Joe Avati premiers brand-new show “When I Was Your Age”
Italian-Australian comedian Joe Avati will have you roaring in your seats when his brand-new world tour, When I Was Your Age, stops in Ottawa. The renowned comedian has a reputation for pointing out the humour in generational and cultural differences and takes it one step further by putting a hilarious spin on the complexities of modern-day parenting and the minefields of cancel culture and the woke brigade.
Avati asks the audience to leave their political correctness at the door as he speaks his truth on how times have changed, for better or worse, since he was a teenager in the 80s.
A lack of profanity and an abundance of extreme relatability make this laugh-a-minute show something the whole family can enjoy, and Avati encourages fans to bring the kids and the grandparents to his new show.
A household name in Canada, Avati got his start in comedy 25 years ago, connecting with his audience at an open-mic night at the Sydney Comedy Store. His hysterical anecdotes about growing up in Australia as the child of Italian immigrants, his relatability, razor-sharp wit, and priceless observations have since made him a hit around the world.
Before that fateful night, Avati was not sure he would follow the route he did. “It wasn’t by design. I always wanted to be a rockstar, but my dad told me, ‘Where we come from, in Italy, there are no rockstars. Get a real job.’” With a ‘fair enough’ attitude, Avati attended university but discovered a love of comedy in his free time and decided to try it out for himself.
On his first night at the Comedy Store, Avati earned a couple of laughs, his fuel to go on. “I don’t know, had I not done well, would I have pursued it again,” he admitted, “A lot of comedians have potential, and then they die on stage and never go on again.”
Avati is thrilled to be back on the road, performing his new material to audiences worldwide. “In the past, I’ve functioned by re-writing on stage. You would still see elements of the old shows with new bits. I noticed as I started living the rockstar lifestyle, I cared a bit less about my craft,” he said, “During Covid, I had extra time and thought…why not start from scratch?”
Writing When I Was Your Age has been a pivotal experience for Avati, who explained that he used new writing techniques and approaches, “It feels like, after 25 years, I’m just starting!”
Comedy is an opportunity for Avati to share his story and a tool to spark conversation. His new show questions cancel culture, gender identity politics, work culture, and other topics for the first time. Of course, controversy follows touchier topics, but Avati believes that healthy debate is a good thing. “Everyone is going to meet someone who says, ‘You’re not funny, mate’, but I just respond, ‘Okay, I’m not funny to you,” Avati said with a laugh, “I accept the constructive comments. How arrogant would I be to think that everything I do is perfect!”
While constructive criticism is welcome, Avati describes his sometimes-negative experience with TikTok, Instagram, and other quick-hit forms of social media. “You can’t take a 45-second to three-minute recording of a two-hour show and draw meaningful conclusions,” he says, “Did you hear what I said before and after? Unless you’re in the room, don’t comment.”
As important as it is to make people laugh, Avati knows the value of staying informed. His inspiration is drawn from other comedians, including Ricky Gervais and Louis C.K., and from various current affairs podcasts.
Avati’s family have always been his #1 supporter and litmus test. He says, “People try to tell me that what I say about my culture might be offensive.” Avati states, “I don’t need you to tell me that. I have my family. If I’m about to say something new, I think, ‘Would my mum be offended by this?’ If yes, I don’t do it.”
The Covid pandemic was a trying time for everyone, but Avati is grateful for the opportunities it presented, including more views online and free time. “Thanks to Covid, everyone was going down rabbit holes on their phone. Old fans that haven’t seen me in a long time rediscovered me, and I’ve become famous again. In new countries, I’ve become famous for the first time.”
With life back to normal, Avati has blown up even more, and he has had the chance to visit places he never thought he would, including Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, and more.
Avati credits the multigenerational nature of his new show in part to his current success and says that any age can get something out of it. Avati laughs, “I’m like the Ed Sheeran of comedy.”
Avati hopes his story will inspire young comedians to believe in themselves. “Just keep going. Don’t be discouraged by people not laughing. If you do five minutes of stand-up and get one minute of laughter, you have what it takes. You just have to learn to fill 90 minutes with that one minute.”
Avati has performed to sold-out crowds in Australia, North America, and the UK, and Ottawa can experience his comedy on July 15th at the Meridian Theatre, Centrepointe.
“I was here last in 2018, and ever since, I’ve become a dad, my grandparents have become grandparents, we’ve had Covid and cancel culture, and the world has changed.”
For those who can’t make July 15, the comedian will perform at the Rialto Theatre in Montreal on July 22.
For tickets to When I Was Your Age, visit https://joeavati.com/portfolio_page/when-i-was-your-age-canada/