Stand-up comedy is all about spontaneity, and those who have taken it up as a career have emerged as millionaires in the world’s entertainment industry in 2021. With the digital revolution, stand-up comedy performances might not necessarily be live, as globalization has made it possible for fans to see their favorite performances virtually. Some of the most popular comedians are Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Murray, and Jerry Seinfeld, to name a few. However, here is a list of the stand-up comedians that have gained fame and millions.
4 Martin Lawrence
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Born in Germany, Martin Lawrence was named after two iconic personalities, Martin Luther King Jr and John F. Kennedy. He began his career as a comedian on the standup comedy circuit in Greater Washington D.C. Metro area. Life was not so smooth for him at the beginning. However, all the hard work and perseverance paid off, and today he is on the list of the richest comedians in the world with a fantastic net worth of about $110 million.
The comedian was on the talent search TV show, after which he landed his first acting job in the What’s Happening Now, and his big break came right after with Do the Right Thing. Lawrence had been part of Saturday Night Live but was banned from the show over a controversy about inappropriate content. Lawrence has gone from standup performances to starring comedy films. His latest performance was in 2020, in Bad Boys for life, along with Will Smith.
3 Jeff Dunham
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Jeff Dunham is considered one of the highest-paid comedians of his era. He is a genius in ventriloquism and has promoted the art form more than anybody else. His expertise comes from being trained since the age of 8. Dunham has been self-trained and considered himself as his competition ever since he was a little boy. Today he has achieved his dream of becoming the best ventriloquist worldwide. This skill adds a fine touch to stand-up comedy.
Dunham has been on numerous popular shows such as Late Show with David Letterman, Comedy Central Presents, The Tonight Show, and Sonny With a Chance, to name a few. He earns an approximated $30-40 million annually and is worth $140 million.
2 David Letterman
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David Letterman was born with the gift of the gab, so oratory came naturally to him. He began his career as a talker and newscaster on Ball State’s student-run radio, WBST. This was when he started getting criticism for his sarcastic but hilarious comments on the subject of classical music.
After graduation, David landed a job as a weatherman on an Indianapolis TV station. Even here, he faced some problems due to his impromptu on-air humor. He made the weather talk interesting by sometimes talking about weather reports of fictional cities, but this was criticized as unprofessionalism. Before it was too late, his family suggested that he take up stand-up comedy as a career instead because it was his real calling.
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Soon after, he moved to Los Angeles to build himself as a comedian and landed a job at The Comedy Store. Letterman started meeting different people and building contacts in the entertainment industry throughout his career as a stand-up comedian. This is how he acquired the necessary exposure. The comedian’s impressive dry humor also did not take too long to catch the attention of the scouts from ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson’, and the rest is history. Today David is also a successful TV and Movie producer with a fancy net worth of about $400 million, as stated by SMCE.
1 Byron Allen
Byron Allen became a successful TV producer later in his life. But in the beginning, he was a stand-up comedian who used to perform his acts at different comedy clubs in Los Angeles. Byron started exploring his interest in show business at an early age when he began visiting the NBC studios at Burbank as his mother was already employed there as a publicist.
The comedian is reported to often sneak around the premises and sometimes play talk show host on the sets of “The Tonight Show.” Byron began as an amateur when he was a teenager and soon caught the eye of the famous comedian Jimmie Walker who liked Allen’s stand-up act enough to invite him to co-host another talk show called “Real People.” This is where Byron got the opportunity to work with famous comedians like David Letterman and Jay Leno.
Soon he was able to perform at ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson’, which is also considered his debut on Television. During his formative years, he learned a lot about the entertainment industry besides mastering the art of producing, directing, and advertising. According to Work + Money, the Entertainment Studios is a major source of Allen’s immense wealth of about $450 million.
Stand-up comedy is usually not a learned skill, and the most successful artists in this area are mostly naturals. This is because humor comes to a person as spontaneously as poetry. Being able to make others laugh is a gift that deserves fame and money.
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Source: Work + Money, Wealthy Gorilla, SMCE
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