Making $22.5 million last year, puppeteer Jeff Dunham is the number one top-earning comedian for 2009-2010, according to Forbes.
Even though his Comedy Central series tanked last year, Dunham makes a majority of his money from touring, DVD and puppet sales.
Puppet sales?? Do people really purchase replicas of his puppets??
What makes this list even worse is that Dane Cook comes in number two with an estimated $21 million for his Isolated Incident Global Thermo Comedy Tour.
America's Got Talent season two winner, puppeteer Terry Fator, otherwise known as the "human jukebox," is the third highest paid comedian, earning $20 million a year during his five-year residency at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.
Chelsea Handler and George Lopez round out the top five.
So where are funny men Jerry Seinfeld and Conan O'Brien??
According a source, top-earning comedians have to count stand-up as their primary income. Unlike the others on the list, Seinfeld and O'Brien make a majority of their money from TV.
Live Nation Comedy President Geof Wills says, "To stay on top in this economy, you've got to work a lot harder. The ones who get hurt are the comedians who don't realize that they have to adapt the environment they're currently in."
Sooo, with two puppeteers in the top 3, we're guessing that America really loves puppets??
[Image via WENN.]
Tags: comedians, highest paid, jeff dunham, puppeteer