"Now that I make a living as a comedian, I like to show other comics what I’m earning. It feels useful ... I want them to have an idea of what it all looks like—it’s really important not to be ignorant about this stuff. It’s empowerment."
Comedian Maria Bamford has an interesting Wealthsimple interview where she talks about making money as a comedian.
Some commenters on Jezebel broke down her numbers and it looks like she earn ~$312K / yr (after taxes and assuming she performs every week). If she is only performing 3/4ths of a year, she earns ~$234K / yr. And that's just from stand-up shows. This doesn't include all her other income streams (voiceover work, TV shows, etc). Not bad for a comedian.
Contrast Maria Bamford to the entertainers struggling to make a living detailed in Gaby Dunn's very well-written article "Get rich or die vlogging: The sad economics of internet fame." Having thousands of social media followers or subscribers doesn't necessarily translate to big bucks. Unless you have a trust fund or some other source of income, "being popular" doesn't really pay the bills. And if you can't pay the bills, forget about saving or investing.
As I mentioned, I worked in startups before business school and see a lot of similarities between the two industries. There are a few people who really hit it big and cash out. (And Maria Bamford isn't necessarily "cashing out"; she's just doing quite well for an entertainer). The majority don't. I thankfully realized this early on and realized the "slow and steady" approach was much more suited to my temperament.
The only advice I can offer to people who want to make it as entertainers is to keep your day job. Having a stable day job is great! You get a steady salary, health insurance, 401k benefits, and more! Save and invest your money. Think carefully about how you want to live your life so that you can achieve financial independence early and THEN possibly pursue becoming an entertainer full-time.
What is this?
An anthropological look at how people think about money. Created and edited by Star Li.