Comedians live a tumultuous life of open mics and long tour schedules. Once that big break comes, however, the financial ceiling expands beyond his or her wildest dreams. These comedians have made it to the top and are paid accordingly.
Mel Brooks – $100 Million
Comedy icon Mel Brooks’s career is littered with instant classics and infinite laughs. He always found a way to bring out the humor in humorless situations (i.e. the Spanish Inquisition, Frankenstein’s monster). Brooks spoofed and sung his way to the top of the performance industry. He is one of a few to complete an EGOT – that is, winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. Three of his films ranked in the top 15 of AFI’s top comedy films of the 20th century.
Kristen Wiig – $20 million
There is no denying that Kristen Wiig is one of the most successful women in the world of cinematic comedy today. The actress had a handful of supporting roles during the golden age of Judd Apatow’s movies, appearing in flicks such as Knocked Up, Semi-Pro, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. But it was her role in Bridesmaids that took her game to the next level. She has also starred in movies such as Despicable Me 2 & 3 and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Jim Carrey – $150 million
Without a shadow of a doubt, Jim Carrey is one of the most iconic movie stars in the last 20 years. Instantly, classics such as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dumb and Dumber, and The Mask come to mind. However, Carrey has shown that he is more than just a comedic presence, winning acclaim for roles in movies such as The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In recent times, Carrey has taken a step back from the limelight.
Sarah Silverman – $12 million
Sarah Silverman has established herself as one of the most outspoken comediennes on American TV. Winning two Primetime Emmy Awards, Silverman has written for and starred in episodes of Saturday Night Live on numerous occasions. She has also made a smooth transition into Hollywood, having starred in movies such as School of Rock, Wreck-it-Ralph, and A Million Ways to Die in the West. Silverman reprised her voice role as Vanellope von Schweetz in Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.
Betty White – $45 million
Nearly 100 years old, Betty White made history back in the 50s when she became the first woman to produce her own sitcom. However, Life with Elizabeth wasn’t the biggest commercial hit in her career. White has had main roles on numerous TV shows such as The Golden Girls, Maybe This Time and Ladies Man. She has also had guest appearances on shows such as St. Elsewhere, Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, and My Name Is Earl, to name a few.
Sacha Baron Cohen – $110 Million
English actor Sacha Baron Cohen has created a universe of undeniable absurdist characters. Audiences flooded movie theaters to laugh at the crazy stunts Borat, Ali G, and Bruno. While fans echoed ‘not’ jokes and exclaimed ‘booyakasha,’ Cohen laughed himself to the bank to the tune of $100 million. He has recently cracked the list of Britain’s richest 1000 people. As producer, writer, and actor, Cohen has contributed or starred in dozens of projects. It is safe to say that he makes only a modest living…not.
Steve Harvey – $120 Million
Although he now makes $30 million a year as the host of Family Feud, Steve Harvey’s comedy career began homeless and living out of his car. His break as the host of Showtime At The Apollo helped launch a 27 year rise to fame. He was the eponymous star of the Steve Harvey Show, and performed stand up with the Kings of Comedy in the mid 90’s. His $120 million net worth is a far cry from bathing in gas station bathrooms.
Bill Murray – $140 Million
Bill Murray is a titan of the comedy business. 40 years into his career, Murray continues to churn out memorable movie roles. Before he buddied up with Wes Anderson, Murray helped bring Saturday Night Live to prominence as a cast member for 70 episodes. The projects that followed – Caddyshack, Stripes, and Ghostbusters – would launch him into superstardom. His not-so-Cinderella story includes two Emmy wins, an Oscar nomination, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and $140 million in net worth.
Stephen Colbert -$45 Million
Stephen Colbert and his $15 million per year salary have settled in nicely on The Late Show. CBS gave him another platform to entertain the masses with his politically infused humor and occasionally his classic character. After leaving The Daily Show to spin-off his own series, Colbert earned multiple Emmys for The Colbert Report. He gained so much acclaim for his work that he became an early nominee to fill David Letterman’s seat. Now back in late night, he isn’t close to capping his $45 million net worth.
