Who doesn’t like to have a laugh… it improves your mood and health as well. But what if doing comedy also makes you a multi-millionaire or close to a billionaire. Read on and find out which comedians have made it to the richest list of comedians.
20. Rowan Atkinson
The Observer listed Atkinson as one of the 50 funniest actors in British comedy in 2007, and among the top 50 comedians ever, in a 2005 poll of fellow comedians.
Known worldwide as Mr. Bean and also Edmund Blackadder in Blackadder, Atkinson has also been in other films such as the Never Say Never Again (1983) James Bond series, Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), voicing Zazu in The Lion King (1994), and Love Actually (2003). Atkinson also featured in the BBC sitcom The Thin Blue Line (1995–1996). On stage, he has been in productions such as the West End 2009 revival of the musical Oliver!.
After university, Atkinson did a one-off pilot for London Weekend Television in 1979 called Canned Laughter. Atkinson then went on to do Not the Nine O’Clock News for the BBC, produced by his friend John Lloyd. Not the Nine O’Clock News was well-received, subsequently landing him the role of Edmund Blackadder in Blackadder produced by the BBC.
Rowan Atkinson had studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering and in fact wen to Oxford University to pursue his master’s in the same subject. With comedy, he has built himself a fortune of some $130 million.
19. Dan Aykroyd
Dan Aykroyd is synonymous with Ghostbusters. Not only did he conceive of and star in Ghostbusters, but he has also created an entire media franchise from this creation.
Outside of comedy, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the 1989 film Driving Miss Daisy. He also starred in his own sitcom, Soul Man (1997–1998). Aykroyd is also a businessman, having co-founded the House of Blues chain of music venues and the Crystal Head Vodka brand.
Aykroyd first gained fame on the American late-night comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL) as a cast member of “The Not Ready For Prime Time Players” show. Aykroyd was the youngest member of the cast and appeared on the show for its first four seasons, from 1975–1979.
Aykroyd has since retired from full-time acting, but occasionally reads scripts for roles he’s interested in.
He originally wanted to be a priest. This comedian is worth an estimated total of $155 million.
18. Sacha Baron Cohen
Known for his fictional characters like Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev, Brüno Gehard, and Admiral General Aladeen, Cohen’s method is to put on various accents and dons different guises to interact with unsuspecting subjects who have been set up for self-revealing ridicule. Cohen employs shock value for his acts and while most have found it to be hilarious, some have taken some offense.
Cohen’s other work includes voicing King Julien XIII in the Madagascar film series (2005–2012) and appearing in films such as Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Hugo (2011), and Les Misérables (2012). He has also co-starred in the fantasy sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass. Two years later, he created and starred in Who Is America? (2018) for Showtime, his first television project since Da Ali G Show (2000–2004), for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy. The following year, Baron Cohen portrayed Eli Cohen in the limited series The Spy for OCS and Netflix, for which he received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film.
In 2018, The Times named Baron Cohen among the 30 best living comedians. Cohen read History at Cambridge University. Today as a comedian, he is estimated to be worth around $185 million.
17. Steve Harvey
Broderick Stephen Harvey is the hosts of The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Family Feud, Celebrity Family Feud, the Miss Universe competition (since 2015), and Fox’s New Year’s Eve (since 2017).
Harvey began his career by doing standup comedy in the early 1980s and hosted Showtime at the Apollo and The Steve Harvey Show on The WB. He was later featured in The Original Kings of Comedy after starring in the Kings of Comedy Tour. He performed his last standup show in 2012.
He is a six-time Daytime Emmy Award winner, two-time Marconi Award winner, and a 14-time NAACP Image Award winner in various categories.
Harvey is also the owner of Steve Harvey Global which conglomerates all his brands under one roof in SHG. In 2019, he launched a learning hub called Vault., speaking at the first Vault conference held in Los Angeles.
In the late ’80s, Harvey was homeless for three years, sleeping rough in car and showering in gas stations and swimming pool showers. Today, with his business ventures and earnings from his shows, he is estimated to have built up a net worth of some $180 million.
