Comedian Altaaf Sayed is using his physical disability to his advantage by making mense laugh about it, instead of letting it get him down.
Altaaf was born with a very rare degenerative neurological disease called “X linked adrenoleukodystrophy”, or X-ALD for short, which has left him paralysed from the hip down.
Altaaf explains that he has a subset of the disease, called adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN), which is the adult onset of X-ALD, which surfaced six years ago at the age of 27.
It is an inherited condition that affects the spinal cord and nervous system.
But, the now 33-year-old says he’s making the most of his situation as long as he has two crutches to hold him up - in fact, he is the Cape’s only comic on two crutches.
The brave comic is now hosting his first one-man show called “Finding Archie” at the Mother City Comedy Festival at the Baxter Theatre on 27 February.
Altaaf, from Penlyn Estate, has been doing stand-up comedy for the past three years.
“I was also married once and said the day I get divorced, I want to start a comedy career,” he says.
His comedy has been described as “quirky” and “intellectual”, and his grappies mainly revolve around his disability.
“I like making people laugh using my condition,” he says.
“I might be going through the most (hectic time) having to depend on these two extra legs for the rest of my life, but if it can make others laugh and enjoy my jokes, then why not?”
Altaaf has already performed on big stages such as the CT Comedy Club, Goliath comedy club in Jozi and Next Generation comedy club in Durban.
He is on almost every local comedy club’s list in Cape Town.
Before his disability affected his life, he worked as a business strategist.
“When I was still working, a client nicknamed me Archie and this name stuck, hence my show’s name.
“Finding Archie is the coming out story of ‘Altaaf the comedian on crutches’ as everyone knows him as Altaaf the business strategist.”
It’s his birthday on the day, and he hopes he gets the lekker gift of a sold-out show. Tickets are R120 via Webtickets.