I’m easy. Really, I am. Sparkling water and a hand towel is what’s on my hospitality rider. You’d laugh out loud or maybe choke in disbelief if you knew what some artists demand backstage.
And it’s not just the big international names like Maria Carey and her bizarre demand for 20 white kittens and a hundred doves when she goes on tour, or the buckets of spicy fried chicken – no thighs lots of wings – demanded by Nicki Minaj or the legendary Van Halen’s stipulation that all brown M&Ms be removed from candy dishes in the rocker’s dressing rooms. It’s no different in South Africa. Local artists are making unusual demands as well.
But is it really necessary? A hospitality rider is simply supposed to be a list of requests that the venue must provide for the comfort of the artist on the day of the show. It seems for some artists to be comfortable they need to be supplied with bottles of Jack Daniels backstage, have runners whom they’ve never met to run their most personal errands (seriously, what personal errands can’t wait till after the show?), international make-up artists, chauffeurs and you guessed it, body guards.
The one that sticks in my mind always is the South African singer who will not go on stage unless there are two fans in front of her so that she can have that ‘hair-blowed-back look’ while singing.
Many local artists demand to be flown business class, not to be looked at directly, to have personal dressing rooms with décor stipulated to set a mood and some insist on imported water which they never drink. I know that there are SA artists who insist on full body massages after every show and others who have instructed that smoke detectors be covered with shower caps. One of my promoters has had to – not for me – go on 3am cigarette runs, arrange for babysitters in an adjoining green room, supply homemade – not bought! – paratha Indian flat breads and change the dressing room’s background music to Whitney Houston to ‘get a groove going’.
I’m fortunate in that I don’t need or desire any special treatment or gimmicks to get hyped up for a show. A great audience is both my stimulus and reward. I enjoy performing as much today as I did the very first time 30 years ago when I had a microphone and a glass of water on stage. No one needs to walk a few steps behind me and to the side. I don’t wear dark glasses to hide from fans, or try and be inconspicuous by coupling the dark glasses with a hoodie to stroll through a shopping centre. I go in my crocs – to the utter horror of many people – and whatever I’m happy and comfortable in.
I must admit though, that I do prefer to fly business class on international flights. That is however purely because I sleep better then, and as I often have to work the day I land, it’s better to be in tip top shape from a good night’s rest. So, it just makes sense to fly business – with plenty of sparkling water of course.
Sea Princess Cruise Entertainer Hong Kong /Busan
March 22 – 28
Sun Princess Cruise Entertainer Brisbane / Darwin
March 29 – April 7
Dawn Princess Cruise Entertainer Darwin / Fremantle
April 9 – 16
Johannesburg – The Barnyard, Parkview
April 20. Tickets: www.computicket.co.za
Johannesburg – The Barnyard, Cresta
April 21. Tickets: www.computicket.co.za
Johannesburg – The Barnyard, Boksburg
April 22. Tickets will be on sale soon from The Barnyard Theatre and www.computicket.co.za
Cape Town – The Baxter Theatre
April 26 – 27. Tickets will be on sale soon at www.computicket.co.za
Johannesburg – Kings and Queens of Comedy April 28. Tickets: www.computicket.co.za
Barry Hilton has been shortlisted, alongside John Cleese and Whose Line is it Anyway, for Best Comedy Act for Dubai’s Timeout Nightlife Awards 2013. He is the first South African based comedian to be invited to perform at the prestigious Madinat Jumeirah Theatre in Dubai. His stellar performances in February were met with rave reviews and rapturous applause, resulting in his being shortlisted for the award.
Barry has been invited back to Hong Kong to kick off the Hong Kong International Comedy Festival in September this year. “Barry seamlessly transcends cultural boundaries and appeals to an international audience,” says the founder of Comedy Masala Singapore, Umar Rana.
Funny is Funny
With more comedians on the South African comedy scene than ever before, Barry Hilton still tops the list with theatres, corporates and advertising agencies.
He has stayed on the scene by ‘keeping it clean’ and continually coming up with new material which he sources mostly by just being observant, keeping up to date with the news, living his life to the full and seeing the funny side of everything.
Steering clear of political satire, swearing, explicit content and blasphemy the comedy stalwart’s fan base continues to grow and his unique international appeal has ensured a fan base that spans the globe. Whether you’re a teenager or a pensioner, a single dad or an internet dating forty year old divorcee, you’ll laugh till your belly aches listening to Barry’s side-splitting interpretations of everyday events.
Millward Brown’s Best Liked Ads list celebrates South Africa’s favourite TV commercials and their advertising agencies. These are the ads that have been rated as the ‘most liked’ by the South African consumer audience. The Romans Pizza School Kids with Barry Hilton Advert ranks number nine, with the top two spots going to Spur and Wimpy respectively.
An instantly recognisable face on South African television, Barry Hilton has also starred in a number of other award winning (and very funny) television advertising campaigns, including: Nashua Printers, VW Fox, Sunday Times, Spray and Cook and of course Savanna Ciders. Visit http://www.youtube.com/user/TheCousinBarry to watch a selection of adverts Barry has starred in.