16. Bill Murray
William James Murray first rose to fame on Saturday Night Live, in a series of performances that earned him his first Emmy Award. He later starred in comedy films like Meatballs (1979), Caddyshack (1980), Stripes (1981), Tootsie (1982), Ghostbusters (1984), Scrooged (1988), Ghostbusters II (1989), What About Bob? (1991) and Groundhog Day (1993). He also co-directed Quick Change (1990).
One of his most memorable roles in films must be Lost in Translation (2003) which earned him a Golden Globe and a British Academy Film Award, as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Murray has starred in over 60 films throughout his career.
After graduating from Loyola Academy, Murray attended Regis University in Denver, Colorado taking pre-medical courses, with the intention to train as an M.D. He dropped out and today he is estimated to be worth some $200 million.
15. Ray Romano
Everybody loves Raymond, or Ray Romano in real life. This American stand-up comedian received an Emmy Award, and also as the voice of Manny in the Ice Age film series. Outside of comedy, Romano portrayed mob lawyer Bill Bufalino in Martin Scorsese‘s epic crime film The Irishman (2019).
Continuing with comedy, Romano has been playing Rick Moreweather in the comedy-drama series Get Shorty since 2017.
Romano started his comedy career when he competed in the Johnnie Walker Comedy Search in 1989 and appeared on The Comedy Channel. His appeared in various TV channels, including Comedy Central where he had been a recurring guest voice on the show Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. He also was a contestant on Star Search in the stand-up comedy category. He was initially cast to play Joe (originally named Rick) on the American television sitcom NewsRadio but was replaced by Joe Rogan. He then appeared on Late Show with David Letterman doing his stand-up routine which established his ties with CBS. CBS then made him the star of his own show, Everybody Loves Raymond.
Born December 21, 1957, Ray Romano is said to be worth some $200 million.
14. Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart’s breakout role was in the TV series Undeclared. Although the series lasted only one season, he was quickly offered roles in other films like Scary Movie (2003) and Little Fockers (2010).
With roles in films like Think Like a Man (2012), Grudge Match (2013), Ride Along (2014), and its sequel Ride Along 2 (2016), About Last Night (2014), Get Hard (2015), Central Intelligence (2016), The Secret Life of Pets (2016), Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), and Night School (2018), this comedian’s reputation began to grow.
Hart has gone on various comedy tours beginning with I’m a Grown Little Man, followed by his world tour titled What Now? Which started in 2015 and ended in 2018. His Irresponsible Tour started in 2017 and concluded in 2018. He has also released numerous comedy albums that were well received.
After dropping out of community college, Hart started life in the comedy lane performing at amateur gigs at a club in Philadelphia.
Kevin Hart is worth some $200 million today.
13. Jim Carey
Carey is famous for his roles in films like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), The Mask (1994), Dumb and Dumber (1994) and Liar Liar (1997). His over-the-top slapstick performances are his trade-mark which will have you in stitches.
Outside of comedic roles, Carey has also played dramatic and serious roles like his leading role in The Truman Show (1998) and Man on the Moon (1999). These two roles won him a Golden Globe for Best Actor in Motion Picture Drama and Best Actor Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
In 2020, Carey published his first novel Memoirs and Misinformation about a fictionalized Carey. The novel was released to critical praise.
Carey is thought to have a personal fortune of some $210 million.
12. Seth MacFarlane
As the creator of three hugely popular TV series, Family Guy (1999-present), The Orville (2017-present) and co-creator of American Dad (2005-present), MacFarlane is well entrenched in the Hollywood scene. He started as an animator and writer for Hanna-Barbera in a number of animations like Johnny Bravo, I Am Weasel, and Larry & Steve.
He has also had cameo appearances in TV series like the Gilmore Girls, The War at Home, Star Trek: Enterprise and FlashForward.
For his Family Guy, he has won five Primetime Emmy Awards and an Annie Award.
MacFarlane is also a singer and has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Royal Albert Hall in London. He has released six studio albums, in the same vein of his musical idol Frank Sinatra, beginning with Music Is Better Than Words in 2011. MacFarlane has been nominated for five Grammy Awards for his musical work His “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from Ted was nominated for Best Original Song at the 85th Academy Award in 2013.
