CREATED: 22.02.2024UPDATED: 26.03.2024

26 Ways to Make Money as a Comedian

26 Ways to Make Money as a Comedian

Have a knack for making people laugh? Here’s how to make money as a comedian.

Want to turn your talent for humor into a source of income? Wondering “how do comedians make money?” Being a comedian isn’t just about performing standup. There are tons of ways to make money from comedy if you keep at it and don’t limit yourself to one or two monetization strategies. Find out how to make money as a comedian.

How much do comedians make?

The amount you can earn as a comedian varies greatly depending on how far along you are in your career and the size of your following. A single performance could pay anywhere from $20 to thousands of dollars.

That being said, Comparably reports that comedians in the United States earn, on average, $45,000-$50,000 annually. Other reports put average earnings at just over $30,000. Factors that affect how much comedians make include experience, the amount of travel required, and whether they work part-time or full-time.

If you’re lucky enough to make it big, your career as a comedian can set you up for life. World-famous comedians like Dave Chapelle, Ricky Gervais, and Louis C.K. have made millions from working successfully in the industry for decades.

How to make money as a comedian: 26 ways to monetize your comedy

Online courses

If you already have experience as a comedian, create and sell online courses to pass on helpful tips and strategies to other budding artists. What do comedians need to learn? Consider topics like public speaking skills, memorization techniques, and how to run a business (booking gigs, pricing, tracking and reporting income, marketing tips, etc.).

Unlike performances, online courses are a relatively passive source of income. You don’t have to actively oversee learners, but you will need to market your course and respond to student questions and feedback.

When designing an online course, use a platform like BlurBay that supports multiple content formats (blogs, videos, etc.) and lets you customize your site to match your brand. With a 5% commission fee structure and no ongoing hosting fees, BlurBay is suitable for small, up-and-coming creators and established influencers.

8 types of comedy performance gigs

Performing is probably one of the first money-making strategies that comes to mind for comedians. But how do stand up comedians make money? There are many types of gigs you can pursue. Check out these ideas for how to make money as a comedian.

  • Stand-up comedy. Get exposure for your talent by performing local and long-distance stand-up comedy gigs. Do recurring performances at local comedy clubs, or hit the road for multi-city tours. The best cities for stand-up comedy in the US include New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, and Austin.
How to make money as a comedian. How do stand up comedians make money?

  • Fundraisers. Earn money by performing comedy at fundraisers for non-profits and schools. Plus, raise awareness for causes and organizations you care about.
  • Corporate events. Performing for corporate audiences provides a great opportunity to poke fun at the norms and stresses many people experience in the day-to-day grind at the office. It’s also a great way to spread the word about your act. Just make sure your jokes are safe for work!
  • Short-form social media content. In the social media age, earning money online is easier than ever if you have a relatable personality and the ability to pump out lighthearted content for people looking to escape from everyday life at work or school. Create and monetize short-form videos on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok or BlurBay and watch the money start to flow in.
  • TV & movie appearances. Securing roles in TV and movies is one of the most powerful ways to network and grow your following as a comedian. Mainstream media roles may be tough to land initially, but can provide a decent source of income once you’re in.
  • Opening for bands. It takes time to earn the privilege of being a headliner. In the meantime, consider opening for bands, allowing you to extend beyond the usual reach of comedians and tap into diverse audiences.
  • College and university shows. Entertaining young audiences can be fun and energizing. Showcase your comedy skills to students at college and university shows. Who knows? You might just earn some loyal fans who will follow your career for years to come.
  • Cruise ship entertainer. See the world, meet new people, and grow your career as a professional humorist by performing on cruise ships. A unique, revitalizing way to earn income, cruise ship gigs let you switch it up without losing momentum in your career.

6 types of comedy hosting gigs

If you’re not confident you can break into the performance scene, you might still be hunting for an answer to the question, “how do comedians make money?”

