Anorak | Lorra Laughs: Comedians are making even more than footballers

Lorra Laughs: Comedians are making even more than footballers

by | 28th, May 2013


ARE comics making more cash than footballers? Yes. So we’re told:

Laughing all the way to the bank: The comics who are earning a fortune and even overtaking Premier League footballers.

Peter Kay tops the list, pocketing £32.8million in the past two years.

Michael McIntyre next highest earner on the list with earnings topping £21m.

Third is John Bishop reporting profits of £6.3m in two years.

And of course we’ve got tens of thousands doing standup for a pint and the hat being passed around: and the old Northern club circuit has almost entirely dried up and no one can make a living in it any more. The things is, this increasing inequality of wages, is entirely normal in an industry where technology has allowed one to entertain many.

Think back before TV (no, even I’m not that old, but just try thinking it). A fotball player, all football players, could one take a share of the money that fans actually paid at the gates. Thus the Manchester United squad paybill was limited by 40,000 or whatever handing over their sixpence each week. The same was true when comics were working with a live audience: the maximum amount of income possible was what was paid for tickets (after you’ve paid the rent, the ushers, the ticket clerks etc).

Now what happens? The footballers are watched by many million each match: the maximum possible pay is therefore drawn from a very much larger pool. Those who buy tickets, yes, but also all that advertising money spent on hte gaps inbetween the footy match. The comics still take their shows on the road, true. But then it’s filmed, shown on hte TV for another fee and millions buy the DVD. The maximum possible income has risen: there’s a much larger pool of possible money that that income can be paid from.

Thus it’s entirely unsurprising that the incomes of these people has risen.

Perhaps a trivial point: but it helps in explaining the general rise in inequality as well. 50 years ago no matter how grand a businessman or banker you were you were swtill pretty much limited to making your fortune in one country and one country only. Communications just weren’t good enough for you to be able to build a global business. This has now all changed: Lakshmi Mitall, for example, runs a global steel business, not one just limited to one country. It’s the same process going on: technology has meant that the very tippy toppy 1%, 0.1% perhaps, are now making a few pennies of billions of people instead of the previous purely national few pernnies of tens of millions.

So, of course, inequality has increased.

The next question therefore becomes, well, is it worth it? And there one can have all sorts of views. Mine is that globally, as developing countries finally do some developing, we’re seeing the biggest reduction in absolute poverty in hte history of our species. And as far as I’m concnerned that’s just great: I don’t really care about rising inequality alongside that. But I agree that others might think differently.

Posted: 28th, May 2013 | In: Celebrities, Money, Sports Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink