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Comedian

Comedian
Medium Physical comedy, stand-up comedy
Types Comedy club, theatre, television, film
Ancestor arts Jester, harlequinade, clown
Originating culture Humour

A comedian or comic is a person who seeks to entertain an audience, primarily by making them laugh. This might be through jokes or amusing situations, or acting a fool, as in slapstick, or employing prop comedy. A comedian who addresses an audience directly is called a stand-up comic.

A popular saying, variously quoted but generally attributed to Ed Wynn, is, "A comic says funny things; a comedian says things funny", which draws a distinction between how much of the comedy can be attributed to verbal content and how much to acting and persona.

Since the 1980s, a new wave of comedy, called alternative comedy, has grown in popularity with its more offbeat and experimental style. This normally involves more experiential, or observational reporting, e.g. Alexei Sayle, Daniel Tosh, Louis C.K. and Malcolm Hardee. As far as content is concerned, comedians such as Tommy Tiernan, Des Bishop, and Joan Rivers draw on their background to poke fun at themselves, while others such as Jon Stewart, and Ben Elton have very strong political and cultural undertones.

Many comics achieve a cult following while touring famous comedy hubs such as the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal, the Edinburgh Fringe, and Melbourne Comedy Festival in Australia. Often a comic's career advances significantly when they win a notable comedy award, such as the Edinburgh Comedy Award (formerly the Perrier comedy award). Comics sometimes foray into other areas of entertainment, such as film and television, where they become more widely known; e.g., Eddie Izzard or Ricky Gervais. However, a comic's stand-up success does not guarantee a film's critical or box office success.


Rank Name Annual earnings (USD) Nationality Age Notable works
1 Kevin Hart $87.5 million  United States 37 Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, Ride Along, The Wedding Ringer
2 Jerry Seinfeld $43.5 million 62 Seinfeld, Bee Movie, I'm Telling You for the Last Time
3 Terry Fator $21 million 51 America's Got Talent
4 Amy Schumer $17 million 35 Trainwreck, Inside Amy Schumer, 2015 MTV Movie Awards
5 Jeff Dunham $13.5 million 54 Spark of Insanity, Arguing with Myself, Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special
6 Dave Chappelle $13 million 43 Dave Chappelle's Block Party, Half Baked, Chappelle's Show
7 Jim Gaffigan $12.5 million 50 Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe, The Jim Gaffigan Show, It's Kind of a Funny Story
8 Gabriel Iglesias $9.5 million 40 Hot and Fluffy, The Fluffy Movie, Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand Up Revolution
9 Russell Peters $9 million  Canada 45 Red, White and Brown, Outsourced, Breakaway
10 John Bishop $7 million  United Kingdom 49 John Bishop's Britain, The John Bishop Show, Panto!

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