You don’t have to be the main act to make money as a comedian. It’s possible to earn income by warming up audiences for other entertainers, hosting events, or acting as a guide to make experiences more fun and entertaining.

  • Emcee. Short for master of ceremonies (MC), an emcee ensures participants are informed and know what to do at an event like a wedding or conference. Sounds practical. But the job doesn’t have to be boring. People love it when an otherwise predictable role is spiced up with humor and relatable stories. That’s where you come in.
  • Podcasts. Create a podcast to show off unique content, or write humorous scripts for other podcasts to earn extra income. You might want to consider doing the latter before the former to learn what type of content works and doesn’t work and solidify your scripting skills before going live with your own podcast.
Podcast microphone and digital recording studio. Podcast concept.

  • Warmup TV live audiences. Before recording a show, live studio audiences need to be warmed up by an energetic presence. Comedians can bring people out of their shells and create the right atmosphere.
  • Radio show host or DJ. Enjoy a broad-reaching platform by hosting a radio show or becoming a radio DJ. Craft entertaining content and build a dedicated listener base among people commuting to and from work, shopping in stores, or simply relaxing at home.
  • Trade shows. Trade shows or exhibitions let companies in various industries display their latest products, network with each other, and assess market trends. As a comedian, you can engage attendees as a host and bring a comedic touch to industry discussions.
  • YouTube channel. Owning a YouTube channel gives you almost complete control over your content and marketing strategies. Work how you want, when you want. Experiment with ideas and video formats like sketches, animation, cultural commentary, and more. Become a YouTube Partner Program (YPP) member to show ads. Earn more revenue by selling merch and partnering with brands.

11 types of comedy writing jobs

Need more ideas for how to make money as a comedian? Earn an offstage living by creating humorous content for TV shows, movies, books, periodicals, merchandise, and more. Take a look at these ideas for making money as a comedy writer.

  • Joke books. Compile and share your humor as an ebook or in print form to generate income. If you have a following, physical retailers might pick up your book. But you can always sell online on marketplaces like Amazon.
  • Speech or joke writing. Write comedic speeches and jokes for public figures like politicians and CEOs. Help leaders engage audiences by injecting humor into their presentations.
  • Sitcoms. Work behind the scenes, helping to bring sitcoms to life by writing episodes for comedy shows. You can also write humor into existing scripts.
  • Comedy movie scripts and screenplays. Explore longer narrative formats by writing scripts and screenplays for comedy movies. Writing for the big screen can be a great source of income and lead to increased visibility.
Journal notebook. Scriptwriting and brainstorming ideas.

  • Magazine writing. Develop a reputation in your industry, hone your writing skills, and earn money by writing comedic content for magazines. Articles include satirical pieces, features, editorial columns, and guides.
  • Talk shows. Like sitcoms, movies, and magazines, you can write for talk shows, crafting introductory monologues, interview questions, topics, and discussions.
  • Humorous explainers or messages for businesses and schools. Make announcements, training materials, and explainer videos more memorable by adding a unique, clever touch.
  • Websites and blogging. Create a website or blog to display your comedy, highlight your experience, and build a following. Generate revenue by showing ads and engaging in affiliate marketing. Whenever someone clicks an affiliate link and makes a purchase on a third-party website, you earn a small percentage of the sale.
  • Humorous copywriting. Copywriting involves creating text for business products and services. Help marketers infuse projects with humor by crafting witty and memorable copy that enhances brands’ images. Work as a freelancer on sites like Upwork, Freelancer.com, or Fiverr.
  • Greeting cards. Make memorable holidays and events more special by writing funny greeting cards. Create and sell cards independently or look for work with a greeting card company.
  • Merchandise. Who doesn’t love a phrase or image that makes you laugh out loud? Monetize your comedy brand, connect with fans, and make money by selling merchandise like T-shirts, mugs, notebooks, calendars, tote bags, jewelry, pins, and more.

Want to grow your social media presence online? Find out how to get your first 10,000 followers here.

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