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The World’s Highest-Paid Comedians Of 2018

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Once again, Jerry Seinfeld is the King of Comedy.


The Seinfeld creator earned $57.5 million in 12 months, before taxes and fees, claiming the top spot on our list of the world’s highest-paid comedians. He collected multimillion-dollar dividends from his 2017 Netflix deal and Hulu’s streaming rights to all nine seasons of Seinfeld. Offscreen, Seinfeld made more than $30 million from his first love, stand-up.

Since Forbes started tracking the earnings of the highest-paid comedians in 2006, Seinfeld has topped the list every year with the exception of 2016, when he was dethroned by Kevin Hart.

Though Seinfeld is on top, Hart certainly gave him a run for his money. The pint-sized powerhouse ranks second with $57 million, only $500,000 behind Seinfeld. The Kevin Hart Irresponsible Tour, which was the biggest comedy tour of 2018, topped 1 million tickets sold and banked Hart more than $30 million. He also starred in the wildly successful Jumanji remake, which grossed nearly $1 billion worldwide. Hart was recently picked to host the 2019 Oscars, but he stepped down due to backlash against his prior homophobic tweets.

The world’s ten highest-paid comedians made a grand total of $292 million, before taxes and fees, from June 1, 2017, to June 1, 2018. This is a whopping $82.5 million lower than last year’s haul due to fewer Netflix deals. Many of this year’s funnymen—including Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock—saw their streaming earnings decrease from 2017.

Two individuals disappeared from our lineup this year: Amy Schumer and Louis C.K. In 2017, Schumer became the first woman to ever appear on the highest-paid comedians list thanks to touring and a lucrative Netflix special, but she did not meet this year’s $15 million cutoff. As for C.K., he made the comedians list and the ranking of the world’s highest-paid celebrities with $52 million last year. But after he confirmed sexual misconduct allegations against him in November 2017, Netflix canceled his second special and C.K. stopped performing until this past August when he made an unannounced appearance at the Comedy Cellar.

Gabriel Iglesias, who last made the list in 2015, returns with a career-best haul of $20.5 million, enough for sixth place. The comedian, affectionately known as “Fluffy,” made most of his millions from performing a stunning 136 gigs, but he also inked a three-project deal with Netflix last April for a multi-camera comedy series and two new stand-up specials. He might clinch a higher spot on next year’s list thanks to his Beyond the Fluffy world tour, which starts in February.

The one newcomer is a familiar face. British comedian Ricky Gervais, who claims fifth place with $25 million, made a killing on Humanity, his first stand-up tour in seven years. He received at least $15 million, Forbes estimates, for his Netflix special of the same name. The Office co-creator has signed on for a second Netflix special that has yet to be filmed.

Without a doubt, Netflix has changed the comedy economy. Armed with an original programming budget as high as $13 billion, Netflix is able to outbid most other networks; the streaming service released nearly 100 stand-up specials this year alone.

That said, Netflix hasn’t cornered the comedy market yet. Jim Gaffigan (No. 8, $17.5 million) released his latest special, Noble Ape, direct to digital, bypassing Netflix, which released his previous two specials. Hart, who launched his own fledgling streaming service, Laugh Out Loud, believes Netflix isn’t his most important revenue stream.

“Nothing is ever going to beat touring. It’s an entity that I own and control,” Hart told Forbes. “I would never turn my back on stand up; it opened up the doors I walk through now.” Gallery: The Highest-Paid Comedians Of 201811 imagesView gallery 

METHODOLOGY

All earnings estimates are from June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018. Figures are pretax; fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted. Earnings estimates are based on data from Pollstar Pro as well as interviews with industry insiders.

The World’s Highest-Paid Comedians Of 2018

10. Sebastian Maniscalco

Earnings: $15 million

9. Jeff Dunham

Earnings: $16.5 million

8. Jim Gaffigan

Earnings: $17.5 million

7. Terry Fator

Earnings: $18 million

6. Gabriel Iglesias

Earnings: $20.5 million

5. Ricky Gervais

Earnings: $25 million

4. Chris Rock

Earnings: $30 million

3. Dave Chappelle

Earnings: $35 million

2. Kevin Hart

Earnings: $57 million

1. Jerry Seinfeld

Earnings: $57.5 million

  • Hayley Cuccinello and Madeline Berg

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Billionaires

Richest Cities In The World: The Top 10 Cities With The Most Billionaires

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People with ten-digit fortunes can live pretty much anywhere they want. As it turns out, many like the same spots.

Of the 2,153 members of the 2019 Forbes World’s Billionaires List, 551 live in just 10 of the world’s 1,860 cities. Billionaires living in this relative handful of locations possess a collective $2.3 trillion of wealth, exceeding the GDP of all but seven nations on earth.