Johnny Carson – $300 Million
The original king of late night was a staple in every American household for 30 years. By the time of his death in 2005, Johnny Carson had amassed $300 million in net worth. Revered by his peers, he set the standard for late night television. Accompanying his television life, Carson made smart business investments to supplement his salary. After his death, Carson donated more than half of his wealth to charity. The $156 million contribution has supported dozens of nonprofits including the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
Matt Groening – $500 Million
Are you asking yourself “who is Matt Groening and how does he have so much money?” Groening is the creator of the longest-running American primetime series. He has won 12 Emmys, received a Hollywood Walk of Fame star, and will forever be known as the man who brought “eat my shorts” and “doh!” into the cultural vernacular. Plainly said, he created The Simpsons. 28 seasons later, Groening is still cranking out new episodes and collecting checks to add to his $500 million fortune.
Billy Crystal – $45 Million
Between writing five books, acting in one man shows on Broadway, and maintaining a steady stream of film work, Billy Crystal has remained one of the most “mahvelous” comedians of the past 40 years. His charming affability presides over all his work including stints as host and cast member of Saturday Night Live, and his career-defining role in When Harry Met Sally…. Crystal can frequently be seen hosting the Oscars, an honor he has already fulfilled nine times.
Terry Fator – $115 Million
Terry Fator began his career as a singer and quickly moved into ventriloquism, teaching himself through use of the book Ventriloquism for Fun and Profit. Before almost giving up on his dreams, Fator turned to America’s Got Talent, which helped him gain fame and fortune after he won the million dollar prize. After the show ended, he signed a five year headliner deal at The Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas, which sealed his spot in the entertainment world.
Adam Sandler – $360 Million
Adam Sandler’s films may not always be pretty, and they may not always be enjoyable, but they are unequivocally box office successes. His films have grossed more than $2.5 billion worldwide, giving cause to his $20 million salary per film. 14 of his films alone have earned more than $100 million. Sandler also produces his films with his Happy Madison production company. The Happy Gilmore star will continue to pad his pockets following an exclusive multiple film deal with Netflix.
Jeff Dunham – $60 Million
Jeff Dunham and his army of ventriloquist dummies have taken the comedy world by storm. He has received over 150 million views on YouTube for his Ahmed the dead terrorist dummy act. His online success also reflects his live success. Between his multiple specials and his yearly tours, Dunham has racked up a net worth of $60 million. Last year alone, he made $22.5 million from his shows, merchandise, and book deals. He holds the Guinness record for most tickets sold for a stand-up comedy tour.
Dave Chappelle – $45 Million
Admired for his cultural impact and admonished for his content and ‘disappearance,’ Dave Chappelle is still making people laugh. Between his regular stand-up gigs, the Killing Them Softly special, his roles in films such as Half Baked and Undercover Brother, and other acting bits, Chappelle had accumulated enough comedy capital to host his own show finally. Chappelle’s Show unleashed a fresh combination of parody and race which propelled him to great financial prominence.
Rowan Atkinson – $130 Million
British comedian Rowan Atkinson is not nearly as clumsy with his money as his Mr. Bean character is in life. Atkinson made his career and his $130 million wealth on the titular character on British sitcom Mr. Bean. Through physical comedy and a childlike commotion-causing habit, Atkinson’s textbook performances have endured with audiences for over 25 years. His other credits include Never Say Never Again, Rat Race, and the voice of Zazu in The Lion King. He is routinely listed as one of Great Britain’s funniest comedians.
Conan O’Brien – $85 Million
Conan O’Brien has long moved past his ill-fated run as host of The Tonight Show , at least monetarily. With $85 million in net worth, Conan has comfortably settled into his namesake show. Starting as a writer for Saturday Night Live, Conan took over Late Night on NBC following David Letterman’s exit. His quirky, self-deprecating humor and skits drew a cult following and propelled him toward the heralded Tonight Show role. Fortunately, his acrimonious split from NBC netted him a $32 million settlement.
Jeff Foxworthy – $100 Million
Jeff Foxworthy is a wizard with his craft. Known for his “you might be a redneck” jokes and the Blue Collar Comedy tour, Foxworthy has earned $100 million in his career for mastering working-class humor. His comedy albums have been certified platinum and have topped the comedy charts. Beyond his stand-up, he has starred in the Jeff Foxworthy Show and Blue Collar TV. More recently, he can be seen as the host of Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader, which he helped revive.
Eddie Murphy – $75 Million
One of the biggest stars of the 80’s, Eddie Murphy has recently slowed his work output but increased his salary intake. At a time he was making $4,500 per episode on Saturday Night Live, Murphy’s first movie paid him $450,000. Since, Murphy has earned exuberant salaries to star in hits ($10 million for the Shrek movies) and duds ($20 million for The Adventures of Pluto Nash). His SNL salary reportedly increased $19,000 per week after only one season due to his breakout performance in 48 Hours.
