Many comedians struggle for years but fail to sell out anything more than to the small clubs. But there are a few, who reach an unfathomable level of wealth and stardom. They belong to the A-List stratosphere. Most of the world’s richest comedian are legendary names.
Many of them have done well by selling out the show tickets in huge stadiums or concert halls, but some have found international success. While some have starred in successful sitcoms, some have even received paydays by starring in successful movies or hosting talk shows.
They have leveraged their successful comedy career. Some even have opened their own production companies, through which they earn lofty amounts. Whether you agree that these stand ups are funny enough to be worthy of the status they received, is debatable. But, the focus point is that these comedians have brought home some insanely big bucks. We here present you the 15 richest stand-up comedians, who are still touring globally and minting money like a dream.
Top 15 Richest Comedians in the World 2017
15. Sacha Baron Cohen
Cohen is an English model turned comedian. He appeared in many fashion magazines in the late 80s and early 90s. After sending a tape of him acting in the character of Kristo, an Albanian reporter to Channel 4, he impressed the producer. He soon turned up hosting back to back two shows “Pump TV” and “F2F”.
He had appeared in TV adverts of McCain Microchips and Lee Jean. “The Jolly Boy’s Last Stand” was the first feature film, he played a role at.
Keeping aside all these works Baron Cohen is widely known for the creation and portraying of four characters Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev, BrünoGehard and Admiral General Aladeen in a variety of accents and guises. His total worth is around $110 million.
14. Bill Murray
Murray was an American actor cum comedian. Backed by his elder brother Brian Murray, he started from “The Second City” an improvisational comedy troupe based in Chicago. As a cast member of “Saturday Night Live”, he gained his first exposure. For this role, he earned the Emmy Award. After this he successfully proved himself as a veteran artist, starring in movies like “Meatballs”, “Caddyshack”, “Stripes”, “Tootsie”, “Ghostbusters” etc. He co-directed the crime comedy film “Quick Change.”
He won the Best Supporting Actor from the New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association and National Society of Film Critics for his role in the movie “Rushmore.”
After playing in “Lost in Translation” in 2003, he earned BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, an Independent Spirit Award. The successful comedian has a net worth of $140.
13. Ray Romano
Romano appeared as a contestant in the Johny Walker Comedy Search and the Star Search. His recurring voice on the show “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist” at The Comedy Central was highly acclaimed. Soon he started performing his stand-up routine at “Late Show with David Letterman” on CBS. Shortly after that, he got his show at CBS “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
The show gave him 6 Emmy nominations, 5 Screen Actors Guild Award and 2 Golden Globe Award. He was the highest-paid TV actor of his time. Movies like “Welcome to Mooseport”, “Eulogy”, “Grilled” has brought him lot of applause from critics and audience.
He also gave the voice behind the character Manfred “Manny” of the film series “Ice Age.” And is the 13th richest comedian of the world with a net worth estimated to be around $130 million.
12. Kevin Hart
At his early days, he was won many amateur comedy competitions at many New England clubs. After being cast in the TV series “Undeclared,” his talent got known. Soon he was cast in movies like “Paper Soldiers”,“Scary Movie 3”, “Soul Plane”,“In the Mix” and “Little Fockers. ”His first comedy album “I’m A Grown Little Man” put more layers on his reputation.
He won the BET Award in the Best Actor category for his work in Kevin Hart: Laugh At My Pain. The NAACP Image Award has entitled him as the best entertainer in 2014. He did release a soundtrack album with Motown Records under the name “Kevin Hart: What Now?” His appearances in the box-office hits like “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” “Ride Along” led him to be chosen as the best actor in Teen Choice Award. Being one of the richest comedians he has a net worth of $120 million.
11. Rowan Atkinson
This English actor, comedian and screen player started his career at radio. He starred in a series of comedy shows called “The Atkinson People” for BC Radio 3. After this, he became the main sketch writer on the comedy show “Not the Nine O’clock News.” He soon starred in the old sitcom “The Black Adder.” This BBC show was highly successful and went up to the fourth sequel portraying World War I.
Atkinson is most popular for his hapless creation “Mr. Bean” which had several sequels as a TV show. However, later it was taken for movies and cartoon shows. His filmography list includes “Dead on Time”, “The Tall Guy”,“The Witches” etc. He acted in the Oscar-winning short film “The Appointments of Dennis Jennings.” Our favorite Mr. Bean has a net worth of $130 million.
9. Joan Rivers
Ninth in the list is Joan Rivers, who got popular for her controversial comedic persona. She has roasted celebrities and politicians on many occasions. Joan was making a living as a stand-up comedian by performing in the cafes of Greenwich area of NYC. She came to the limelight after her guest appearance on the TV program “The Tonight Show.”But she got criticized for writing the black comedy named “The Girl Most Likely Too…”
Five years after this, she wrote and directed the film “Rabbit Test.” In the early 80s, she released a comedy album “What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most” with Geffen Records and has also been nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.
She had lent her voice to different characters in many films like “Napolean”, “Spaceballs”, “Look Who’s Talking” and much more. This star of Hollywood Walk of Fame has a net worth of $150 million.
8. Drew Carey
Drew Carey is an American comedian, actor, sports executive and game show host. He started as a stand-up comedian in comedy clubs in Cleveland and Los Angeles. He contested in the 1988 reality show “Star Search.” After appearing in “The Tonight Show Starring JohnyCarson”, he got a steady breakthrough. Soon he joined the “14thAnnualYoung Comedians Special” in HBO.
He won the CableACE Award in 1994 as the writer of his comedy “Drew Carey: Human Cartoon.” Early in his, he had played minor roles in movies like “Coneheads” and “The Good Life.” He was the host of the improvisational comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” “Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show” and “Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza.”
In 2007 he started hosting game shows. Till now he had hosted shows like “Power of 10” and “The Price Is Right.” He got entitled to several awards and nominations including People’s Choice Award, Daytime Emmy Award, WWE Hall of Fame Inductee. This comedian has made his name the Forbes list as the highest-paid entertainer of 1998 has now a net worth of about $165 million.
7. Seth MacFarlane
MacFarlane is an American comedian, actor, singer and filmmaker. His main contribution goes to animation, comedy, live-action and many other genres. He is the creator of many American TV series “American Dad!”, “The Cleveland Show” and the upcoming “The Orville.”
He wrote, starred and directed the movies “Ted,” “Ted 2” and “A Million Ways to Die in the West.”The “Cartoon Cartoons” series on Cartoon Network was done by him. He was both writer and storyboard artist of four cartoon serials “Dexter’s Laboratory,” “Cow and Chicken,” “I Am Weasel” and “Johny Bravo”.
Seth MacFarlane filmography list includes “Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story”, “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army”, “Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder”, “Sing”, “Logan Lucky” and much more. He has released many music albums. “Holiday For Swing”,“Nine O’Clock” are a few albums to name. With $200 million he is the seventh richest comedian.
6. Matt Stone
He is a popularly acclaimed voice artist, musician, actor, screen player, and producer. He was the co-creator of the TV show “South Park” with Trey Parker. They were also behind the movie “South Park” or any other media through which “South Park” has released. The show has earned several Emmy Awards for the hilarious script and ingenuity. Matt also gave voice to as much as 24 characters of the show including Kyle Broflivski, Kemmy McCormick, Bradley Biggle, Mysterion.
He produced or acted or both in many TV shows and films like “Cannibal! The Musical”, “Orgazmo,” “Even If You Don’t,” “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” and much more. His property and asset will sum up to near about $300 million.
5. Jay Leno
Leno first appeared on “The Tonight Show,” performing stand-ups as a comedy routine. In the 70s he played in TV series and films. His debut was in an episode called “J.J. In Trouble” of the sitcom “Good Times.” In 1978 he got a breakthrough in his acting career after being cast in the biopic “American Hot Wax” and comedy thriller “Silver Bears.”Jay acted in movies like “Almost Heaven”, “Collision Course”.
He had a cameo appearance in a lot of movies like “The Birdcage”, “Contact”, “John Q”, “Juwanna Mann”, “Delivery Man” and much more. His presence in TV shows like “Seinfeld,” “V.I.P.”, “Mickey and the Roadstar Racers” has made him quite a popular comedian. As the 5thrichest comedian Leno’s net worth estimate up to about $350 million.
4. Trey Parker
Next in the list of the richest comedian ever, is Trey Parker. He is the co-producer of the American adult sitcom “South Park” with his college friend Matt Stone. The Tony Award winning musical comedy “The Book of Mormon” is his brainchild. Stone and Parker have collaborated on a series of short films like “Orgazmo”, “Seagram” and the feature-length musical, entitled, “Cannibal! The Musical”.
After years of struggle, the duo signed with the Comedy Central in April 1988 where they worked on “South Park” till 1999 and are still working their season 3 of the show. Parker and Stone have undertaken many television and film projects “That’s My Bush!” and “Team America.”Trey is the writer and composer of many popular songs like “Chocolate Salty Balls”, “Blame Canada”, “Hug Me” etc. This multi-talented American artist has a $400 million net worth.
3. Bill Cosby
Cosby is an American stand-up comedian, musician, actor, and author. He started his career as a stand-up comedian at the ‘hungry I’ in San Francisco. In the 1960s TV show “I Spy” he played a starring role. From 1971-1977 he appeared regularly in the children’s television series “The Electric Company.”
He has released many comedy stand-up albums, of which “Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow…Right!” and “To Russell, My Brother”, “Whom I Slept With” needs special mention. He received Kennedy Centre Award in 1998, Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2009, and the United States Navy Memorial in 2010 among many other prizes and awards. His net worth is around $400 million.
2. Matt Groening
He is an American voice actor, cartoonist, writer, animator, and producer. He is the master mind, who was involved in the comic strip “Life in Hell.” He started selling his comic book from the book corner of a recording shop called Licorice Pizza. His work in the TV series “The Simpsons” and “Futurama” has been highly praised.
“The Simpson” running till now since 1989 is the longest-running animated tv show and the longest primetime television series in the history. Matt is currently working on a new TV series “Disenchantment” going to hit the satellite on 2018. Groening also gave his voice in two sequels of the video games “The Simpsons.”
He has won twelve Emmy Awards in the “Outstanding Animated Program” category. Groening received the 2002 National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award and the 2004 British Comedy Award for “outstanding contribution to comedy.” With $500 million he has succeeded in occupying the position of a second richest comedian.
1. Larry David
Larry David started his career as a stand-up comedian. From 1980-1982 he was the writer of ABC’s ‘Fridays’ and from 1984-1985 was the writer of NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live.’He was the chief writer and co-producer of the famous TV series Seinfeld from 1989-1996. He also wrote and played in the TV show, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”Larry wrote and also directed the whole film “Sour Grapes”.
He played roles in movies “Radio Days”, “New York Stories”, “Clear History”, “Whatever Works” etc. He won Emmy Awards for “Contest,” the 62nd episode of “Seinfeld.” The Golden Globe Award also went by his name for his role in “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.
This Laurel Award-winning TV writer and comedian has a total worth valuing $900 million, making him the richest comedian in the world.
Final thought, these comedians are not only the richest by money but also by the prestige they received and the work they have done.