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Speaker From

South Africa


Port Elizabeth

State | County | Province

Eastern Cape

Speaker Bio

If Barry Hilton isn’t the quintessential South African comedy giant, no one is.

Forged in the fire of the global comedy circuit from London to Hong Kong, this versatile and dynamic comedy icon works the room with magnetic charm and infectious ease.

Barry has thirty years of touring, six children, two ex-wives, a new wife, five DVDS, two movies, Vegas, Cleese, Connolly, millions of air miles and a Lifetime Achiever statue on his mantelpiece ….

The deft timing and tap-dancing mind leave any crowd thrilled that they came, regardless of their own background.

After what can only be described as one of the most successful careers in South African stand-up history, Barry Hilton shows no sign of slowing down.

In 2013, he became the first South African to perform at the prestigious Harrah’s Improv in Las Vegas.

2014 saw the “cousin”, as he is known to a whole nation, do a tour of the UK, open the Hong Kong 2014 Comedy Festival, and slot in some thumping gigs in Singapore and Macau.

He more than impressed the famously critical crowd in London’s Clapham Grand and his hilarious performances in Dubai saw him shortlisted alongside John Cleese for the Best Comedy Act in Dubai’s Timeout Nightlife Awards 2013.

Not bad for a former electrician who just couldn’t help himself from seeing the funny side.

Given the huge scale of his achievements and punishing schedule, Hilton doesn’t seem to age, instead his life experience just provides more fuel for his unique world-view.

Barry Hilton


Upstairs at Barry’s

(Motivational / Inspirational keynote)

He is one of the funniest guys around, but truth be told he wasn’t simply born this way. Being born into a working class tradesman family,

Barry Hilton – my cousin – had to face the daily challenge of breaking out of the “box” to become the international success that he is today.

Refusing to follow in his father’s footsteps of becoming an electrician, working at a job that held no passion for him, and retiring at the age of 65 if he was lucky, Barry chose to fight the system and follow his heart.

He refused to allow society’s predetermined “box” to be his lot in life!

We always assume that comedians are naturally funny, that celebrities are just perfectly made that way, we assume that someone else simply got lucky –

What we don’t know is that it has taken years of hard work, dedication and often too many failures to mention to get them to where they are today.

After a wildly successful 33 years as a comedian, Barry Hilton, has amassed all that he has learnt into a humorous, yet insightful talk, about what it means to be successful, and how you too can be uniquely successful at whatever it is you put your mind to.

Through his inimitable humour Barry shares with his audience how important small daily successes are in working on the bigger picture.

Barry’s story is one of celebrating your daily successes, about being true to who you are, with his most important message being that no matter how many times you fail, what matters most is that you get back up and try again. Failure is never a loss; it is a lesson learnt.

One of Barry’s biggest supporters, his mom, was born with Polio, a disease that left her labeled a cripple.

One day she asked Barry a simple question –

Barry what is success to you?

Before Barry was able to answer, she said that for her success was not having to get up during the night to go to the bathroom.

Puzzled Barry asked why, it was because in order to simply go to the loo at night, it meant she had to sit up in bed, get her calipers, strap them onto her legs, shuffle in dark to the bathroom, go to the loo, shuffle back to bed, take her calipers off – all the while not waking up Barry’s dad.

This simple exercise of going to the bathroom would be a 30-minute episode, by which stage she was wide awake and not able to easily fall asleep again.

This is why for her not needing to get up at night was a huge success!

  • So what is success to you?
  • Is it owning a yacht, spending your days sailing the Mediterranean?
  • Is it retiring at the age of 40 never having to work again? Performing to a sold out audience at the Sydney Opera House?
  • Or is it simply not needing to get up during the night to go to the loo?

Success and what it means is completely unique to each and every one of us – and just because one definition of success might be different to another definition of success, does not mean that either is wrong!

Thomas Edison made 10 000 bulbs before inventing the actual light bulb – when asked how he felt about the other 9999 failures, he simply remarked that they were not 9999 failures, he simply learnt 9999 ways not to make a light bulb!

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