Ricky Gervais – $80 Million
Ricky Gervais is never shy. When asked about his net worth, Gervais answered only in the way he could. The British comedian, endowed with awards and praise for creating The Office and Extras, confirmed reports then mocked its nature. He mentioned donating some of that $80 million fortune to charity, buying his family scratch off cards for Christmas, and using the rest to take over Libya. In addition to television, Gervais keeps himself busy by podcasting, hosting awards shows, and keeping to his stand-up roots.
Chelsea Handler – $35 Million
Comedienne Chelsea Handler and her no-BS style of comedy have had a gigantic rise through the ranks. After small television series appearances and two seasons of her own talk show, Chelsea Lately gave Handler the platform she needed to do what she does best – speak her mind. After seven seasons and a $12.5 yearly salary, Handler positioned herself for more significant paydays. She struck a $10 million deal with Netflix for her own show and a docu-series, and has published multiple New York Times Best Sellers.
Martin Lawrence – $110 Million
Martin Lawrence almost did not end up in show business. His decision to rebuff a boxing career put him on the path to a $110 million fortune. After a successful run on What’s Happening Now!!, he developed Martin, which attracted 11 million viewers in its debut season. Martin opened acting doors to Lawrence, such as his role as Marcus Burnett in the Bad Boys films and his starring role in Blue Streak. He made reportedly $20 million each for Blue Streak and Bad Boys 2.
Drew Carey – $165 Million
Drew Carey’s career changed forever after he began working as a stand-up following his military service. His early success led to a handful of supporting roles on television. With former co-worker Bruce Helford, Carey would create and star in The Drew Carey Show for nine seasons. By the end of its run, he earned $750,000 per episode in addition to his salary working as the host of Whose Line Is It Anyway?. He now hosts The Price Is Right to keep padding his wealth.
David Letterman – $400 Million
33 years after he first sat behind a late night desk, David Letterman sits on an epic fortune. Letterman may have retired from television, but he still reaps the benefits of his production company Worldwide Pants. Late night hosts bow to his likeness and credit him as a major influence. Since 2004, he has made about $45 million per year. Worldwide Pants produced successful shows such as Everybody Loves Raymond and King of Queens, and royally collects from their syndication deals.
Kevin James – $80 Million
Thanks to his pack of hilarious buddies, Kevin James has had major success at the box office and on television. CBS spun off his character from Cosby and Everybody Loves Raymond into its own successful show, The King of Queens. Since the show’s conclusion in 2007, James has focused on film acting, regularly appearing with Adam Sandler and David Spade. His films commonly make more than $100 million globally even though they have low production costs, making him a sound investment.
Dan Aykroyd – $135 Million
While his acting work has slowed recently, Dan Aykroyd remains busy with his other ventures to maintain his wealth. An Emmy winner for his characters on Saturday Night Live, Aykroyd’s quickly became one of the biggest names in Hollywood’s comedy scene. Not only did his films Ghostbusters and The Blues Brothers become comedy classics, but his characters also became iconic. Merchandise deals helped line his pockets and keep Elwood Blues and Ray Stantz in the public eye. He is a co-owner of the House of Blues music venues.
Bob Saget- $100 Million
TV dad Danny Tanner entertained masses on Full House for eight lesson-filled seasons. Off-set, comedian Bob Saget unleashes his uncensored adult oriented stand up routine. His contrasting personas have helped him earn $100 million during his career. Beyond Full House and his Grammy-winning stand-up, Saget also provided voice over for future Ted on How I Met Your Mother and hosted America’s Funniest Home Videos. You can catch him back in his old house on Fuller House in a recurring role.
Seth MacFarlane – $200 Million
Seth MacFarlane struck gold with Family Guy. However, he would not be rewarded for its success for another five years. Thanks to a cult following, MacFarlane signed a five-year $100 million deal with Fox to bring the show back. This led to two spin-offs and a continuing of his extended Family Guy universe. He has also brought his directing, writing, producer, and voice-acting talents to the big screen with his talking stuffed animal franchise, Ted. The two Ted films have scored over $700 million combined.
