Village boy heads back home

Rising Zimbabwean comedian Learnmore “Long John” Mwanyenyeka, who today is one of the most-sought-after comedians in South Africa, heads back home on June 22 to stage a one-man stand-up comedy show titled The Village Boy.

By Moses Mugugunyeki

The Chimanimani-bred comedian, who lately has hogged the comic limelight in southern Africa, thanks to his brand The Village Boy, will perform at Reps Theatre.
Speaking from his base in South Africa, Long John said it was high time he took his one-man stand-up comedy to Zimbabwe after successfully staging similar shows in South Africa, Zambia and Botswana.

“The Village Boy brand is a one-man stand-up comedy show, which focuses on my background, chronicling how I grew up under the guardianship of my grandparents in a small rural village in Chimanimani,” Long John said.

“The act follows my journey from being in the village, dreaming to be an international stand-up comedian. I speak from a unique comical perspective and I have a very animated act for the audience to enjoy. The Village Boy explores the views of a village boy learning different cultures, life lessons, traditions and relationships, among others.”

Long John has mesmerised audiences in countries such as the United Kingdom, South Africa, Namibia and Swaziland. The lanky comedian has also performed in world-class comedy clubs such as Parker’s Comedy Club, Cape Town Comedy Club, Goliath Comedy Club and more.

His breakthrough on the mainstream comedy circuit was on October 9, 2012 when he performed at Simuka Comedy Night at Book Café in Harare. The following five years saw the youthful comedian carving a niche for himself both on the domestic and regional scene.

His maiden performance on foreign soil was in South Africa in October 2014 when he shared the stage with big names such as Loyiso Gola and Joe Parker, among others. He has been to Namibia where he featured at the prestigious Hilton Hotel. In December 2015, Long John hosted his first-ever one-man show in Zimbabwe titled The Longest Yard, which was a big success.

He said his performances were inspired by the environment, pointing out that his upbringing shaped his way of doing business.

“My upbringing under the custody of my grandparents shaped me. This spirit from my grandparents’ influence helped me in almost every aspect and perspective I hold towards comedy,” he said.

“When I started doing comedy, I was thrilled by the experience and exposure but then getting deeper with this, I began to understand that it’s way deeper than that. Comedy is a way of life and how people respond to it tells about their way of life too.”

The 26-year-old comedian, who left the audience in stitches when he performed at The African Comedy Festival in the United Kingdom in 2015, said Zimbabwe was now a force to reckon with in the comedy world.

“There are talented and potential comedians here in Zimbabwe. But both talent and potential contribute 25% to 30% to the whole body of comedy,” he said.

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