Sam Wills, known as Tape Face (formerly The Boy With Tape on His Face), brings his uniquely hilarious comedy to the Garrick Theatre this June for a strictly limited run of 7 weeks.
So who is he?
He’s 38 years old, originally from Canterbury, New Zealand and calls himself a ‘prop comic’ to avoid the word ‘mime’ that connotes walking against the wind and striped tops (which he ironically wears in the picture below).
Where did it begin?
When he was 12, he discovered a clown in his neighbourhood, knocked on his door and asked to be his apprentice – and that’s where the story begins!
His next stop was a circus school in his hometown of Christchurch, where he majored in juggling and acrobatics and graduated with a diploma in New Circus. After graduating, he began his career in “stand-up”, where he would walk on glass, hammer nails up his nose and eat marshmallows off of mousetraps (which is probably not the conventional Friday night entertainment you’d expect from your local comedy club).
Why is he silent?
After winning a big New Zealand comedy award for a show called Dance Monkey Dance, people expected him to continue dancing like a monkey. After growing tired of this, he decided to shock his audience by creating a show that was the exact opposite – no dancing, no funny tricks, and absolutely no talking.
He unfortunately ruined it on his very first performance of his silent character by walking on stage and greeting his audience with ‘good evening, guys’; this is where tape was introduced and Tape Face was born!
What has he done already?
Arguably the most interesting performance to date for Tape Face was his performance on the red carpet for the world premiere of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” in Wellington. He performed on the Royal Variety Performance in 2011, was nominated for the Fred Award in the New Zealand International Comedy Festival in 2012 and performed for several years at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where he met his future wife English burlesque performer Felicity Redman (also known as Lili La Scala); they are now proud parents of a baby boy whose middle name is Danger! Most notably, he made it to the final of America’s Got Talent in 2016 and began building a name for himself in the US.
Tape Face’s audition for America’s Got Talent 2016 was viewed over 45 million times on YouTube – that’s more than the population of Canada! You can re-live his time on AGT in the video below.
Why is he different?
Wills told Ed Potton (The Times) that his primary job as Tape Face is to encourage his audience to remember what it was like to be a kid, playing without fear or embarrassment. He claims that a lot of comedy shows recently push some kind of message or narrative, but he feels that comedy should just be about being fun and being funny.
One of the most captivating parts of Tape Face’s show is the relationship he develops with audience members; the time he convinced Mel B to wear a toilet seat around her neck on national television is a prime example of this!
Tape Face is now West End-bound with his greatest gags, delivering guaranteed entertainment to UK audiences, whom he claims make him step up his game: “the UK has such a great tradition of comedy that you can’t slip something past an audience, because they’ll see through it pretty quickly” (The Times).
There’s nothing quite like Tape Face; his multi-award-winning spectacle really does need to be seen to be believed. With around-the-world critical-acclaim, you’d be a fool to miss the chance to be a part of the phenomenon this year.
Opening at the Garrick Theatre on Tuesday 6 June – book tickets here.
View the official trailer below.