Kevin Hart – $120 Million
It’s safe to assume that Kevin Hart is exhausted after performing over 100 shows in 2016. His take home pay is not too shabby – he grosses about $1 million per show. That was enough to make him the highest paid comedian of 2016 with $87.5 million. He fills in the margins of his tireless work schedule with major movie releases, stand-up specials, and a yearly appearance at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. If he keeps it up, he can easily topple the titans of this list.
Larry David – $800 Million
Larry David’s appearance on this list should be a pretty, pretty, pretty small surprise. As the creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, David makes more than working actors from syndication alone. Before Seinfeld, David worked a handful of odd jobs which he would include in the show, such as a bra salesman. His “show about nothing” allowed him to exit the small job market and comfortably live for the rest of his life.
Chris Rock – $70 Million
Sensational stand-up and former SNL cast member Chris Rock has a net worth of $70. As a headlining name for the past two decades, Rock does well for himself through lucrative syndication deals and profit sharing agreements. He reportedly earned $42 million in 2009 alone from the syndication package for his show Everybody Hates Chris. More recently, he picked up close to $20 million from box office profits from Grown Ups 2. Even a sliver of the $245 million box office haul produced major returns.
Tracy Morgan – $50 Million
By the late 2000’s, Tracy Morgan was a household name due to his role on 30 Rock. His character Tracy Jordan, loosely based on his outrageous behavior, gave him a platform to go crazy which he did not have since his days on Saturday Night Live. It also provided him with a life flushed with cash. Since 30 Rock began in 2006, he has become worth $50 million. This includes the huge settlement he received from a 2014 car accident, rumored to be $90 million.
Matt Stone and Trey Parker – $400 Million
The dynamic duo behind South Park‘s empire, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, have bombarded audiences with their surreal and profanity-laced brand of comedy. They have a keen ability to satirize culture in such a refreshing manner that they have maintained their position as culture commenters for twenty years thanks to their complete creative control over South Park. They have expanded their influence from television and film to video games and Broadway, and their $400 million bank accounts continue to fill.
Ray Romano – $130 Million
Before everybody loved him, Ray Romano was just another stand up trying to make it in the business. Fortunately, CBS executives loved his appearances on Late Show with David Letterman so much that they developed a sitcom around his brand of sarcastic and self-deprecating humor. Starting in the 8th season, Romano earned – at the time – the largest per-episode salary in television at $1.8 million per episode. He since has lent his voice to the box office smashing Ice Age franchise.
Russell Peters – $55 Million
Although less recognizable than many of his peers, Russell Peters is no less reputable and no less rich. Since YouTube videos of his specials garnered a cult following in 2004, Peters’s shows are one of the hottest tickets in the world. He became the most-attended comedy show ever in Lebanon, Singapore, Indonesia, South Africa, and Malaysia and his 2009 performance at London’s O2 Arena broke the UK attendance record for a one-off comedy show. At $55 million in net worth, Peters is doing just fine.
Dick Van Dyke – $30 Million
Hollywood legend Dick Van Dyke has been making us laugh until we cry for as long as we can remember. The sitcom, The Dick Van Dyke show catapulted the comedian to fame in the 1960s. Dick is also another comedian who has turned to acting – who can forget his roles in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins? Van Dyke even has a Hollywood Star on the Walk Of Fame. The comedian is 91 years old and worth around $30 million today.
David Spade – $40 Million
David Spade is a successful comedian as well as an actor and writer. He first burst onto the comedy scene in the 1990s on Saturday Night Live with his good friend Dennis Miller. He quickly became well known for his quick wit and sarcasm which proved a big hit with the audience. Spade has also had success in the film industry. He is estimated to have a net worth of around $40 million and has donated to many philanthropic causes.
Jack Black – $20 Million
Jack Black is a comedian, actor, singer and producer. He is most known for starring in comedy films such as The School Of Rock which won him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor – Comedy. Black is also known for his band Tenacious D which he formed with his good friend Kyle Glass in 1994. Jack’s net worth truly reflects his hard work and dedication – he has an accumulated wealth of around $20 million. We can’t wait to see what projects Jack has lined up next.
Whoopi Goldberg – $45 Million
Whoopi Goldberg is one of the most loved female comedians of all time. She starred in many films playing a comedic role, including Sister Act where she played a hilarious nun and played a psychic in Ghost, alongside Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. More recently Goldberg appears on the daytime show, The View, where she continues to make the audience laugh. Goldberg’s net worth is a whopping $45 million, which truly reflects the amount of work that Goldberg has undertaken over the years.
