Last week, Billboard revealed its year-end Boxscore charts, ranking the top tours, venues, and promoters of 2023. That coverage included analysis of the new wave of genre diverse artists crashing stadium stages, and in turn, our charts. Here, we are breaking down the year’s biggest tours, genre by genre. Today, we continue with comedy.
Comedy is an outlier as a Boxscore genre, as it obviously exists outside of the traditional music industry. That’s not to say that the two don’t intersect – Adam Sandler has been a highly influential in musical comedy since the 1990s – but generally, comedians are playing a different game than Taylor Swift or Beyoncé. Most recently, Bo Burnham’s genre- and form-blending Inside hit No. 7 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and has logged 125 weeks (to date) at No. 1 on Comedy Albums.
With smaller traveling production, touring comedians have simpler stage setups. That can allow them to float from theaters to arenas and from amphitheaters to clubs from night to night. They can also perform multiple shows per night without the physical and vocal tolls of headlining pop stars. Two of 2023’s top 10 comedians played more than 100 shows during the tracking period, which no other act in the entire all-genre top 100 did.
Comedy’s share of the top 100 tours’ overall gross dipped to 1.8% this year. In part, astronomically rising ticket prices for stadium acts are creating a bigger gap between the biggest touring musicians and comedians who have stayed closer to more conservative pre-pandemic prices. Routing is also key – John Mulaney, Sebastian Maniscalco and Hasan Minhaj had much lighter schedules than in 2022.
Scroll to check out the top 10 highest grossing tours by comedy performers, according to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore. All reported shows worldwide between Nov. 1, 2022 – Sept. 30, 2023, are eligible.
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