Profile: Boy With Tape On His Face
Quiet man of comedy is still making a big noise as he prepares for a national tour
This article is from 2016.
Silence certainly seems golden for Sam Wills. Dubbed as ‘mime with noise, stand-up with no talking, drama with no acting’, the New Zealander’s shows have charmed many nations since he first emerged to perform on streets and stages in 2001. With his reputation slowly on the climb, he picked up the panel prize at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards in 2012 after the judges deemed his show too popular (as regards attendance figures every night) to be considered for the main gong.
One thing he clearly has in spades is confidence. You can see it right there during his 2011 Royal Variety Performance. Having just been welcomed to the stage by Peter Kay, he kicked off with his staple opener: tapping the microphone to see if it’s still on. With no reaction forthcoming from the crowd (not even a single rattle of jewellery in the posh seats), some comics might have crumbled, but Wills went on to storm the night with his ‘oven-glovers’ and ‘Lady in Red’ routines.
So what does the bit of gaffer tape signify? Some have suggested S&M overtones, others that it’s a sign to the audience that he’s out of control and needs help (if you are at all wary of crowd interaction, you’d be best to sit as far away from the stage as possible at one of his gigs).
Wills himself has hinted that having some tape stuck over his gob might just be the only way to prevent him from uttering any words at all. Whatever the deeper meanings (or not) Sam Wills clearly has an act that’s worth shouting from the rooftops. Even if he’s going to stay perfectly schtum.
Boy With Tape On His Face plays selected dates in Jun and Jul and starts a national tour from Tue 6 Sep.