Jerry Seinfeld remains the highest-paid comedian, even though his show hasn’t aired in 17 years. The Forbes list of highest-paid comedians just came out, and his name was at the top of the list just ahead of a handful of other highly celebrated comedians.
The 61-year-old Seinfeld co-creator and star is still raking in earnings from his show that aired in the 90’s. Over the last year, he’s landed $36 million through a number of performances and deals. The most notable deal occurred when Hulu paid $160 million to own the streaming rights to Seinfeld, and he earns a royalty every time the show is watched. His net total comes out to be more than $800 million, and he has no problem selling out tours and packing a stadium.
His show ran from 1989 to 1998 with nine seasons. According to Statistics Brain, it won 10 Primetime Emmy’s, and in four years, Jerry Seinfeld was nominated for five Outstanding Lead Actor for Comedy Series awards. It made $200 million a year, and while the season was airing, Seinfeld made $5 million per episode. It also hit a major milestone in advertising when it began spending $1 million for every minute an advertisement ran.
That kind of legacy doesn’t go away quickly, and Seinfeld is still reaping the benefits years after its end. He’s still considered one of the funniest men alive, and he continues to appear on stage and on late night comedy shows in order to keep his reputation alive.
Seinfeld beat out some of the best comedic minds of the age. Kevin Hart came in just behind him at number two. He’s managed to gross an incredible $28.5 million this year with movies like Think Like a Man Too, Get Hard, and The Wedding Ringer, not to mention his sellout arena tours.
Terry Fator made it high on the list at number three. He’s managed to move out of the small act scene into major Las Vegas arenas where he’s become a multi-millionaire from his performances. He makes the bulk of his money performing at The Mirage. He managed to gross $21.5 million last year. Not bad for an America’s Got Talent star.
Jeff Dunham and Russell Peters tied at number four with $19 million a year. Peters has performed copiously over the last couple decades, and now he’s become a judge on the hit show, Last Comic Standing. Dunham has taken up residency in a number of Las Vegas hotels.
The rest of the list went as follows:
6. Aziz Ansari: $9.5 million
7. Louis C.K. $9 million
8. Gabriel Iglesias: $8.5 million
9. John Bishop: $8 million
10. Dave Chappelle: $7.5 million
When it comes to earnings for comedians like this, most of their earnings have come from ticket sales, but live streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have really changed the game for some comedians. These performers have received far more screen time and attention to their acts. Both of the television and movie services have been fighting over the rights to some of the best comedian acts for several years now, and it’s boosted the earnings of many comedic acts.
One element that’s notably missing from this list is women. Stand-up comedians like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Amy Schumer have certainly garnered a lot of fame and attention in the media, but the gender pay gap remains. They may not have been able to beat out a comedian with a pedigree like Seinfeld’s, but it’s a little surprising that no woman was able to make the top 10 list.
Jerry Seinfeld’s legacy lives on, even though the show hasn’t aired in years. The show about nothing that won America’s allegiance has now made Jerry Seinfeld the richest comedian in the world.
[Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images]