By Zandile Zaza Ndlovu
The month of October holds a special place in the heart of global icon and original Kings of Comedy star Steve Harvey.
October 8 1985 saw him winning a comedy showcase that launched his illustrious career as a global comedian.
In a bid to give back to the roots that transformed his life, Harvey announced on Instagram that he was launching his Stand-up Spotlight Comedy Competition in order to hunt for the “next big comedian”.
With many talented comics entering the competition, local export Long John proved to be a fan favourite, accumulating the most votes to walk away with the People’s Choice Award despite missing out on the grand prize, which went to US’s Ken Miller.
Taking to his Twitter handle, Harvey said: “Thank you to all who participated in the Steve Harvey Stand Up Spotlight Competition! The People’s Choice Award Winner is Long John @long_john_ who joined the competition from Zimbabwe! Congratulations man, you were funny, animated, and have great stage presence, keep it up champ.”
The Sunday Mail Society caught up with Long John to hear his experiences. The comic revealed that he entered the contest after being advised to do so by his social media team.
“After I got the call from my team, I immediately went to Steve Harvey’s Instagram page, saw the competition details and all I had to do was send in a clip doing my thing and put my contact details,” said Long John.
“Being a fan of comedy, I knew that most of the comedy hopefuls would most likely sound very American and have the same type of delivery in their comedy acts.
“I told myself I would be authentically Zimbabwean, use my Zimbabwean accent and talk of my experience as the village boy from Chimanimani, which worked to my advantage.”
This calculated gamble would see him stand out above a thousand other entries. This saw him being nominated into the final 30 acts. Long John was the only African comic selected.
Global audiences, especially those of African descent, rallied behind the Zimbabwean and voted in their multitudes online.
“I am elated because I have always wanted to tour the world. This win has propelled me far beyond my biggest dreams. I am grateful for the doors that are about to be opened, which will enable me to fly the Zimbabwean flag high. I thank God for these blessings.”
Long John also won the Pan-African Comedian of the Year award at the recent Savannah Comics Choice Awards. The Sunday Mail