Riaad Moosa is our July 2015 Icon.
Riaad, a qualified medical doctor started doing stand-up comedy while still studying at the University of Cape Town Medical School. Riaad started performing stand-up at the Cape Comedy Collective’s free Comedy Lab workshops, and just two months later he was the winner of the hotly contested One City, Many Comics Talent Competition held as part of the One City Festival in September 1999.
Being one of the first members of the Cape Comedy Collective, he became a regular headliner on the comedy circuit during his rookie year, where he was also invited to perform on Pieter Dirk Uys’s “Evita Live and Dangerous” eTV comedy show. Alongside comedians David Levinson and Paul Snodgrass in his debut stand-up comedy theatre production “The Paracomics” at Artscape in Cape Town.
Now, a regular headliner on comedy circuits all over South Africa, Riaad is also a sought-after act for bigger productions. He has starred in Alex Jay’s 5FM Comedy Jams and Real Concert’s Winston King Size Comedy shows, as well as headlining the Sprite Soul Comedy Jams in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.
He supported Marc Curry of “Hanging with Mr. Cooper” fame, rocking the crowd at the Durban Playhouse in 2001. In 2002, he supported Russel Peters in his show “Made in India” at the Luxurama Theatre where he received excellent reviews from his parents and critics alike.
In 2002, Riaad was part of the largest stand-up show in the history of South African television “Laugh out Loud”, where he joined nine of SA’s top comics to raise half a million Rand for the Reach for a Dream foundation.
In 2003, Riaad performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, headlining in the “Cape Comedy Collective -The new South Africa stands up” production. During his month at the festival he performed with the top comedians, displaying his special brand of South African humour on a world stage.
In 2004, he was a writer and performer for SABC 1’s “Pure Monate Show”, which achieved cult status amongst South Africa’s urban youth. Riaad also featured in the “Crazy Monkey – Straight Outta Benoni” movie – one of the biggest grossing SA movies for 2005. In September 2006 Riaad Moosa performed his first one-man show “Strictly Halaal” at the Nelson Mandela Civic Theatre. The run was sold out a week before it started and 5 extra shows over one weekend were added to meet the huge public demand. In November 2006, he continued the tour in Durban at the International Convention Centre; and, in March 2007 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre packing both houses to capacity and adding on extra shows.
In 2008 Riaad appeared alongside Marc Lottering and Nik Rabinowitz in the hit variety comedy show “3 Wise Men.” The show was directed by David Kramer and was one of the fastest selling shows in 2008. Riaad’s standout standup comedy skills were also recently included in the DVD for the successful “Blacks Only” comedy shows, and he also featured in the Anant Singh/John Vlismas produced comedy-collective feature film “Outrageous”, which was released at cinemas nationwide in 2009 and is scheduled for DVD release in April 2010.
Along with SA’s top comedians – including Trevor Noah, David Kau, John Vlismas, Tumi Morake and Marc Lottering – Riaad was one of the headline acts supporting international superstar Eddie Izzard for the 46664 “It’s No Joke” concert in February 2010. This event raised funds for the ongoing work done by charities that fall under the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Riaad has since become a presenter of “The Second Opinion – with Dr Riaad Moosa” on the E news channel’s satirical news programme “Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola.” In March 2011, Riaad was awarded the “Comics Choice Award” at the “1st Annual South African Comic’s Choice Awards.” Riaad Moosa once again received nominations for the Comics choice Award in both 2012 and 2013.
On 17th Feb 2012, Material, the movie that “made Barry Ronge cry” opened in SA cinemas nationwide to overwhelming critical acclaim. Having had a strong input on the script and writing process, Riaad also flexed his comedic and dramatic muscles in this movie, which continues to delight audiences all over SA. In 2013, Material won five SAFTA’s (South African Film and Television Wards), including one for Best Actor awarded to Riaad for his role as the conflicted Cassim Kaif.
In mid 2013, he started presenting a popular health and fitness television show called “Doctors Orders” and is also currently on tour with his live standup comedy show of the same name. Riaad plays the role of Ahmed Kathrada in the epic Oscar Nominated and Golden Globe awarded biopic “Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom” which was released in November 2013.
Moosa is one of the country’s most popular and acclaimed funnymen with a style of his own making. Known as “the Comedy Doctor”, and he certainly seems to have the remedy for the nation’s ills at the moment: a healthy dose of laughter, Moosa is surely an inspiration to aspiring comics.
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