As far as career options go, professional video game player sits somewhere between food tester and sleep study participant. Unthinkable as it is, one Milwaukee man has managed to make an occupation out of gaming with the help of a charismatic puppet he made out of an old Super Nintendo. Joe Vella got his start in entertainment as a performer (and eventually a teacher) at ComedySportz. Two years ago, he combined his love of improv, gaming, and Mystery Science Theater 3000 into BizSNES. As one of Twitch’s first, and one of the gaming platform’s most popular character streamers, Vella’s sole income comes from recording himself (and his plastic puppet) playing video games and streaming it online.

Prior to taking part in a character streamer panel at TwitchCon, and before his upcoming move to the Twitch hotbed that is Seattle, Vella joined host Tyler Maas at Milwaukee Record headquarters to expand on their recent discussion about the professional gamer and all-around entertainer’s foray into his unique occupation, the challenges and misconceptions he faces, how his comic background informs his viewer interactions, and what’s to come from BizSNES.

This episode is brought to you by Surly Brewing, which is giving back in various locally focused ways with the its “Surly Gives A Damn” initiative. Music comes courtesy of Piles (“Blue Glue”) and NO/NO (“Take Out”). Subscribe to On The Record via iTunes or Stitcher (for free!).