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Long John heads back home

BY MOSES MUGUGUNYEKI
Multi-award winning comedian Learnmore Mwanyenyeka, affectionately known as Long John, is heading to Zimbabwe for a one-man show to be staged in Harare next month.

The show, to be held under Covid-19 regulations on November 20, will take place at The Reps Theatre in Belgravia, powered by South Africa-based entertainment hub — Xtratime Entertainment.

Dubbed, Long John Unsanitised, the show is the first the Chimanimani-bred comic is performing face-to-face, having gone for 15 months without staging a show in Zimbabwe due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The South Africa-based comedian, however, had been concentrating much on virtual shows like the globally-acclaimed Vail Comedy Show although lately he had a number of performances staged in front of an audience.

“Long John has been based in South Africa over the last 15 months and this is a befitting home coming show for him,” said Xtratime Entertainment spokesperson Tongai Mbidzo.

“He has been engaging a lot with his fans online via some comedy skits and this is a chance for his fans in Zimbabwe to watch him live on stage.

“The show is titled Long John Unsanitised where he will talk about everything. His comedy will not be sanitised.

“It is going to be a great night of laughter in Harare and this show is what theatre goers have been waiting for.”

Mbidzo said fans should expect surprises.

“It’s a one-man show, but we will have a host who will be a surprise comedy package for the night,” he said.

Long John’s upbringing in Chimanimani inspires most of his stage work, which has made him popular in several countries, including South Africa, Rwanda, Botswana, Namibia, Uganda, Eswatini and the United Kingdom.

He has won several awards including the Outstanding Comedian of the Year at the National Arts Merit Awards [Nama], Pan African Comic of the Year in the Savannah Comics Choice Awards in South Africa and the People’s Choice Award at the 2019 Steve Harvey’s Stand Up Spotlight Competition.

Last year he walked away with the Nama Outstanding Comedian of the Year gong.

In an interview with online publication VailDaily.com early this year, Long John said he tries to come up with jokes that are influenced by everyday life and village life.

“Before I perform for an international audience, I always do some research first, to figure out what jokes this particular audience can relate to and how to perform the set,” he said.

“Because I mostly talk about where I come from and my point of view as someone that grew up in a small village in Zimbabwe, when I tell a joke I have to explain a bit more or put it in their local context so that the punchline makes sense.”

Xtratime Entertainment is not new to bringing comedians to Zimbabwe having brought Ugandan comediennes Anne Kansiime and Cotilda Inapo as well as global comics like Barry Hilton, Donovan Goliath and Jason Goliath, Farham Esat and John Vlismas to stage shows in the country.

Zimbabwean comedian based in the United States Alfred Kainga and South-based Baba Harare all came to stage shows in Zimbabwe courtesy of Xtratime Entertainment

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