Kevin Hart and Jerry Seinfeld transposed their positions from last year to be named the No. 1 and No. 2 highest-earning comedians, respectively, of 2016.
Forbes magazine’s annual survey of top comics and their earnings between June 2015 and June 2016, released Tuesday, also tallied two newcomers: Amy Schumer, the first female comic ever on the list, and Jim Gaffigan.
Hart, 37, jumped from an estimated $28.5 million on last year’s list to $87.5 million, with the bulk of his income earned from more than 100 concerts yearly at venues such as Madison Square Garden, at an average of more than $1 million each. Supplementing that are parts in movies including “Central Intelligence” and “The Secret Life of Pets,” as well as commercials for Hyundai, Foot Locker and H&M.
“He is a comedian, of course, but he is drawing crowds that you would typically only see for [a] musician,” Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the concert-tour trade magazine Pollstar, told Forbes. “Only a few comedians [are] capable of playing sports arenas the way that Kevin Hart does.”
Seinfeld, 62, dropped out of the top spot for the first time since Forbes began compiling its comedians list. Regardless, the estimated $43.5 million he earned from “Seinfeld” syndication and streaming, his web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and his tour dates well supersede last year’s $36 million.
Pioneering female top-earner Schumer, at No. 4, scored an estimated $17 million on the strength of her concerts, an $8 million book deal, and movie and TV work including a Super Bowl beer commercial. Fellow newcomer Gaffigan, 50, made an estimated $12.5 million to reach No. 7. His earnings came largely from his “Contagious” tour and TV work including playing Colonel Sanders in KFC commercials and a dad in Chrysler spots.
Forbes says its earnings estimates, for the period between June 2015 and June 2016, are based on data from Pollstar, the websites Box Office Mojo and Internet Movie Database, and interviews with agents, managers, lawyers and industry figures.