Hometown: Cleveland (now, Brooklyn, N.Y.)
How I pay the rent: I used to work in a bookstore and write books, but now I just evade my landlord until I land a super-high-paying gig called an “industrial,” where I star in a video teaching kids how to not get injured in woodshop.
I’ve been doing stand-up for: Over eight years
My best payday as a comic was: $75 for a one-nighter in Vermont.
Best one-liner: Goethe called architecture “frozen music,” and I bet if he saw a Frank Gehry building, he’d be like, “This one is Ke$ha’s fault.”
Age: “Between 21 and 35 years old”
Hometown: Dorchester (by way of
How I pay the rent: I am a campus
I’ve been doing stand-up for: Just under nine years
My best payday as a comic was: I made about $550 for a 20-minute set at a private gig in Charleroi, Pa.
Best one-liner: My job is pretty tough; I have to put on a police uniform every day. That’s right, I’m a stripper.
How I pay the rent: I’m a book editor and book author. My first book, “The New Rules for Blondes,” came out in May.
I’ve been doing stand-up for: Technically nine years, but I’ve only been really focused on it for about six years.
My best payday as a comic was: A few hundred dollars when I co-headlined Mottley’s — rest in peace — with Leah Dubie. We did a Weston vs. Wayland-themed show.
Best one-liner: I like my coffee like I like my men: bitter and incapable of experiencing human emotion.
Hometown: Hudson, N.H.
How I pay the rent: Usually with a check.
I’ve been doing stand-up for: 4½ years
My best payday as a comic was: One time during my act a man fell out of his chair, and that was worth way more to me than anything I’ve been paid because I did not like that guy.
Best one-liner: I used to think I really liked trail mix. Turns out, I just like M&Ms that play hard to get.
How I pay the rent: I walk on stilts.
I’ve been doing stand-up for: Three years
My best payday as a comic was: I performed stand-up naked at a nudist resort for 50 bucks, a free pen, and a memory that will last forever.
Best one-liner: When my dad was in jail, he used to try and set me up with some of his inmates.
How I pay the rent: Bartending, waiting tables, gigs.
I’ve been doing stand-up for: Nine years
My best payday as a comic was: $150
Best one-liner: I used to think gay people came from closets.
Hometown: Union, N.J.
How I pay the rent: I’m a manager at Scotty’s Comedy Cove in Springfield, N.J., and a teaching assistant, but my mom pays the rent.
I’ve been doing stand-up for: 3½ years
My best payday as a comic was: $100
Best one-liner: I think the worst time to start the wave is during a fund-raiser for tsunami awareness.
How I pay the rent: Some stand-up, some comedy writing, lots of being a television producer.
I’ve been doing stand-up for: About 10 years
My best payday as a comic was: I used to produce shows up and down the Northeast, and the most I made on one show was $7,000. I thought I was rich and could retire.
Best one-liner: Saying you only smoke when you drink is like saying you only use heroin when you’re in the neighborhood.
Hometown: Sugar Hill, Ga.
How I pay the rent: Writing case studies at the Harvard Business School.
I’ve been doing stand-up for: Two to three years
My best payday as a comic was: Five Hamiltons, but I think laughter, even the quiet kind, is often its own reward.
Best one-liner: Some people like to run the bathroom faucet to mask the sound of urination, but why waste water when you can just scream?
How I pay the rent: Comedy-drink tickets
I’ve been doing stand-up for: 10 years
Best payday as a comic was: Any gig that includes free food.
Best one-liner: I’m shy. I get Hooters takeout.
Chris “Jonesy” Jones
How I pay the rent: Commercial actor and comedian
I’ve been doing stand-up for: 10 years
My best payday as a comic was: $1,500
Best one-liner: Hold the limo, I gotta gloss my tats.
Andre H. Arruda
Ontario (now, Toronto)
How I pay the rent: With my soul! My landlord isn’t evil or anything. She just really likes classic rhythm and blues fused with gospel. And I do a pretty good Ray Charles.
I’ve been doing stand-up for:
0 [years]. I’ve been doing sitdown for about 12.
My best payday as a comic was: As a Canadian, I’m too polite to tell you. Let’s just say I’m very grateful for my country’s free health care.
Best one-liner: I don’t want you to feel sorry for me but if you do, I like [whatever brand-name beer that’s sponsoring the Boston Comedy Festival].
Hometown: New Orleans
How I pay the rent: I pay the rent with yuk ’em ups. Mostly college gigs and club dates.
I’ve been doing stand-up for: Seven years and change
My best payday as a comic was: I got three grand once to roast a hedge-fund company for 10 minutes.
Best one-liner: You never see a church with free Wi-Fi, probably because no church wants to compete with an invisible power that actually works.