Actions speak louder than words in Sam Wills’ act

Luke Botham contributed to this report.

With one of the biggest comedy awards in New Zealand under his belt, stand-up comedian Sam Wills stopped speaking on stage and “The Boy With Tape On His Face” was born.

Following his performance at the Royal Variety Show last year, Wills has gone back on tour, which comes to Lincoln at the end of the month.


Sam Wills' "The Boy With Tape On His Face" looks set to leave the audience (and himself) speechless. Photo: Gag Reflex
Wills started off as a clown’s apprentice, well known for hammering nails up his nose and doing stunts. Speaking about this, he said: “It was a bit like pre-Jackass but without the stupidity. There was actually a bit of skill involved.”

He then began writing stand-up, which, in 2005, led to him winning a Billy T James award. This is when ideas for The Boy With Tape On His Face started to form.

He said: “After winning the award, there was that feeling of expectation. People expected me to learn more tricks and do more talking.

“I decided to do the complete opposite and surprise people by doing a new show that had no talking and no tricks.”

The Boy With Tape On His Face is exactly what it says on the tin. Throughout the routine, Wills has tape covering his mouth, and uses props and audience members, rather than his voice, to make the audience laugh.

Wills feels that audience members are often humiliated in stand-up and made to be the butt of jokes. He’s not a fan of this though: “I’m not going to be humiliating them because I think that’s such an easy thing to do.

“I want to celebrate them being there because they are helping out, so I treat audience members with a lot of respect. That way, when they leave the stage, they leave an absolute hero to a big round of applause.”

As well as the tape on his face and the audience members, the props that he uses are very important to his comedy. Wills likes to use everyday objects and make them into something funny. He said: “I never want to have something which is especially made.

“I like the idea that people can look around their house and see objects I’ve used, and then, when they see their oven gloves or a tape measure, they think of something completely different.”

When talking about the future of “The Boy,” Wills said he’s still got a lot of ideas for new routines, and the fact that he’s silent throughout the routine also means he can move the act around. He said: “There’s always different places in the world I want to go to, and I think that’s half the joy for me. I don’t speak so it works anywhere in the world.”

Whilst Wills has previously performed in Lincoln, he promises that this show will be fresh and different to the others he’s done. Speaking about the show, he said: “I will have a gunfight, I will fight Darth Vader and I will bring John Lennon back to life!”

“The Boy With Tape On His Face: More Tape” comes to Lincoln’s Drill Hall on September 29th. Tickets are priced at £12 and can be purchased from the venue.

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