New York City again tops the list with 84 billionaires, whose combined net worth of $469.7 billion is greater than the GDP of Austria. The biggest city in the U.S. and home of the world’s two biggest stock exchanges, New York has housed the most billionaires for five years running.

The streak started in 2015 when it beat out Moscow, which has ranked as No. 3 since 2016. The Russian capital had 85 billionaires in 2014, 14 more than today.

China has the most cities in the top 10, with 145 of the nation’s billionaires living in just three places: No. 4 Beijing, No. 6 Shanghai and No. 8 Shenzhen. While all three Chinese cities have fewer billionaires than last year, they still account for 45% of the country’s list members.

That percentage may stand to grow even larger as China sprints toward further urbanization; the nation’s city-dwelling population has increased from 48% to 59% since 2009, per Chinese census data.

The same 10 sites were also the most popular on last year’s World’s Billionaires list, albeit with slightly shuffled rankings. San Francisco saw the biggest year-over-year jump, moving up from No. 10 to No. 7 and adding eight billionaires, including Coinbase cofounder Brian Armstrong and Levi Strauss heiress Mimi Haas.

Mumbai is the biggest loser, dropping from No. 7 to No. 10 with a net loss of eight billionaires. Nine fell off the list, including pharma bigwigs Samprada Singh and Basudeo Singh of Alkem Laboratories, whose stock price fell some 20%. Only one new billionaire emerged in India’s most populous city: paint company heir Mahendra Choksi.

Here are 10 cities with the most billionaires from No. 10 to No. 1:

10. Mumbai, 37 billionaires (-8 since 2018)

Total net worth: $184.4 billion

Richest resident: Oil and gas heir Mukesh Ambani, $50 billion

Mumbai is home to what is likely the most expensive residence on earth: Ambani’s $1 billion 27-story palace. It was also the site of one of the biggest, costliest weddings ever, again courtesy of Ambani. He hosted the week-long blockbuster celebration for his daughter Isha and the son of fellow billionaire Ajay Piramal in December 2018.  

9. Seoul, 38 billionaires (-3)

Total net worth: $99.9 billion

Richest resident: Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, $16.9 billion

All but one of South Korea’s billionaires reside in its biggest city, and all are South Korean citizens. Seoul’s richest people control the nation’s biggest businesses, including global powerhouses Samsung and Hyundai. South Korea is also the world’s fourth-largest online gaming market (over $5.7 billion in revenue, per Newzoo), and the sector has produced five Seoul billionaires, including Maple Story-maker Kim Jung-ju.

8. Shenzhen, 39 billionaires (-5)

Total net worth: $190.5 billion

Richest resident: Tencent CEO Ma Huateng, $38.8 billion

Designated as a “special economic zone” during Chinese economic reforms of the 1980’s, the Hong Kong-bordering city has become an economic and tourist hub. Every listmaker from Shenzhen is a self-made billionaire, with its second-richest resident Hui Ka Yan working as a factory technician for ten years before founding one of China’s foremost real estate developers. Dorm room founder Frank Wangbecame the world’s first drone billionaire in 2016, along with an early investor and his marketing chief, both Shenzhen residents.

7. San Francisco, 42 billionaires (+8)   

Total net worth: $109.2 billion

Richest resident: Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskowitz, $11.1 billion

The heart of America’s tech revolution, San Francisco is homebase for founders of Uber, Airbnb and Pinterest. The region’s influx of digital-age companies has made it the most expensive city in the U.S. (The entire Bay Area, including San Francisco and nearby cities, has 82 billionaires, still fewer than New York). One escapee: PayPal cofounder and Trump backer Peter Thiel, who moved to Los Angeles in 2018, reportedly for its greater political diversity.

6. Shanghai, 45 billionaires (-5)

Total net worth: $110.7 billion

Richest resident: Ecommerce entrepreneur Colin Huang, $13.5 billion

As ecommerce surges worldwide, so do fortunes like Huang’s, which is tied to internet retailer Pinduoduo. All those online-purchased items have created a massive package delivery market. Shanghai, also the world’s biggest port, is home to four major package delivery companies, each with a pair each of billionaires. The city’s richest logistics duo is tied to Yunda Express; its cofounding spouses Nie Tengyun and Chen Liying are worth a combined $5.1 billion.

5. London, 55 billionaires (+0)

Total net worth: $226 billion

Richest resident: Russian bank founder Mikhail Fridman, $15 billion

London, with more five star hotels than any other city, is a mecca for the uber rich. While 20 Brits call the cosmopolitan city home, 35 expatriate billionaires from 23 countries including India, Iceland and Russia have relocated to London. Five, including two Ikea heirs, come from high-taxed Sweden, more than any other nation. Four are Russians, including Russia’s richest woman Elena Baturina, whose husband was removed as mayor of Moscow in 2010. And though he’s not a resident, Chicago hedge fund head Ken Griffin bought a $122 million property just a ten minute walk from Buckingham Palace this January.