Amy Poehler – $18 Million
Amy Poehler is well known for her comedic impressions – she’s portrayed a whole array of celebrities including Hilary Clinton, Michael Jackson and Madonna. Poehler started off her career on Comedy Central where she would perform in half hour comedy sketches. She also is well known for starring on Saturday Night Live. Poehler has also starred in many films and has published a memoir. Amy’s net worth is estimated to be around $18 million which isn’t surprising considering her successes.
Will Ferrell – $80 Million
After making his name on Saturday Night Live, Will Ferrell launched himself into superstardom. As part of the “frat pack,” a group of comedians specializing in college fraternity humor, Ferrell fearlessly attacked his roles in cable classics like Old School, Step Brothers, and Wedding Crashers. He became one of the most well-paid and in-demand actors in Hollywood while on his way to a net worth of $80 million. He also is the creator of comedy video site Funny or Die.
Bob Hope – $150 Million
For 80 years, Bob Hope was at the top of the comedy game. He was universally beloved for entertaining the US Armed Forces on 57 tours between 1941 and 1991. Congress even declared him an honorary veteran in 1997 He specialized in precise comedic timing and one liners, which he used as the host of the Academy Awards a record 19 times. He filmed holiday specials, and variety shows into the 1980s. He didn’t come cheap and racked up a net worth of $150 million before his death in 2003.
Bill Maher – $100 Million
The line between comedy and political commentary has never been as blurry as it is with Bill Maher. Since 2003, the Real Time with Bill Maher host has offended everyone from his advertisers to his own fans. Maher makes $10 million per year for his show for which he also produces and writes. Comedy Central ranked him as the 38th best stand-up of all time for his outrageous sarcasm and political satire. With Bill Maher, no topic is taboo.
Jerry Lewis – $50 Million
At 91, Jerry Lewis is a comedy legend. Starting with his partnership with Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis has filled audiences with laughter for nearly 70 years. In 2016, Lewis starred in his most recent feature as the lead actor. While younger folks might not recognize him, his impact will last lifetimes thanks to his incredible work as the spokesperson for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. His telethons raised billions in donations from callers, while Lewis’s lasting career brought him $50 million in wealth.
Damon Wayans – $35 Million
Damon Wayans is a stand-up comedian and actor that made his name on sketch comedy shows Saturday Night Live and In Living Color. Wayans’ run on SNL ended unceremoniously as he was fired for going against the script. He landed on his feet, however. Wayans and his four brothers created In Living Color, a groundbreaking comedy for its more ghetto-centric humor than other African-American shows at the time. He has amassed a net worth of $35 million in his career.
Carlos Mencia – $35 Million
Honduran stand-up Carlos Mencia owned the comedy scene in the mid-2000s. Mencia mixes racial and political humor, breaking out with his Comedy Central Presents episode in 2002. In 2005, Mencia received his own show on Comedy Central, starring in Mind of Mencia. Styled similar to Comedy Central’s hit show Chappelle’s Show, Mind of Mencia became the second most popular show on Comedy Central behind stalwart South Park. His career has slowed, but he has still earned $35 million.
Byron Allen – $300 Million
Entertainment Studios chief executive Byron Allen made his television debut as an 18-year-old on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. It was a dream come true, as Allen would sneak onto that same set as a child when visiting his mother at NBC studios. His first hit show, Kickin’ It with Byron Allen ran for 21 years. Allen hit the jackpot with his production company, which produces 32 television series. He brings in almost $100 million per year.
Wanda Sykes – $6 Million
Sykes first performed stand up comedy in 1987 in Washington DC, however her big break came performing the opening for Chris Rock at Caroline’s Comedy Club. She also became a regular on The New Adventures of Old Christine playing Barb, alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Sykes is also passionate about equality in the LGBT community and continues to fight for their rights. Sykes has a net worth of around $6 million, which may surprise some readers who may have thought she was worth more.
Roseanne Barr – $80 Million
After a successful start to her stand-up career, Roseanne Barr became one of the most successful comediennes of all time thanks to her starring role in Roseanne. For nine seasons, Barr was praised for her realistic portrayal of an average American mother. She cashed in on the show’s popularity as its star and producer. Thanks to a hefty syndication package, Roseanne continues to make millions off of her signature role. Her net worth is $80 million.
