“I love comedy,” Riaad Moosa tells me before he sighs heavily, “but I have a major guilt complex about not doing medicine as my [main] profession. My mom is a GP and very passionate about medicine and the country moving forward. I would love to do comedy and medicine and I think I’m at a point where I need to make some conscious choices.”
Before comedy fans go into a frenzy, the stand-up comedian and Material movie star isn’t about to quit entertaining them just yet. As a way of giving back to the school that helped to shape him, and together with some organisational help from his father (an orthopaedic surgeon), Moosa will be one of the comedians headlining the Keep You In Stitches show on Saturday.
The fundraiser is a part of the UCT Medical School’s centenary celebrations and is presented by Comedy Central and the Rondebosch Medical Centre. Featuring a stellar line-up that includes Kurt Schoonraad, Stuart Taylor and Conrad Koch, the first show is sold out, but a 5pm show on the same day has been added.
“Keeping You In Stitches is a big thing for me,” says Moosa. “We’ve been trying to conceptualise it for a while. I obviously have a medical background and still felt the need to be involved in some way, so this show will be used to raise funds for medical education at Rondebosch Medical Centre. The UCT family medicine school has many community initiatives and transporting students to the community and back to learn from experienced doctors and see the hardships first hand costs money.”
Moosa is no stranger to practising medicine in small-town communities.
The man who’s been dubbed The Comedy Doctor was an intern at Natalspruit Hospital, which he calls “hard core”, and even had stints at Khayelitsha and Groote Schuur hospitals before comedian Kagiso Lediga phoned him to go up to Joburg to shoot the second season of The Pure Monate Show.
Comedy has always come a-calling at pivotal moments in Moosa’s life and he calls it “my bliss”. He’s also excited about “the reunion of me and lots of other guys who started in the Cape Comedy Collective together. You know, when we first started,” he tells me, “it was purely for the love. I had no idea I’d be chatting to you now, having done everything I have done.”
And he shows no signs of slowing down. Although he may consider going back into the medical profession, Moosa says we can expect to see him in the forthcoming film Long Walk To Freedom, starring with Idris Elba.
Moosa will play Ahmed Kathrada and aside from having to wear prosthetics that were designed by “the same people who did Meryl Streep in Iron Lady”, Moosa laughs that, “on the first day, I asked where I could change my clothes and everyone looked at me funny and pointed to a trailer with my name on it.”