4. Beijing, 61 billionaires (-3)

Total net worth: $193.3 billion

Richest resident: Commercial real estate titan Wang Jianlin, $22.6 billion

Beijing is home to China’s two youngest billionaires, both products of the internet era: 33-year-old cryptocurrency miner Jihan Wu and 35-year-old ByteDance chair Zhang Yiming. The success of his $75 billion internet-era content creation hub has launched Zhang from the city’s No. 13 to No. 2 richest in just a year. He’s only topped by Wang, whose fortune comes from real estate. Tech (17) and real estate (12) are the most popular industries for billionaires in the Chinese capital.

3. Moscow, 71 billionaires (-6)

Total net worth: $336.5 billion

Richest resident: Natural gas oligarch Leonid Mikhelson, $24 billion

Nearly 80% of all billionaires in Russia live in its capital, which is also its most populous city. Moscow is home to five billionaires sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in April 2018: suspected election meddler Oleg Deripaska, Michael Cohen-tied Viktor Vekselberg, legislative official Andrei Skoch, former Putin judo partner Arkady Rotenberg and trained economist Suleiman Kerimov. Russia’s Great Gatsby (as he’s been called) Kerimov faced money-laundering charged in France that were dropped in June.

2. Hong Kong, 79 billionaires (+2)

Total net worth: $355.5 billion

Richest resident: Conglomerate kingpin Li Ka-shing, $31.7 billion

Housing prices in the city have quadrupled since the Great Recession, thanks to its government’s tight grip on supply. The booming market has vaulted the fortunes of developers like Lee Shau Kee and Peter Woo, and 29 Hong Kong billionaires (and half of its top-ten richest) count real estate as their chief source of wealth. But a correction may be imminent—a Citigroup survey says that 57% of Hongkongers anticipate a drop in residential real estate prices during 2019.

1. New York, 84 billionaires (+1)

Total net worth: $469.7 billion

Richest Resident: Media magnate Michael Bloomberg, $55.5 billion

Some Big Apple billionaires were born and raised in New York, including Estee Lauder heir Ronald Lauder, JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon and Highbridge Capital cofounder Henry Swieca. Dimon and Swieca are two of 40 billionaires in the city whose fortunes were built in finance, the richest of whom is Carl Icahn, one of few hedge fund managers to make money in 2018. And though the city’s most famous landlord now calls the White House home, 17 other real estate billionaires live in New York City. That includes native New Yorker Steven Roth, whose real estate company Vornado owns 70% of Trump’s skyscraper at 1290 Avenue of Americas. But just like in London, NYC’s priciest residence, a $238 million Central Park penthouse, is owned by out-of-towner Ken Griffin (he calls Chicago home).

-Carter CoudrietForbes Staff

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Businesses Of The Future: 20 New Wealth Creators On The African Continent

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The New Wealth Creators is the first of its kind list by FORBES WOMAN AFRICA. Herein is a collection of female entrepreneurs on the African continent running businesses and social enterprises that are new, offbeat and radical.

These 20 women have been selected because they have created significant impact in their respective sectors by transforming a market or company, or innovating a product or service, and are pioneering their organization(s) in generating new untapped streams of income.

These women come from across the continent, from the villages and the suburbs, and are in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. They have all adopted sustainable development initiatives in one way or another to help solve Africa’s problems.

They may be wealth creators but their businesses, ironically, did not stem from a need to make money,  but rather from the need to solve Africa’s persisting socio-economic challenges.

 Economically empowering women has shown to boost productivity. It increases economic diversification and income equality, in addition to other positive developmental outcomes.

Simply put, when more women work, economies are likely to grow.

FORBES WOMAN AFRICA put in months of rigorous research, searching near and far for these inspirational entrepreneurs.

We took into account their business model, new ideas, potential, struggles, social impact, growth, influence, resilience and most importantly, their innovation.

Speaking to FORBES WOMAN AFRICA last year at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, said: “Innovation [is] becoming the cornerstone for our economy going forward.”

As Africa’s population is reported to increase by 53% by 2100, according to the United Nations, new solutions must be created in order for us to keep up.

One question remains: can Africa translate its significant population growth into economic development, and invest this wealth to improve the quality of life?

Entrepreneurship could very well be the answer, or at least, one of the answers.

Last year, the Founder and Chair of the Alibaba Group Jack Ma paid Africa a visit to discuss tangible investment and technology development.

He encouraged African entrepreneurs to take giant leaps in solving the challenges facing the continent and to take advantage of the digital economy.

