EXCLUSIVE: Long John’s road to Apollo

Revered Zimbabwean comedian Long John (Learnmore Jonasi) is set to set alight the Apollo Theatre (New York City) on the 13th of April. We caught up with the star to get some insight on the much-anticipated show. [KM – Kudzai Mhangwa; LJ – Learnmore Jonasi]

KM: First, congratulations on this amazing showcase. You made me so proud to be a Zimbabwean! How did the opportunity come about?

LJ: I was fortunate to have a fellow Zimbabwean comedian, Alfred Kainga, open this door for me. He performed at the Apollo Theatre last year and ensured that it remained open for other comics, like me. Alfred will also be hosting the show on April 13th at the Apollo Theatre.

KM: How are preparations for the show going?

LJ: I’ve been preparing for this opportunity ever since I started doing comedy in 2012. As they say, “Stay ready…” so I am ready for this. I can’t wait to finally go on that stage.

KM: Would you say this is the highlight of your career?

LJ: Yes, this is definitely one of the highlights of my career. However, meeting and working with Steve Harvey, as well as winning the Pan African Comedian of the Year Award are also among them.

KM: Do you think we are often afforded these opportunities as African artists?

LJ: I think for the first time in history, Africa has the limelight. From music to movies, we are contributing so much. Therefore, the world is hungry for African stories by Africans.

KM: How are you feeling about the show? Are you nervous? Do you ever get nervous?

LJ: Yes! I always get nervous, regardless of how big or small the show is. However, these nerves signify that I truly care about the performance. As Barry Hilton once told me, the day you stop getting nervous is the day you stop growing as a comedian.

KM: Any words of encouragement to other dreamers and artists out there?

LJ: My advice to artists out there would be, no matter what you do, enjoy the process because life is too short to always stress about the future. Just enjoy the journey and the people around you.

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