The Boy with Tape on His Face

 

The Boy With Tape On His Face has gone from strength to strength since his breakout Edinburgh Fringe season four years ago. The New Zealand comic, real name Sam Wills, uses a blend of whimsical visuals, prop gags, and puppetry, along with gentle audience participation to charm his audience. Wills tells me more about his character and his brand new show, which he is currently performing in Adelaide.

“The Boy With The Tape On His Face was a character I developed seven years go. I used to do sort of normal stand up comedy back in New Zealand until I got bored of my own voice and bored of doing the same sorts of tricks and stuff, so I set myself a goal to develop something which had no talking and no tricks, and I wanted to find a way to get the audience to entertain themselves, so the character came from that.” The clincher, though, which created his namesake, came more out of necessity than anything else. “On the first night of the show, I went onstage − and I didn’t have tape originally − I went onstage and ruined it within the first couple of minutes by talking to the audience, out of a general panic of being way out of my comfort zone. And so the next night I was backstage joking with some other comics, and a roll of gaffer tape was around, and one suggestion turned into now a career.”

When talking about influences and how he builds his character, like his show, Wills draws a little bit from everywhere, including his main inspiration, Wile E Coyote. “I love that concept where you can phone in and you get this delivery and it’s this crazy invention. And for me I take that to junk shops − there’s a shop here in Adelaide called the Reject Shop, which is very good, you know the shops that carry bric-a-brac, multivitamins, clothing, hardware, I love them because you can find everyday objects that everyone knows, and for me it’s a challenge just to take that object and make it into something else that people aren’t expecting, and match it with a perfect song to create a whole new thing with it, which is really fun.” Which means he’s over the moon when I tell him we have a Reject Shop in Melbourne. When I mention Arthur Daley’s Clearance House he knows all about it, “Oh I know that one, I remember that one from five years ago and it was freakin’ amazing!”

It’s time to clear up peoples’ fears about the audience participation element of his show, something that could wrongly send punters running. “It’s the nice sort − this is the other thing I’m trying to do one audience at a time is change the perception of audience participation, cause when you say that everyone freaks out… people who have done audience participation have been doing it wrong, where they tend to humiliate the one person onstage… whenever I get someone up on stage I want to celebrate them being there and that they helped out with the show, so that when they leave, they’re leaving the stage a hero! And it’s reached the point now where people are actually wanting to be on stage which is very strange.”

It seems like audiences can expect a thoroughly positive and hilarious experience from The Boy With Tape On His Face. “The last time I was in Melbourne was five years ago at the comedy festival, and that was my first show so the show that’s happening this time is never-before-seen in Melbourne, it’s 100 percent new material… it’s good fun.”

Venue: The Forum, Upstairs – 154 Flinders St, Melbourne

Dates: 27 March – 20 April (not Mondays), Previews 27 – 30 March

Tickets: Thu/Sun Full $30, Conc $25, Tue/Wed All Tix $25, Fri/Sat All Tix $30

Times: 7:30pm Tue-Sat, 6:30pm Sun

Bookings:www.comedyfestival.com.au, www.ticketmaster.com.au or 1300 660 013

 

Published as part of the Beat – Melbourne Comedy Festival Lift Out Guide

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