From left to right: Rachel Sibande, Arlene Mulder, Miishe Addy, Sarah Collins, Dineo Lioma, Jessica Anuna. Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla
Assistant Photographer: Gypseenia Lion

He said that opportunities lie where people complain.

And these women, through their businesses, have identified just that.

Vijay Tirathrai, director of the Techstars Dubai Accelerator, shared the same sentiments with FORBES WOMAN AFRICA.

“The new wealth creators, for me, are entrepreneurs who are very conscious about finding solutions in the market place, but from a lens of having social impact or having impacted the environment,” he says.

Tirathrai believes that while servicing consumers, new wealth creators are also “making a safer and a greener planet in the process, eliminating diseases, improving health conditions and advocating for equality for women”.

Women on the African continent have been making headway as drivers of change, and in many ways, they embody new wealth.

They are the true wealth.

As FORBES WOMAN AFRICA, we seek to celebrate such women.

Through this list, money is no longer the central indicator of new wealth creation.

It is about job creation, contributing to healthy societies, recycling waste, giving agency to those who are financially excluded and developing solutions for some of the socio-economic problems we grapple with.

These women may all come from different places but they are bound together by one common thread, and that is the thread of new wealth creation.

This compilation is innovative, exciting, inspiring and shows what businesses of the future may look like.

Meet the FORBES WOMAN AFRICA New Wealth Creators of 2019.

The list on the pages that follow is in no particular order.

-Curated by: Unathi Shologu

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The Richest Woman In The World

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Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s L’Oréal? In Francoise Bettencourt Meyers case, it’s both. The L’Oréal heiress, who is also the chairwoman of her family’s holding company, is the world’s richest woman, with a fortune of $49.3 billion.


Bettencourt Meyers, who is the 15th-richest person in the world, leads the women on the 2019 Forbes World’s Billionaires list.

The granddaughter of L’Oréal’s founder Eugène Schueller (an inventor of hair dyes), and a member of the company’s board since 1997, Bettencourt Meyers debuted on the billionaires list last year following the death of her mother, Liliane Bettencourt, in September 2017. Liliane had been on the list every year since Forbes published its first World’s Billionaires List in 1987.

Bettencourt Meyers’ fortune increased by $7.1 billion, or 17%, since last year thanks to stellar results at the makeup giant, of which she and her immediate family own a 33% stake.

READ MORE | At 21, Kylie Jenner Becomes The Youngest Self-Made Billionaire Ever

An estimated 90% of her wealth is tied to shares of the company, which recorded its best sales growth in more than a decade last year with total revenue coming in at $30.6 billion. Revenue in Asia Pacific jumped 20%, driven by China; the region has now overtaken North America in terms of sales.

Bettencourt Meyers, who lives in Paris, is the president of her family’s Bettencourt Schueller Foundation. The philanthropic foundation encourages French progress in science and the arts, giving money and support to projects in life sciences, social progress and traditional crafts.

The foundation has donated to projects including the research of neurons, support for families of autistic children and French choirs. She is also a writer and has authored a book on the Greek gods and another with commentary on the Bible.

While it’s Bettencourt Meyers’ first official year as richest woman, her name is no stranger to the spot. For the past decade, the world’s richest woman has either been a Bettencourt or Walton. In fact Bettencourt Meyers first overtook Alice Walton, last year’s richest woman, in March 2018, just days after we finalized our annual list.

READ MORE | Fewer Billionaires, Poorer Billionaires On African Continent In 2019

Bettencourt Meyers’ mother Liliane Bettencourt, the daughter of L’Oréal founder Scheuller, spent most of her life working at L’Oréal; late in life she suffered from dementia. She and Walmart heiresses have taken turns holding the title of richest women for most of the past three-plus decades that Forbes has been tracking the wealthy.

Liliane Bettencourt was the richest woman for most of the first 14 years Forbes published the billionaires’ list. In the years following 2001, she was overtaken some years by Walmart founder Sam Walton’s daughter Alice Walton and other years by Sam’s widow Helen Walton. Bettencourt took back the number one spot in 2006. She and Alice Walton’s sister-in-law Christy Walton took turns holding the title for the remainder of the past decade.

In 2010, buoyed by strong Walmart stock, Christy Walton, Sam Walton’s daughter-in-law, became the richest woman. Forbes understood at the time that she received the bulk of her husband John’s fortune when he died in a plane crash in 2005.

She continued as the world’s richest woman for the next four years, but in 2015, previously sealed documents revealed that she had inherited just one-sixth of his fortune. Christy and John’s son, Lukas, received one-third of John Walton’s estate, while the rest went to charity.

The Forbes World’s Billionaires list is a snapshot of wealth using stock prices and exchange rates from February 8, 2019. Some people will become richer or poorer between then and the publication of the rankings, or within days of publication.

-Madeline Berg; Forbes Staff

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