Don Rickles – $30 Million
Don Rickles insulted his way to a $30 million net worth throughout his sixty-year career. After being discharged from the Navy, Rickles went on to a very successful stand-up career. His first comedy album, Hello, Dummy!, reached number 54 on the Billboard charts. Later on, he became a regular guest on late-night talk shows, continuing into his 80s. Younger generations will best recognize him as the insult-slinging Mr. Potato Head from the Toy Story franchise.
Dane Cook – $30 Million
From 2003 to 2008, Dane Cook was inescapable. Beginning with his first comedy album, Harmful If Swallowed, Cook crushed audiences with vulgar observational humor. His second album, Retaliation, is one of the most popular comedy albums of all time, achieving double platinum status in the process. Along the way to his $30 million net worth, Dane Cook became the second comedian ever to sell out Madison Square Garden. He has also acted in films such as Employee of the Month and Waiting.
Carol Burnett – $25 Million
Through six decades of comedy, Carol Burnett has become the standard bearer for comediennes. With a Tony award already in her pocket, Burnett’s empire truly began with The Carol Burnett Show. The show ran for 279 episodes across 11 seasons and made her into a comedy icon. While television money in the 1970s was not like today’s media landscape, Burnett still collected $25 million in wealth throughout her career. She received the Mark Twain Prize for Humor in 2013.
Aziz Ansari – $17 Million
Aziz Ansari has diligently worked his way through the comedy ranks since his time with the Upright Citizens Brigade. His early work included the beginnings of his stand-up career, and the MTV show Human Giant. His big break came as Tom Haverford in NBC’s Parks and Recreation. Aziz’s stand-up tours consistently sell out, and he recently won a Peabody Award for his new show Master of None. We can expect Aziz to keep adding to his $17 million in wealth.
Zach Galifianakis – $20 Million
Although he had maintained low-key success early in his career, Zach Galifianakis’s fame exploded as a co-star in the wildly popular The Hangover trilogy. The Hangover helped establish him as a movie star, not just a stand-up comedian. He won an Emmy for his web series Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis , in which he awkwardly interviews celebrities with nonsequiturs. The $20 million man can currently be found as the title character on FX’s Baskets.
Rebel Wilson – $2.5 Million
Born and raised in Australia Rebel Wilson sure knows how to make us laugh. She first broke onto our screens in sketch comedy The Wedge. Since then Rebel has also acted in numerous films, including Pitch Perfect which gave her numerous award nominations and prizes. Rebel is also about to star in a Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake which is a hilarious comedy which was released in the 1980s. Today Rebel is worth $2.5 million and this figure is expected to increase over the next year.
Ellen DeGeneres – $360 Million
Ellen DeGeneres has taken daytime talk to a new level with The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She fuses her stand-up riddled writing with trendy and viral segments, and has been appropriately praised and appraised for her work. In addition to her older film credits and her show, Ellen maintains a handful of business ventures. Her app, Heads Up turned a segment of her show into the most downloaded iPhone app of 2014. To cover the rest of her fortune, she buys and flips real estate with her wife.
Bill Cosby – $400 Million
Preceding his legal troubles, Bill Cosby owned network television. He became the first black actor to co-star in a tv drama on NBC’s I Spy for which he earned three straight Emmys. Starting with the Bill Cosby Show and Fat Albert, Cosby began to grow his television empire. His greatest success was The Cosby Show, for which he held complete creative control. He has won seven Grammys for his stand-up albums. Between wages earned and syndication, Cosby will continue to add to his $400 net worth.
Jerry Seinfeld – $870 Million
The star and co-creator of Seinfeld is not only the comedian with the highest net worth, but he has doubled over as the highest yearly paid comedian (until eclipsed by Kevin Hart in 2016). Thanks to Seinfeld syndication returns and his stand-up tours, Jerry Seinfeld pulls in about $45 million per year. Seinfeld alone has netted over $3 billion in fees since the finale. When he is not touring, he stays busy with his web series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.
Stephen Merchant – $35 Million
American audiences might be unfamiliar with Stephen Merchant’s name but are certainly aware of his comedy impact. Stephen Merchant is, along with Ricky Gervais, the co-creator of the award-winning British series The Office. The cringe comedy he co-wrote, co-directed, and co-starred in became the basis for Michael Scott and the American adaptation. Working alongside Gervais has made Merchant quite wealthy to the tune of $35 million. Merchant also helped create Extras and Life’s Too Short with Gervais.
