America’s 10 Top-Earning Comedians 2011

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10 Top-Earning Comedians

No.1 Jeff Dunham

2010 Earnings:$22.5 million

Though his short-lived Comedy Central series took a ratings tumble, Pollstar named the Texas-bred ventriloquist North America’s top touring comic for the second year in a row. His puppets and DVDs remain must-haves for his devoted following. Earlier this summer he made his box office debut opposite Steve Carell and Paul Rudd in Dinner for Schmucks. Next he’ll roll out a memoir, All By My Selves: Peanut, Achmed, and Me.


No.2 Dane Cook

2010 Earnings:$21 million

Cook continues to put butts in seats, be it at stand-up shows or in movie theaters. Over the course of the year, the Massachusetts-bred comic–and sometimes actor–released another popular DVD, Isolated Incident, and continued to cash in on the road with his Isolated Incident Global Thermo Comedy Tour.


No.3 Terry Fator

2010 Earnings:$20 million

The season-two winner of NBC talent competition show America’s Got Talent has been dubbed “the million-dollar voice” and “the human jukebox.” Last year the popular ventriloquist/impressionist and his puppets began a five-year stint at Sin City’s Mirage Hotel. He reportedly is getting $100 million for the course of the commitment.


No.4 Chelsea Handler

2010 Earnings:$19 million

The host of Chelsea Lately, a late-night talk show on E!, took her act on the road this year to promote her third book, Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. The book, her third bestseller, debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list, while her comedy tour of the same name had already pulled in a cool $10 million for the year ending June 1. She has her own production company, Borderline Amazing Productions, and recently signed a $4 million contract for two books to be published next year. Up next: a hosting gig at MTV’s Video Music Awards.


No.5 George Lopez

2010 Earnings:$18 million

The former sitcom star bolstered his income with a popular stand-up act and several flicks, including The Spy Next Door, Valentine’s Day and Marmaduke. It was his TBS late-night talk show, however, that garnered him the most attention, not to mention a platform to market himself and his act. According to Nielsen, 1 million viewers regularly tune in. Come November his show will be bumped back an hour to accommodate NBC castoff Conan O’Brien’s new show, Conan.


No.6 Larry the Cable Guy

2010 Earnings:$16.5 million

Though he’s no longer the country’s top touring act, Larry the Cable Guy continues to bank big money on the road, often cleaning up on the casino circuit. Like his Blue Collar pals, some of whom he has been touring with in recent months, he still cashes in on DVDs and other merchandise. Up next, a History Channel show in which the Nebraska-born comedian travels the country, “immersing himself in different lifestyles, jobs and hobbies.”


No.7 Russell Peters

2010 Earnings:$15 million

Without a TV show like Handler’s to market his shtick, the Indian-American comic relies on revenue from his global stand-up gigs, which regularly break ticket sales records, as well as comedy specials and DVDs. Thanks to a series of clips of his act that have been download tens of millions of times, The Atlantic recently labeled him “one of the greatest comic phenomena of the Internet era.” Up next: a role in Source Code, a sci-fi flick starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Vera Farmiga.


No.8 (tie) Jeff Foxworthy

2010 Earnings:$11 million

The linchpin of a multimillion-dollar empire and the top-selling comedy recording artist of all time, the man best known for his “You Might Be A Redneck” jokes banked more than $5 million on the road this year. Over the course of his career, the multiple Grammy Award nominee has published more than 26 books, sold 15 million-plus records (combined albums and singles) and released one of the top-selling greeting card lines in Wal-Mart’s corporate history. Up next, he’ll join ABC’s unscripted series Shark Tank, opposite fellow sharks like real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran and financial expert Kevin O’Leary.


No.8 (tie) Howie Mandel

2010 Earnings:$11 million

With Deal or No Deal continuing to print money for Mandel in syndication, the Canadian comic added a judging gig on America’s Got Talent to his résumé this past summer. He’s also a spokesman for online retailer Buy.com and spends his remaining time honing his act on the road.


No.10 Bill Engvall

2010 Earnings:$10.5 million

Another vital piece of the one-time Blue Collar Comedy brand, Engvall has kept busy on the road, collecting on average about $100,000 per gig. The former TBS sitcom star raked in millions more from merchandise. He has plans to team up with pals Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy for several more shows in the year ahead.

 

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America’s 10 Top-Earning Comedians 2011