Amy Schumer Is Among The Highest Earning Comics In The World – But Who The Hell Are The Rest Of Them?

Right, good news about Amy Schumer: she’s become the first woman ever – ever! – to enter the list of the Top 10 High-paid Comedians, which is compiled annually by the financial magazine Forbes.

The list looks at pre-tax earnings in the year between between June 2015 and 2016 (Schumer made £13m in this time period). Though Forbes’ methodology appears to leave room for vagaries – the magazine combines number crunching with interviews with managers and lawyers – the findings make for interesting reading.

Jerry Seinfeld has held the top spot for 10 years, but has been knocked off it by squeaky-voiced comic Kevin Hart, stars of films such as Get Hard and Ride Along 2. Hart reeled in £67.4million, largely thanks to his extensive touring, while Seinfeld only managed (a frankly embarrassing) £43.5m. So far: cheering developments for those who embrace change and gender equality.

There is strange news here, too, though. First things first – British comic John Bishop, a man whose act appears to arrive via a time capsule from 1990s, makes the grade, having amassed £5.4m. Yet there are more pressing questions. Let’s look at that list in full…

10: John Bishop (£5.4m)

9: Russell Peters (£6.9m)

8: Gabriel Inglesias (£7.3)

7: Jim Gaffigan (£9.6m)

6: Dave Chappelle (£9.9m)

5: Jeff Dunham (£10.3m)

4: Amy Schumer (£13m)

3: Terry Fator (£16.1)

2: Jerry Seinfeld (£43.5m)

1 Kevin Hart (£67.4m)

Anything unusual there? ‘Course there is. We all know Dave Chappelle, but what about the rest of them? Who on earth are Russell Peters, Gabriel Inglesias, Jim Gaffigan, Jeff Dunham and Terry Fator? Let’s turn to YouTube and find out…

Terry Fator

How did get so rich?
The former America’s Got Talent contestant from Dallas, Texas, is a ventriloquist. Apparently he signed a massive deal for a residency at the Las Vegas club the Mirage. Vegas: the promised land for jobbing comics.

Is he funny?

On the evidence above, absolutely not. The stuttering Elvis dummy is at first creepy, and then exasperating. Why is the audience laughing so much? The Elvis dummy says it gets nervous in front of people, and they kill themselves laughing about it. Terry, you are a genius for spinning this into more than £16m per year.

Jeff Dunham

How did he get so rich?

Dunham, like Fator, made his money via a residency in Vegas, albeit at the less swish-sounding Planet Hollywood. He is also a ventriloquist from Dallas, Texas. You might say Jeff Dunham is the poor man’s Terry Fator, but he’s still really, really rich.

Is he funny?

Like, if you can’t find funnies in the current US presidential election, you’re doing something wrong. Jeff Dunham is doing something wrong. The dummy implies that politicians are crooked and absolutely slays the audience. He might as well open a gag with the line: “What’s the deal with airplane food…?”

Jim Gaffigan

How did he get so rich?

The Illinois comic makes gags about food, though bankrolled himself by playing Colonel Sanders in a series of KFC adverts. Tip for aspiring comics: sell the hell out.

Is he funny?

Here he is, making funnies about McDonalds. Not, you will note, KFC. You don’t shit where you eat and make millions. The gag about him meeting a male sex worker, as opposed to a female sex worker, is pretty grim. The bizarrely enthusiastic audience claps at the mention of the deliciousness of McDonald’s fries. Gaffigan’s routine seems to rely on funny voices and talking over and over – and over – about McDonald’s. I didn’t laugh, but I could do with a Big Mac.

Gabriel Iglesias

How did he get so rich?

This Californian comic has the nickname Fluffy and stars in a reality show called Fluffy Breaks Even. This is already a cause for concern.

Is he funny?

Beware a man in a comedy Hawaiian shirt. Somehow, though, Fluffy become a millionaire while still using the punchline: “That’s what your mum said.” We can only assume that every school playground in the world is filled with budding millionaire comedians.

Russell Peters

How did he get so rich?

According to Forbes, Canadian comic Peters made his money “making pit stops in the Middle East to do private shows for Saudi princes. Well, it probably beats the club circuit.

Is he funny?

You will learn so much more here than you ever needed to know about the interior of the military plane Peters once boarded, but you might not laugh a lot. It’s like being at a family dinner with your uncle who was in the Territorial Army for a few weeks and never, ever shuts up about it.