Barry Hilton, Glasgow Classic Grand

How do you get a couple of hundred South Africans into a former porn cinema in Scotland? Easy, you book one of the Rainbow Nation’s funniest men and promise he’ll keep his clothes on.

Even though Barry ‘The Cousin’ Hilton has lost a lot of weight in recent years, we’d much rather he made us laugh than hark back to the Classic Grand’s seedy past.

And the laughter was raucous as Hilton tapped expertly into the ex-pat South African humour while giving us all a taste of home. His impressive career started well before the fall of apartheid and has continued to flourish in the new South Africa – giving him plenty of inspiration for edgy, finger-on-the-pulse material that means he’s adored by one and all.

But it’s for his physical comedy that Hilton is arguably most admired. That manic smile he uses to sign off so many jokes never fails to crack up his audience, whether he’s telling a new story or riffing briefly on one of his most famous tales, the “ons gaan nou braai” masterpiece.

Hilton performs a blistering set that lasts for just over an hour, but packs in a week’s worth of laughs.

All told, a brilliant night for Glasgow’s far-flung Saffas. But take note Classic Grand, South Africans drink brandy – fucking lots and lots of brandy. A limited flow of our favourite spirit had us saying “ons gaan nou riot,” until one eagle-eyed drinker spotted a half-full bottle hidden on a shelf.


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