As long as nobody else actually digs into the numbers or knows the tax returns for comedians, Forbes will continue to garner the shares and notoriety for ranking comedians each year based on how much income they earned.
No women on the list (Amy Schumer made the top 10 in 2017, based on her touring and Netflix special), and no Louis CK, giving credence to the jokes he made upon his controversial return to the stage this fall by saying he lost $35 million in an hour. The stats Forbes uses for its annual list typically add up live touring ticket sales, box-office at the movies, TV residuals, deals for specials, and ad campaigns. How do they take into account net vs. gross receipts as well as commissions for their representation? Actually, they qualify it this way: “The world’s ten highest-paid comedians made a grand total of $292 million, before taxes and fees, from June 1, 2017, to June 1, 2018. This is a whopping $82.5 million lower than last year’s haul due to fewer Netflix deals.”
How does Forbes see it all adding up this year?
- Jerry Seinfeld: $57.5 million
- Kevin Hart: $57 million
- Dave Chappelle: $35 million
- Chris Rock: $30 millon
- Ricky Gervais: $25 million
- Gabriel Iglesias: $20.5 million
- Terry Fator: $18 million
- Jim Gaffigan: $17.5 million
- Jeff Dunham: $16.5 million
- Sebastian Maniscalco: $15 million