Riaad Moosa on teaming up with Netflix and telling the perfect joke

Riaad Moosa (Photo: Netflix)
Riaad Moosa (Photo: Netflix)

Cape Town - South African comedian Riaad Moosa joins the astronomical line-up of Comedians of the World, coming to Netflix on 1 January 2019.

The show, a global first of its kind, will bring together 47 comedians from 13 regions in 8 languages in an unprecedented stand-up comedy event series. (Read more here)

All episodes drop in one go - so mark your calendars!

Channel24 sat down with "The Comedy Doctor" in Johannesburg, ahead of the release date, to talk about his experience filming in Montreal (Canada) and the delicate art of telling the perfect joke. 

About performing in front of a packed audience in the City of a Hundred Steeples he says: "It was daunting. You sort of regress any sort of anxious thoughts to a different part of your brain and you just do what is necessary. But you need a little of anxiety, or a little bit of adrenaline."

He compares the rush to "running a race."

Being selected as one of only four comedians to represent South Africa on a series of this magnitude, he calls an "honour an a privilege."

"My focus has always just been on the product - to perform and make the audience laugh. And once I did that I could give it over to the production team. And they did an amazing job," he adds.

"Netflix is very artist driven, and they want your vision to be put out there, not their own."

Each comedian involved in the comedy special was part of the post production on their episode, so expect to see Riaad's signature stand-up comedy style come to life on the international stage.    


But of course, performing to an international audience lent itself to its own set of obstacles. "My first challenge was getting past the accent, that's why I spoke about my accent and then they were with me. I started talking about my myself, and my family history," the 41-year-old said.

Riaad, who's comedic material is often inspired by his family, adds: "I tried to make it very personal, and it was difficult to make it so concise." 

"I'm very grateful it came across well for the audience. Because you can make people in your hometown laugh because you understand the nuances and you know what they know," he says when talking about the language and cultural differences. 

The father of two calls his "love for the art form" his strongest asset as a comedian. "I love jokes. I like how a joke is structured, and playing with the art form and trying to make it better."

When asked about the secret to telling an everyday joke to get better laughs, he says: "People like authenticity. My grandfather was captivating. My parents aren't funny at all! My grandfather was a joke teller. He knew how to command a crowd. My grandfather would tell a joke, and leave with a bang. It's an intangible thing. But it has to be authentic."

Riaad, who calls himself a "comedy connoisseur" will be binge-watching Comedians of the World when it drops. And we suggest you do the same!