In 2020, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. MacFarlane graduated with a degree in Fine Arts and had intended to work for Disney after graduating but had changed his mind. He is estimated to be worth a stunning $300 million.
11. Jay Leno
As host of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for nearly two decades, this familiar and well-loved comedian and television host seems more like an old friend for those who have followed him throughout his time on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Although there was the timeslot conflict with Conan O’Brien who took over from Leno on The Tonight Show, and Leno hosting The Jay Leno show which debuted in September 2009, Leno remains hugely popular with his fans.
Leno has a personal collection of some 290 vehicles, most of which are vintage or have historical significance.
Leno has won numerous awards including three Primetime Emmy Awards. Over the years, Leno has built for himself a personal fortune of approximately $400 million. Leno is famously astute with preserving his wealth, often saving and investing his main income and using only income earned from side jigs.
10. David Letterman
One of the most prolific late-night television hosts, David Letterman needs no introduction. His Late Night with David Letterman on NBC ran for 33 years ending on May 20, 2015.
Letterman is also a television and film producer – his production company Worldwide Pants produced his own shows as well as The Late Late Show and also several prime-time comedies, the most famous of which is Everybody Loves Raymond.
His early years on television included stints as a radio talk show host on WNTS (AM) and on Indianapolis television station WLWI as an anchor and weatherman.
David Letterman is estimated to have a net worth over $400 million.
9. Byron Allen
Allen started as a stand-up comedian on amateur nights a comedy clubs in the Los Angeles area. His first break came when at 18 years of age, he appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He then became a regular presenter on NBC’s Real People. His show Kickin It with Byron Allen which premiered in 1992 became the longest-running television show in the US. In 1993, Allen founded his own Entertainment Studios and launched Entertainers with Byron Allen, a weekly one-hour series profiling the current stars of film and television.
While Allen’s a comedian at heart, he has since starting his production company become a studio executive, and is currently the head of Allen Media Group which owns tv channels such as Fox Sports Networks and The Weather Channel.
Allen has been honored by business and trade magazines and associations, such as being selected the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs at the Goldman Sachs Builders & Innovators Summit 2018 and honored by the Salvation Army and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Advisory Board at the Salvation Army’s 11th Annual Christmas Kettle Luncheon. In January 2019, Allen was a recipient of NATPE’s 16th Annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards presented during the annual NATPE Miami Marketplace & Conference. Allen received the 2019 Whitney M. Young Jr. award at the 46th annual Los Angeles Urban League Awards dinner.
Byron Allen is thought to be worth approximately $400 million.
8. Bill Cosby
Globally known for The Bill Cosby Show and later The Cosby Show, which was the number one rated show in the US from 1985 to 1989, Cosby was a pioneer in that the sitcom showcased affluent African-American family and their daily lives. Later, Cosby produced A Different World (1987 – 1993), The Cosby Mysteries (1994 – 1995), Cosby (1996 – 2000) and Kids Sat the Darndest Things (1998 – 2000).
William Henry Cosby Jr. earned a Doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. However, sadly, his stellar reputation and his work in elevating African-Americans were tarnished when he was convicted of sexual assault in 2018. He was estimated to be worth some $400 million in 2018.
7. Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler is known internationally for his comedic roles in many films. He is a comedian, actor, screenwriter, and film producer. Through his many creative pursuits and specific sense of humor, Adam has become massively influential and well known as a comedian and actor. Born to a nursery school teacher mom and an electrical engineer dad in 1966, Adam grew up in Brooklyn, New York. In 1988, Adam graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
As of 2020, Adam Sandler has an estimated net worth of $430 million dollars.
6. Ellen DeGeneres
DeGeneres’ comedic career started in the early 80s, which saw her in various comedy clubs and appearances in television shows like The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. She was also the voice of Dory in the two Finding Nemo animation.
Her big break came with her eponymous sitcom Ellen and then The TV talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show which has been running since 2003. On her TV show, she is fun, personable, and kind. Her popularity hit a high in 1997 when she came out as gay to Oprah in The Oprah Winfrey Show. However, in 2020, news of a toxic work environment and other allegations surfaced from staff working on her show. She has since issued an apology and said that she has made changes to rectify matters.
