Comedian Joe Avati takes audiences Back to Basics

September 18, 2012

As seen in Cadence Magazine

Ask your Italian friends. Ask your Australian and English friends. Heck, ask your Canadian friends! Although he may be “the greatest comedian you never heard of,” Joe Avati commands a growing international cult following. “Word spreads too quickly when I go on tour,” Joe exclaims. “There is a loyal fan base, and I just send out one message! I get a lot of media in Canada too.” So why has he left his Canadian fans on tender hooks, eagerly anticipating his next arrival? “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” smiles Joe.

With a few comedy albums, an ensemble show, and some TV hosting under his belt, Joe is coming home to his first love: stand-up comedy. After a five-year absence, Italian/Australian comedian Joe Avati is returning to the Canadian stage with his new comedy show, Back to Basics. The show explores what Avati does best: retelling the stories of his Italian upbringing—“everyone had a transformer lunchbox; mine had St. Peter on the front”—and making people laugh.

When asked how he has changed as a comedian since his last tour, Joe replied, “Well, I’m older now—I’m 38-years old. Teens and kids are now coming to my show—the age difference is greater. Technology has changed and I feel like I can compare myself to a parent in terms of experience. It makes me think about family, and specifically, my Italian family. Life growing up was so different from the typical Aussie kid. Other kids spent their summers camping or fishing, and I hung out in my garage making tomato sauce. I’ve been thinking more about my culture.”

Famous for his hilarious clean-cut comedy, Joe Avati is comparable to comedy legends such as Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Cosby. He feels that swearing is gratuitous and unnecessary on the stage. “Comedians who swear limit their market. Swearing [indicates] that a comedian is struggling up there. There is just no need unless it is applicable to the joke. People have thanked me for not swearing.”

Joe Avati’s international tours take him from Australia to Canada and the United Kingdom, all places that host dedicated Joe Avati enthusiasts. But how can an observational comedian present material that is pertinent throughout the entire world? “I change words slightly,” he explains. “Politics are different in every country, so those jokes change; but I [incorporate] lots of universally relevant media.”

Although the show is bilingual, Joe’s comedy is not limited to those of Italian upbringing. “I’m a very physical comedian,” comments Avati. “I explain the language differences [so] everyone can relate. Especially IBMs!—Italians by marriage,” he clarifies. “My ensemble show [consisted of] two Greek guys, a Turkish guy, and an Italian. They all understood and all loved it,” says Avati. “It’s like Russell Peters and his relationship with Jewish people.” Joe insists that regardless of your cultural background, you will be laughing so hard your abdominals will suffer and your jaw will ache.

But laughter isn’t all that Joe’s show offers. “The show is designed so when you leave, you start saying ‘that’s so true’ and start telling [your] own stories in the car on the way home. [You] bring back memories. Some people end up in therapy! New parents [recognize] how much they are like their parents.” Joe’s comedy provides some thought-provoking material, forcing his multi-generational audience to think.

Joe’s Back to Basics Tour will take him across three different continents over two years before finally returning home to Australia. Although he loves being on tour, Joe is looking forward to his upcoming work off of the stage. “I want to show young comics how to be better comics quicker,” he remarked. Joe is taking on a management role, working with up-and-coming comedians—mentoring, advising, and nurturing them.

But that’s not all: Joe is taking his talents to the big screen. “There’s a movie in the pipeline,” Avati confided. “It’s with a big production company, but that’s all I can say.”

A Canuck lover, Joe is excited to be starting his tour in the True North. “The people are so nice and sophisticated,” gushes Joe. “You get treated well here. Doors open. People do things for you. I get a bit of a rock-star lifestyle.”

When asked to summarize his show in one line, Joe paused and thought. Finally, after much consideration, he presented a tag line that incorporates his hysterical, individual comedy and conceptual content. “Joe Avati,” he announced. “A metaphysical experience.”

Check out Joe’s website, www.joeavati.com, for tour dates, locations, and more.

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