Riaad Moosa virtually trying to crack a joke
CAPE TOWN - The Cape Town comic is adapting his shows for a remote audience with shows premièring on streaming services, straight from his bedroom.
Riaad Moosa said it’s a case of keeping busy and putting out adapted content despite national and global issues, all the while making light of the situation.
“Comedy equals tragedy, plus time.
“We are going through a difficult time at the moment, but a lot of humour will come out of it and we must feel fortunate that we live in a time where we can continue virtually with work. We try to control something in a way that is unprecedented, and there’s a lot of debate about what exactly is going on. But we must keep moving forward, keep putting out content, as all the eyes are on the little screen out of necessity,” he said.
Moosa is gearing up for his show Not a Nice Guy - The Covid Edition, set to take place on Saturday, July 25 with the venue listed as “your comfy couch”. Proceeds from the show will go to the Penny Appeal South Africa charity organisation.
Following its debut in Cape Town last year, Moosa intended to tour the show across the country but his plans were upended by Covid-19.
“I’ll be doing a live stream from my house,” he said.
“Not from the Baxter Theatre, not from the CTICC, I’ll be streaming from my home, possibly my bedroom, which is weird as you can’t feed off the audience and feed off the laughter. Plus, my kids could walk in at any time.”
Looking to add extra elements into the online performance, Moosa said the show revolves around him finding himself less pleasant to be around.
“I’m feeling like I’m irritable these days, I’m feeling like I’m annoyed a lot,” he explained.
“I am generally known for being a nice person, but I don’t feel like it anymore. I will try and add elements into the show that people on stage wouldn’t necessarily have access to, maybe some multimedia or incorporating my family more than normal circumstances. It’s all very new, but we need to embrace it and see what manifests.”
Last Friday, Moosa’s show Life Begins premiered to a global audience. “The responses have been amazing. I’m very grateful and enjoying them, it seems to be trending and going well. It’s also been fun seeing the subtitles not being entirely correct. When I use South African colloquialisms or Cape Flats jargon, then the subtitles sometimes don’t work out.” Life Begins follows on the event of the comedian turning 40, with the content focusing on the trials and tribulations of the age and the story of his career. “I thought I’d be wise at this point in my life, but it feels like I’m still crawling. I thought I would understand things well, but I’m just as confused as ever.
“I also talk about going through a crisis about how I, Dr Riaad Moosa, became a comedian.
“I’m an educated individual, and now I’m a professional clown.
“I had so much potential.”
The show was filmed in 2018 at the Theatre on the Square in Sandton and has now been given a worldwide release during the national lockdown.
“We shot it a few years ago when we still performed in theatres and not in Zoom meetings like we’re doing now. I wanted to shoot it in a smaller venue as comedy specials were moving into those spaces and capture something more intimate. We did the best we can, I have high standards of quality. But if I do get a Netflix original special, we can ramp it up even more.”
Moosa made his streaming debut last year in the Netflix special Comedians of the World, in which he performed alongside fellow local comedians Loyiso Gola, Tumi Morake, and Loyiso Madinga.
With his online presence growing, Moosa has found that international audiences are receptive to South African humour.
“From my feedback on YouTube and other social media platforms, a lot of people overseas enjoy the content and it’s strange as even people in South America, Canada, the Philippines and Jamaica have been in contact,” Moosa said.
“It’s amazing a stand-up can travel that much. You may have to explain things a bit more for these people to follow, but that opens up for more humour and layers the jokes.”
Tickets for Not a Nice Guy cost R100 and are available at quicket.co.za.
Life Begins is available on Netflix.