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It's time for a laugh – Barry Hilton is back on stage with Last Laugh. Joining him are David Kibuuka, Michael Arthur and Robby Collins.
HE’S dry, but you can take it. Comedian Barry Hilton, known for his appearances in the Savannah Dry ads and his acerbic wit, will be warming up the stage this winter when he joins three other South African comedians for a Last Laugh.

 

Funnyman Barry Hilton is set to perform at the Lyric TheatreFunnyman Barry Hilton is set to perform at the Lyric TheatreIn true Hilton fashion, he describes the focus of his show as “[making] money”. Once you get past the wise-cracking facade, though, he reveals what it will really be about: “My show is about how I see life, right now and over the last 28 years.”
 

His unique brand of comedy has made him one of South Africa’s best-loved comics. Whether it is his popularity or his business, Hilton has an answer for everything and it will make you chuckle, even if stand-up comedy in general makes your hair stand on end.

For instance, when asked what he thinks differentiates him from other South African comedians, he gives only a three-letter answer: DNA.

However, this does not mean that he cannot appreciate the humour of other comedians. He counts Mel Miller, Joe Parker and Martin Jonas as his favourite South African counterparts, and Richard Pryor as his favourite international act.

“Mel and Joe started conversational humour in SA and Martin Jonas makes me laugh out loud. Richard Pryor just rules,” he says.

Hilton is also known as The Cousin, a nickname that has been around for as long as he has. “When I was a youngster, and still today, I couldn’t remember anyone’s names and so I just introduced them as cousin, and it stuck,” he explains.

Laughter Factory
In between a busy schedule of one-man shows, appearing as the apathetic bartender in the Savannah ads and acting in movies, the most recent of which is Finding Lenny, he manages to squeeze in running his own business, The Laughter Factory.

“Nine years ago, I was getting divorced and I was feeling very sorry for myself,” he says. “My two youngsters, Robin and Tyler, went out of their way every day to try to make me laugh. When I asked them why, they said I show them how to be funny every day and they were repaying the favour.

“And I thought if they can learn, why can’t everybody?”

The genesis of the company was the premise that laughter enhances productivity. “I established [the company] when I was writing jokes because I’ve always shared my comedy writing skills and knowledge with everyone. Because if everybody everyday gave somebody something, everybody’s life would be just that little bit better,” is his motto.

The Laughter Factory comprises an inspirational talk by Hilton, whereafter employees are divided into teams and have to come up with their own stand-up routines. Companies who have made use of the concept include Microsoft SA, Flight Centre, Vodacom and Sun International, to name only a few.

But to prove he is capable of being serious, when asked what will make his show at the Lyric different from any of his other performances, his answer is a simple: “I’m doing it naked.”

Also having a laugh will be David Kibuuka, who has performed at various festivals around South Africa and has opened for Hilton and John Vlismas on their national tours; Michael Arthur, who rose to fame as “The Fly”; and Robby Collins, actor and comedian who has opened for Mark Lottering and Vlismas.

Last Laugh is on at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City on 1 and 2 July.

Tickets for the show are R95 or R125 per person and can be booked through Computicket or at the Lyric Theatre Box Office on 011 248 5000. For more information, visit Gold Reef City’s website.

The show starts at 8.30pm.

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