Move Over, Seinfeld: Kevin Hart Is America’s Highest-Paid Comedian

The diminutive funnyman makes twice as much as no. 2

By Kirk Miller

 
Kevin Hart
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28 September 2016

As a disgruntled Jerry Seinfeld might say, “What’s the deal with this highest-paid comedians’ list?”

As Forbes pointed out this week, our favorite observational comic no longer sits atop it.

He came up short to Kevin Hart.

Seinfeld’s earned $900 million in pretax earnings over the last 10 years, according to the website, and has perenially topped the highest-paid list. But this year (and for the first time), the man with the golden grin is Ride Along star Hart, who earned $87.5 million between June 2015 and June 2016. Seinfeld “only” earned $43.5 million; the list accounts for touring, endorsements, films, DVD sales and paid appearances. It isn't clear whether the list accounts for syndication money from Seinfeld's eponymous sitcom; he and co-creator Larry David still make a generous chunk of the reported $3 billion the show's reruns have brought in since 1995.

All that said, Hart is a deserving polesetter — he's one of the hardest working celebrities on the planet. Not only does the diminutive comic perform 100+ shows per year, he also grosses $1 million at each stop. And according to iMDB, the comedian starred or voiced five major movie roles between 2015-2016.

(In fact, he might be a bit too ubiquitous: As comedian Chris D’Elia noted when Hart served as host for a Justin Bieber 2015 roast on Comedy Central: “Kevin is a good guy and he’s here because he can’t say ‘no’ to anything. Last week he hosted an ISIS beheading on Reddit.”)

In other news, Amy Schumer debuted at fourth place, with $17 million, making her the first and only woman to ever make the list (which is rather pathetic, and a Hollywood problem summed up nicely here). Jim Gaffigan also made his first appearance on the list, and Dave Chappelle made a pleasantly surprise return, thanks to some film work alongside his return to touring.

The list:

  • 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)

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