Biggest comedy empire: Dave Chappelle or Kevin Hart?

Biggest comedy empire: Dave Chappelle or Kevin Hart?

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Dave Chappelle is widely recognized as a king of comedy. "The Chappelle Show" became a social phenomenon and cemented Chappelle's place in comedy history as one of the all-time greats. Kevin Hart is no slouch either—between his tours, movies and everything else under the sun, he's built a comedy empire that places him at the top of the food chain. Hart pulled in $87.5 million between July 2015 and June 2016—beating Jerry Seinfeld. But who has the biggest comedy empire?

The Votes Are In!

After a year like 2016, we could all use a laugh. That's why we've taken 16 of the most beloved comedians of all-time and are pitting them against each other all month long! Who's the funniest? You decide and we'll announce the king (or queen) of comedy at the end of the month!

Help us crown the best comedian by voting in these other exciting head-to-head debates too:

Best comedian with a sitcom: Jerry Seinfeld or Margaret Cho?

Funniest self-deprecating stand-up: Louis C.K. or Hannibal Buress?

Best political commentary: George Carlin or Jon Stewart?

Best comedy act: Stephen Colbert or Steven Martin?

Funniest late night show host: Jimmy Kimmel or David Letterman?

Most groundbreaking comedian: Joan Rivers or Samantha Bee?

Funniest comedian-turned-director: Mel Brooks or Woody Allen?


Kevin Hart has built a comedy empire. His work ethic knows no bounds and it's reflected in his countless movie appearances, tours and constant hustle. 

Hart has his eye on the fitness market, more comedy tours, more movies, more ownership. His grind, as he likes to say, is relentless. "I honestly have never seen a guy with this much energy and drive," says Hart's manager of 16 years, Dave Becky, whose client roster also includes Louis CK, Amy Poehler, and Aziz Ansari. "When Kevin got too big for clubs, he said let's do theaters, let's do arenas, let's do stadiums, let's do outer space." When I ask Hart at breakfast if he could be the first billion-dollar standup, he doesn't think twice.

"I believe so," he says. "Why not?"
"Kevin kills it in whatever he does, whether he's hosting SNL or being awesome at the Justin Bieber roast or talking so honestly about his shortcomings and flaws, but with hilarious bravado, like he does in his standup and movies," Apatow says. "He's built something no one else has in terms of his business, especially his social media, and that's because even when Kevin's being very funny, he's very serious about this ride he's on."

Take a look at Chappelle's brilliant stand-up act.

Dave Chappelle defined comedy for an entire generation of Americans. His irreverent humor fundamentally pushed the boundaries of comedy and confronted people with uncomfortable realities.  

Besides race, three things make Dave Chappelle’s comedy innovative and universal: wit, self-deprecation, and toilet humor. This is the same triumvirate that makes Philip Roth’s writing so original. Woody Allen’s movies, too. Chappelle had a keen sense of the archetypal nature of race, and understood just as acutely how people work on a very basic level. In a Chappelle’s Show sketch about the reality show Trading Spouses, a black man sits on a toilet in a white family’s house and flips through a copy of People magazine while taking a dump. He looks up: “Who the fuck is Renée Zellwedger?” In another sketch, a stodgy, Waspy white man (Chappelle in whiteface) lies in bed with an attractive black woman in classy lingerie. He wants her. But he wants to make love with his pajamas on.
Chappelle did such a good job of truth-telling, on every subject, that nobody knew what to do when he just stopped talking. In no way did his quitting conform to our understanding of the comic’s one obligation: to be funny. To talk to us. To entertain us. To make us laugh. We aren’t used to taking no for an answer, to being rejected, especially not by the people who are supposed to make us smile. Especially not by black men who are supposed to make us smile. And yet Chappelle did just that.

As in, 


Take a look at Hart's brilliant stand-up act.

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