Mixing magic and comedy with Riaad Moosa

Ever since the mask mandate was lifted, people have been longing to get back to live events – and popular South African comedian Riaad Moosa has some special live standup shows for us to enjoy for the rest of the year.

Image supplier: South African comedian Riaad Moosa

Image supplier: South African comedian Riaad Moosa

Moosa has been in the industry for more than 20 years. Beginning in 1999, Moosa’s career first took an interesting magical turn before finding his signature satire we know and love today.

We spoke to him to find out more about his launch, but also to find out how the comedian has fared during Covid-19 and the disastrous impact it’s had on cast.

The performance bug was always there

Although his first path was medical school, Moosa has always had a penchant for performance. As a teenager, he studied at the College of Magic in Cape Town, and he says his magic always had a comedic edge.

He was first introduced to stand-up comedy at the University of Cape Town when he decided to take a gap year from medical school.

“I was fascinated by this art form,” says Moosa.

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He then spent time with the Cape Comedy Collective, a comedy group founded by Mark Sampson and Sam Piercer. He has also performed with other comedians such as Marc Lottering and David Kau.

“In the beginning I was a magician, a comedy magician. But very soon I dropped my bag of tricks and just started doing standup comedy,” he says.

After returning to complete his medical degree, Moosa continued to do standup. After completing his entire degree, internship and all, he decided to participate The Puremunati Showand this was the tipping point that saw him become one of the most popular comedians in South Africa.

Then there was Covid

“Most of us didn’t make it, I certainly didn’t,” says Moosa, reflecting on the lockdown. “Psychologically, I didn’t realize how much I needed comedy, how much it affected my mood — just the opportunity to perform. I clearly missed it.”

However, there was some light at the end of the tunnel with his Virtual Comedy Club. And this led to a new way of looking at comedy. “This is another medium we can enjoy beyond the live performance option that will ultimately reach more audiences – international audiences and guests included.”

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Above all, however, the virtual club was created out of necessity. “I had to switch, I had to experiment, I had to try to see if new possibilities could arise,” says Moosa.

And while it was a new medium that brought its own set of challenges, Moosa says there’s still potential in the virtual comedy sphere. “In the future, virtual comedy will become something more people can do as technology improves.”

Comedy is a kind of celebration

When we think of entertainment, comedy is not on the serious side when it comes to looking at the issues we face in our personal lives and globally.

However, comedy has a special place in the world of entertainment and how we deal with our problems.

“Comedy is important because it allows us to look at a stressful event and interpret it with the attitude that we survived it,” says Moosa. “They say tragedy plus time equals comedy, and that’s true because people can laugh at the most terrifying things to relieve stress and deal with the trauma.”


However, the key to being able to glean this from the comedy is to feel like you survived the event. “It’s about survival, people can laugh at things when they feel they’ve gotten over something, or they can be optimistic that they’ll get over something.”

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In a way, then, the comedy can be viewed as a celebration of the strength people have to endure events that at first seemed impossible.

All about his upcoming shows

Moosa says we can expect his usual satire and family-inspired performance from his upcoming shows. “It’s usually a snapshot of my life at a certain time and how I’ve changed as I’ve gotten older. It’s something that people have found very relatable so far and I can’t wait for people to see it. ”

Virtual and live performances are available.

These are the dates for Moosa’s remaining shows:

October 7th at the Rio Casino, Klerksdorp
October 8th at Umfolozi Casino, Empangeni
28th October at Silverstar Casino, Krugersdorp
29 October at Gandhi Hall, Lenasia
11th November at Blackrock Casino, Newcastle
November 12th at the Golden Horse Casino, Pietermaritzburg
December 9th and 10th at the Theater of Marcellus, Johannesburg

Tickets can be bought here.

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