We trust that DeGeneres has made these changes. She joked that that she was a good actress because she has played straight women. “But I don’t think that I’m that good that I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you,” she said of her reputation for kindness.
DeGeneres is a powerhouse with an estimated net worth of some $450 million.
5. Matt Stone
Matt Stone is an animator, writer, producer, and composer of animation series like South Park. While he is technically not a comedian, South Park is a comedic sitcom about four boys and their lives in and around South Park in Colorado. The animation became known for its profanity and surreal humor. It satirizes a lot of topical themes and is really meant for adults. It originally premiered on Comedy Central in 1997 and has since grown a global following. Stone also wrote and produced the hugely popular and critically acclaimed musical Book of Mormon.
After South Park, Stone wrote and produced South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut (1999). He has won five Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on South Park and three Tony Awards and one Grammy Award for the Book of Mormon.
In 1992 Stone and three others formed a production company, created and produced a fictional film called Alfred Packer: The Musical. The four managed to sell the film to Troma Entertainment in 1996 and following this success, the group moved to Los Angeles and met a lawyer for the William Morris Agency who introduced them to producer Scott Rudin. However, they struggled for years thinking that they had made it. Stone slept on dirty laundry for a year as he couldn’t afford a mattress. Well, today, Stone is estimated to have built a personal fortune of about $600 million.
4. Trey Parker
Trey Parker is the co-creator of South Park. His creative partner is Matt Stone. They met while studying at the University of Colorado at Boulder. They bonded over provocative, anti-authoritarian humor and Monty Python.
Like his creative partner Matt Stone, Trey Parker has built up a huge fortune, and is estimated to be worth $600 million.
3 Matt Groening
He is the creator of the longest-running primetime television series in history. The Simpsons have been running from 1989 till present and is still tuned in by millions.
He is also the creator of the comic strip Life in Hell (1977–2012) Futurama (1999–2003, 2008–2013), and Disenchantment (2018–present).
Groening has won thirteen Primetime Emmy Awards, eleven for The Simpsons and two for Futurama as well as a British Comedy Award for “outstanding contribution to comedy” in 2004. In 2002, he won the National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award for his work on Life in Hell. A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was created in his name on February 14, 2012. He is also estimated to be worth some $600 million.
2. Larry David
The creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David’s acerbic wit is endearing. His work on Seinfeld has won him two Primetime Emmy Awards in 1993 for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Comedy Series. In total, David has been nominated 27 times for a Primetime Emmy Award as well as three Golden Globe Award nominations.
David started as a stand-up comedian and got into television writing for ABC’s Fridays, a late-night comedy show, and also for a brief time, Saturday Night Live. He is widely known to be the comedians’ comedian. After senator Bernie Sanders came into prominence, David has portrayed Sanders numerous times on Saturday Night Live.
When David first started, he worked as a store clerk, limousine driver, and historian. He lived in a subsidized housing complex in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. Today, David’s net worth is estimated to be in the ballpark of $400 million.
1. Jerry Seinfeld
Playing a fictionalized version of himself in the titular Seinfeld which he created and co-wrote with Larry David, the show has become one of the most acclaimed and popular sitcoms of all time. Seinfeld’s humor is based on everyday observation of situations and things.
Outside of Seinfeld, Seinfeld produced, co-wrote, and starred in the 2007 film Bee Movie, which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film. In 2010, he premiered a reality series called The Marriage Ref, which ran for two seasons on NBC. Seinfeld is also the creator and host of the series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee on Netflix.
In recent years, On September 19, 2017, Netflix released the stand-up comedy special Jerry Before Seinfeld. The special follows the comedian as he returns for a stand-up routine at the New York City comedy club, Comic Strip Live, which started his career. The special was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album in 2018.
In 2020, it was announced that Netflix would be releasing Seinfeld’s first original stand-up special in 22 years titled, 23 Hours to Kill. The special premiered on streaming service on May 5.
Jerry Seinfeld is estimated to be worth an eye-watering $950 million.