. Being a fat guy, he used his fatness as a catchy phrase in his comedy routines. The phrase " "Oh, I'm not fat, I'm fluffy" is a trademark in his shows. He also states there are different levels of fatness with 6 degrees of it. Gabriel Iglesias is now a household name in the comedy industry. The man is widely known for his stand-up tours. He also helps upcoming comedians by giving them a start in his Comedy Central Showcase. The comedian also earns a lot from DVD sales. Besides being a comedian, he has also appeared in a number of films such as Magic Mike, Planes, A Haunted House 2 and The Fluffy Movie.

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