The Vail Comedy Show, after a hiatus for the month of December, returns Thursday, Jan. 21 with a lineup including comedians with national credentials, and one from Zimbabwe.
Headliner Dave Waite (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing) is joined by Leah Bonnema (“Late Night with Stephen Colbert,” truTV, IFC, VH1), Casey Crawford (Jimmy Kimmel), Sofiya Alexandra (Comedy Central, Second City), Chris D. (“Rob Gronkowski’s Unsportsmanlike Comedy”) and Mark Masters, the show’s MC and organizer.
“Denver is one of my favorite places to do comedy, and I’ve also loved doing shows in Boulder. I’m really excited to perform in Vail for the first time, even if I’m actually at my house,” said Alexandra. “One of the cool things about doing online shows is that I can share a lineup with comics all over the world — like on this show, there’s someone from Zimbabwe, that’s amazing.”
The comic from Zimbabwe, Long John The Comedian, grew up in a small village, and much of his self-deprecating style focuses on village life. He typically performs in the country’s capital Harare and Bulawayo, its second largest city. His stage name comes from his high school nickname: he’s quite tall.
After gaining popularity at home and in countries including South Africa, Rwanda, Botswana, Namibia, Uganda, Eswatini (known to English speakers as Swaziland) and the United Kingdom, Long John won several awards in 2019: Outstanding Comedian of the Year at the National Arts Merit Awards in Zimbabwe, 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. In 2020, he again won Outstanding Comiedian of the Year from NAMA.
When performing for international audiences though, Long John adapts his jokes about 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.”
And the international aspect of his comedy career is one he loves nurturing, whether he’s performing virtually or on stage.
“I love it so much, because my material grows in so many ways. And I’ve always wanted to be an international comedian,” he said. “I love making people from different backgrounds and regions come together and laugh. I believe comedy is a universal language. If done right, it can unite people.”
Unite with Long John and all six other comedians on the bill this Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Guests will get a link to the virtual show with free registration. For more information and to register, visit vailcomedyshow.com.