Staying true to your life’s calling is one of the most difficult things to do, especially when your chosen profession comes with a disappointing paycheck. For stand-up comedians, the way up is difficult indeed, considering that a gig in a local club scene only pays $20 on a weekday and $75 on a weekend. Nonetheless, comedy can still be a profitable industry, at least for some.
Ever wondered who are the highest paid stand-up comedians are? Check out the following list:
10. Kevin James, estimated net worth: $80 million
Even if Kevin James’ movies, Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Here Comes The Boom didn’t receive any awards, he still got a big paycheck for these. Aside from that, he stars in The King of Queens, which adds up to his income. In this long-running sitcom, he plays the role of a fat guy with a hot wife.
Kevin James is also a good friend with Adam Sandler, and this has been an advantage for him. He was paid to play around with his pal in the film Grown Ups. Now, the comedian is recognized as one of the few comedians who sell out his shows in Las Vegas.
9. Ricky Gervais, estimated net worth: $80 million
Ricky Gervais is an English comedian, who hasn’t had lots of hit TV shows or movies in America. However, his shows around the world, especially when touring Europe, netted him a huge sum of money.
As the executive producer of The Office, a UK-based series, he still earns paychecks. Right now, he is working on a stand up show, entitled, Humanity.
8. Roseanne Barr, estimated net worth: $80 million
Roseanne Barr is remembered as the stand-up comedian who constantly yells with her ear-shattering voice. Because of funny and successful act, she was given her own sitcom.
The show lasted for 222 episodes. There were even re-runs for it that made her very wealthy. But, what’s funnier is that she is only the third most popular person from her show, following George Clooney and Johnny Galecki of The Big Bang Theory.
7. Jeff Foxworthy, estimated net worth: $100 million
Like all the other comedians here, Jeff Foxworthy did have his own sitcom, but it was short-lived. Still, he earned insane profits. He didn’t need to be seen on television to make money for his shows, The Blue Collar and Comedy Tour, were more than enough for him.
Foxworthy has made a guest appearance on a popular entrepreneurial venture reality show, Shark Tank. He is also the top-selling comedy recording artist of all time.
6. Bob Saget, estimated net worth: $100 million
Although Bob Saget is best known for his family-friendly roles on Full House, he is also known as the most vulgar stand-up comedians in the world. He is also the original host of America’s Funniest Home Videos.
Saget has been very smart in using his money. He didn’t have to do any bad movies or shows just for the sake of paycheck. Fans are willing to pay more just to see him say rude things about the Olsen twins. And for this, he constantly sells out his stand-up shows. His most recent accomplishments include voicing the future Ted Mosby in How I Met Your Mother and directing the cult comedy film Dirty Work.
5. Ray Romano, estimated net worth: $120 million
Ray Romano had a successful acting career. He was part of Everybody Loves Raymond, which lasted for nine seasons on CBS. He also did an excellent voice work in the Ice Age films.
Though his most recent title role on television was in a short-lived dramedy, Men of a Certain Age, it was critically acclaimed. He served as the show’s executive producer and co-creator. Now, he regularly performs in Vegas, along with Kevin James.
4. Drew Carey, estimated net worth: $165 million
Drew Carey’s The Drew Carey Show ran for nearly 10 years, but a lot of people don’t realize it. Maybe the reason for this is that most of them haven’t watched the final seasons. Still, it netted him millions.
After Bob Barker retired as the host of The Price is Right, he was chosen as the host. Now, he has lots of money to spend for the rest of his life.
3. Jay Leno, estimated net worth: $250 million
Jay Leno is an established name when it comes to stand-up comedy. He is a legend to this kind of stuff since he has done this non-stop since 1970s. Even when he was hosting The Tonight Show, he was able to perform countless shows a month.
There are rumors that he might be returning to TV, but one this is for sure; he will continue to perform in Vegas for more years. Leno reportedly hasn’t spent a single dime of his salary as a talk show to finance his expanses and luxurious car collection. He only uses his earnings as a stand-up comedian.
2. Bill Cosby, estimated net worth: $350 million
Bill Cosby is facing some serious allegations right now from his former colleagues, but the foundation of The Cosby Show has had lots of sources of wealth.
He didn’t make much money from Leonard Part 6 and Ghost Dad. Despite having a bad movie career, he has found financial success as a stand-up comedian and as a TV star. Aside from The Cosby Show and Cosby, he starred in a drama program I Spy, where he showed off his acting abilities. Up to this day, even with his old age, he still performs stand up.
1. Jerry Seinfeld, estimated net worth: $800 million
The star and co-creator of Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld, receives a bulk of payouts from various avenues. The show itself was a massive success, gaining over $2.7 billion. Even after the show has gone off the air, he still earns millions every year from re-runs.
Now, he gets to make more money for filming a web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The show was renewed for six more seasons.
Today might be a new era, but even so, these comedians prove that the stand-up industry is unusually stable and healthy. Although most of these comic geniuses earn additional income from other avenues, they still continue to delight us on stage.
Watch these highest paid stand-up comedians perform in these videos: