Dating back to the Bush administrator, the highest paid comedian on planet Earth, year after year, has been Jerry Seinfeld. Forbes reports that over the past 10 years, Seinfeld’s combined pretax earnings over the last 10 years top $900 million. Last year, he pulled in $36 million.
But, for the first time in a decade, Seinfeld has been dethroned. 37-year-old Kevin Hart has topped the list of highest paid comedians, raking in a mind-boggling $87.5 million, over $30 million more than Seinfeld’s $43.5 million.
Forbes reports that Hart’s big haul is primarily due to his lofty touring schedule.
The reason for Hart’s dominance is simple: He tours like no other comedian. In the 12 month period, Hart played over 100 shows with an average gross of over $1 million at each stop. And these shows aren’t at dingy comedy clubs; Hart played stadiums and arenas, including Madison Square Garden and the Staples Center. Because the stand-up comedian’s set requires little more than a stool, water bottle and microphone, he takes home a larger cut of that gross than most rock stars would would.
To pad his tour earnings—which make up the overwhelming majority of his eight-figure haul—Hart took to both the big and small screens, starring in the films Central Intelligence and Secret Life of Pets, and shooting commercials for Hyundai , Foot Locker and H&M.
- Kevin Hart — $87.5 million
- Jerry Seinfeld — $43.5 million
- Terry Fator — $21 million
- Amy Schumer — $17 million
- Jeff Dunham — $13.5 million
- Dave Chappelle — $13 million
- Jim Gaffigan — $12.5 million
- Gabriel Iglesias — $9.5 million
- Russell Peters — $9 million
- John Bishop — $7 million
Here’s the $87.5 million man when he first started doing comedy at 18 years old.