I first encountered the work of Chicago comedian Joe Avella while watching videos of his comedy duo, “Teenager of the Year.” It wasn’t just the comic timing of Avella and his partner, Tim Racine, that made their routines so funny. What I was struck by the most was their interaction with audience members. Prior to performing a skit, they’d set it up by revealing its absurd name, such as “Ninja Rapist.” Afterward, Avella and Racine would provide self-deprecating commentary on the audience’s reaction, thus earning three laughs as opposed to one. It was an ingenious method, and it made me all the more interested in checking out Avella’s feature directorial effort, “Master of Inventions.” It’s a hilarious and surprisingly touching comedy about a hapless inventor (played by Jeff Murdoch) whose products, such as a “singing GPS,” are popular for all the wrong reasons. On the program, Avella discusses the challenges he faced while making his first movie, and offers some great tips for aspiring filmmakers.
The program was produced at Columbia College Chicago. Technical producer was Rebecca Nystedt. An Indie Outlook Production.