Riaad Moosa brings his latest show, Life Begins, to the Baxter. The ever-popular comedian, who studied to be a doctor but ended up being a nationally-acclaimed comic, is turning 40 quite soon and is pondering what this all means. Apart from Moosa’s fame as a funnyman, he has also acted as Ahmed Kathrada in the Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated movie Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom and he played the lead in the internationally acclaimed movie Material (which he co-wrote and which earned him the 2013 SAFTA Best Actor award).
WeekendSpecial asked him a few questions about the show, and about his age …
Turning 40 – is it a scary thing? And if so, why? After all, you’re in good company – Pharrel Williams, David Beckham and Leonardo di Caprio, have also just reached or passed that milestone.
Turning 40 is not scary, but I think it’s significant. I don’t think it’s necessarily better or worse – it’s different. I guess it’s a natural time for reflection, especially when you see aspects of yourself becoming your Dad. Like I feel young but I’m fighting a tendency to pull my pants higher. And people start calling you ‘Uncle’.
It’s especially weird for me as a comedian because I seem to becoming more immature with age. I started out as a doctor, but now I’m a comedian. I don’t know – I think this show is my excuse to not pay for therapy. I need to talk about it.
Your comedian colleague Nik Rabinowitz is in a similar situation. Have you commiserated together?
No, we both have three kids … there’s no time. I sometimes see Nik from a distance at the airport.
There really is no time. I’m answering this Q&A from the loo – the only place where a Dad has privacy.
So, about the show – to what extent have recent events influenced the material (from Trump to Brexit to Fees Must Fall and beyond)? Is there really that much to laugh about, at the moment, if one thinks about it?
It’s all influenced me a great deal – the geopolitical state of things. I thought I’d have more wisdom by now, but the world is so interesting at the moment. It’s nice to be a 40-year-old and to feel like you’re still crawling … hence my poster (which features a very, very young Riaad – or more specifically, a baby with Riaad’s face photoshopped onto it).
You’re probably asked this a lot, but if you ever got tired of comedy, would you consider falling back on your medical degree and changing careers?
No, comedy for life! But at the same time I’m also very much involved with medicine from a health promotional perspective. However, as far as people coming to me for sick notes and me taking a sucker stick and telling them to say Ah! – um, No.
You had great success with your movie Material. Is this a medium you would like to explore further?
We’ve written three drafts of Material 2 so far. It may or may not happen…but we’re in the process.
Three quick associations – we give you three words, you instantly respond: (no cheating!)
- Doom – A Bollywood movie starring Sharukh Khan.
- Trevor Noah – Who? Never heard of him.
- Eleventy Seven – a dyslexic convenience store.
Can you tell us something about yourself that most people would not know/suspect?
I used to be a good basketball player.
Where and when: The Baxter Theatre from January 27 to 25 February