For the better part of a decade, Jerry Seinfeld has stood at the top of comedy. Now, it appears his reign is over, with Kevin Hart taking over the throne as comedy’s newest king. Hart has been named the highest-paid comedian by Forbes, raking in a whopping $87.5 million. This is over double the $43.5 million that perennial fan-favorite Seinfeld drew in. With Hart now atop the list of highest-earning comedians, it makes you wonder how he came to achieve such success.
Like most comedians, Hart began his career performing stand-up gigs in small venues hoping to catch a big break. He happened to break through, however, with Hollywood. He earned small parts in a number of films including Scary Movie 3, Soul Plane, Along Came Polly, and The 40 Year Old Virgin. Hart also made multiple television appearances before scoring his first stand-up TV special in 2009, Kevin Hart: I’m a Grown Little Man.
Hart continued to regularly appear in movies and TV, including providing commentary as a frequent round-table guest on Chelsea Lately alongside Chelsea Handler. He gained more traction in the spotlight with the release of three more stand-up specials, Seriously Funny, Laugh at my Pain, and Let Me Explain.
Hart served as the host of the MTV Video Music Awards in 2012 and went on to create and star in The Real Husbands of Hollywood on BET, a parody series spawned off the success of Bravo’s The Real Housewives franchise.
While his career in TV and film has propelled his fame, it’s his comedy shows that have catapulted Kevin Hart to the top of the comedic crop. His What Now? Tour took Hart to six continents, playing a total of 165 shows in large-scale arenas like Madison Square Garden and London’s O2 arena. As one of few comedians to perform in such major venues, Hart’s tour is responsible for bringing in a hefty portion of his 2016 earnings. And with starring roles in hit films like Ride Along 2 and The Secret Life of Pets, Hart truly has had a banner year. It looks like the newest King of Comedy is here to stay.