Adam McKay – $40 Million
Adam McKay is not your typical comedian. He rarely appears in films and was rejected by Saturday Night Live as a performer. Instead, McKay has made a killing as an outstanding writer and director. For three years he worked as the head writer at Saturday Night Live. His directorial debut, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, earned more than triple its budget and started a string of successful projects with Will Ferrell. He won an adapted screenplay Oscar for The Big Short.
Eric Idle – $40 Million
The self-titled “third tallest member of Monty Python” capitalized on his talent as part of the legendary sketch comedy group. Idle’s characters tended to be mischievous or happy-go-lucky. Monty Python members indeed found the Holy Grail, Idle included, and earned huge paychecks for their work. Idle is also responsible for adapting their first major film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, into the Tony-winning (and Grammy-winning) play Spamalot, which grossed $175 million during its initial run.
Steve Martin – $130 Million
Over the course of a fifty-year career in show business, Steve Martin has earned over $130 million as a stand-up, actor, writer, producer, and banjo musician. He has starred in films such as Father Of The Bride, Three Amigos, and Cheaper By The Dozen. The originator of the “air quotes,” Martin guest hosted Saturday Night Live 15 times. SNL’s audience would increase by a million every time he hosted. Only Alec Baldwin has hosted the show more times than Martin.
Jon Stewart – $80 Million
After 17 seasons, Jon Stewart stepped away from The Daily Show as a very rich man. Stewart earned over $16 million a year towards the end of his tenure, which helped him amass a net worth of $80 million. The comedian signed a four-year development deal with HBO in 2015.
Amy Schumer – $16 Million
Amy Schumer is another hilarious female comedian. She starred in and produced Inside Amy Schumer which was aired on Comedy Central. She’s also worked on many other comedic sketches as well as performing stand up. Schumer has stated that she has been influenced by the comedic works of Joan Rivers and Goldie Hawn, who she describes as her heroes. Today Schumer is worth an estimated $16 million and that figure is set to rise as Schumer undertakes more and more work.
Louis CK – $25 Million
Over the course of his career, Louis CK has had the incredible ability to make his own fortune. He is known for holding creative and production control over his projects, including his hit semi-autobiographical FX series Louie, his stand-up specials (which he self-produced and released on his website), and his most recent project, web series Horace and Pete. Louis has won multiple Emmys for his work on Louie and The Chris Rock Show, on which he contributed his writing.
Robin Williams – $50 Million
Robin Williams started off his career in the 1970s performing stand up comedy in San Francisco. Williams then rose to fame in the hit TV show Mork and Mindy which was written to allow Williams to improvise his comedy. Robin also moved into acting and starred in many films that we all know and love including Mrs Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting. At the time of his death Williams was estimated to be worth around $50 million which was left to his family.
Kathy Griffin – $20 Million
Kathy Griffin is well known for her acting talents, as well as her ability to make people laugh. She started off her stand up career in the 1980s performing in Los Angeles and quickly became part of the comedy scene in the area. She then broke into acting and her career continues to go from strength to strength. Griffin is worth $20 million and even has a mansion in Bel Air. It is rumored that her neighbors are Kim Kardashian and Kanye West!
Tina Fey – $65 Million
Since leaving SNL, Tina Fey has made an excellent career for herself starring in NBC’s 30 Rock, and films such as Sisters and Baby Mama. The bulk of her work today is off camera, which helps explain her $65 million net worth. She created Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for Netflix, working in a similar show running capacity to her role on 30 Rock. Her book, Bossypants, topped the New York Times Best Sellers list for five weeks and has sold more than 2.5 million copies.
Melissa McCarthy – $50 Million
Thanks to breakout roles in Bridesmaids and Mike and Molly, Melissa McCarthy has exploded onto the scene. She even received an Emmy for her work on Mike and Molly. Her $50 million net worth received a huge boost in 2016 thanks to her $33 million take-home pay from the Ghostbusters reboot. Before her recent success, McCarthy performed with the Groundlings comedy troupe and had a recurring role as Sookie St. James in the WB drama The Gilmore Girls. Now, it is impossible to escape her charm.
Jay Leno – $350 Million
From performing stand up to hosting stand-ups on The Tonight Show, Jay Leno has always surrounded himself with the world’s funniest. Leno had a knack for bringing in huge audiences, which led to his role on The Tonight Show. He also had a knack for bringing in enormous paychecks. At his peak popularity, Leno earned over $30 million dollars a year. By the time he retired (for good) in 2012, his net worth had piled up to over $350 million.