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Sam Wills

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Sam Wills
Wills performing in Dublin, Ireland, in 2010
PseudonymTape Face, The Boy With Tape On His Face, Sam Wills
Born (1978-08-28) 28 August 1978 (age 45)
Timaru, New Zealand
MediumLaughter, surprise
EducationChristchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology’s Circus School, earned a Diploma in New Circus, majoring in Juggling and Acrobatics.
Years active1991–present
Genresprop-comic, comedian
SpouseFelicity Redman (m. 2009–2017)
Children1 son
Notable works and rolesMost viewed comedian on YouTube, his performances for America’s Got Talent being viewed over 220 million times worldwide.

Sam Wills (born 28 August 1978) is a New Zealand prop comic, busker, clown, and mime artist residing in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. He performs under the name The Boy With Tape On His Face[1] and, more recently, as Tape Face.[2] He was also half of the two-person act Spitroast and sometimes performed under his own name, Sam Wills.[3] He has been featured in the New Zealand International Comedy Festival,[4] the World Buskers Festival,[5] and was a finalist on Season 11 of America's Got Talent.[6]


Wills began his performing career in Timaru at the age of thirteen while he trained as a clown. He uses a diverse range of performance styles and skills. He holds a diploma in New Circus from Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology's Circus School where he has taught juggling for two years. His interest in the phenomenon of traditional circus freak shows and influences such as the Jim Rose Circus and the Tokyo Shock Boys led to experiments with shock comedy, earning him his first Pulp Comedy appearance, the Best New Face award for the 2001 season, and he was called ‘Prince of Cringe’ from Truth and TV Extra magazine.[citation needed]

Until 2001, Wills was active in the Christchurch entertainment scene, appearing at balls, private functions and corporate events; running weekly comedy nights and appearing on local television.[citation needed] In 2002, he moved to Auckland to become a resident comedian at the casino in SkyCity Auckland, where he had a weekly show, the NCB Comedy Hour, blending circus and vaudeville styles.[citation needed] In 2008, Wills took his show The Boy With Tape On His Face to the Melbourne Comedy Festival, where it received critical acclaim.[7][8] After Melbourne and later in 2008, he moved to London, appearing as a modern mime and wearing the traditional striped shirt.[9]

Wills met his future wife, English burlesque performer Felicity Redman (also known as Lili La Scala), in 2007.[10] They had a "symbolic wedding" on 9 January 2009, in Christchurch as a start to that year's World Buskers Festival in the same spot on the banks of the Avon River where they got engaged a year earlier. This was followed by a legal wedding later that year in England.[11] Their son was born in January 2013.[10]

Wills rarely gives interviews to maintain the impression of not speaking, which was created by taping his mouth for performances. His media strategy is modelled on that of Kate Moss, of whom he has said "She doesn't do any public speaking at all. That makes her even cooler. She just does her job. That is the approach we are taking with this. We want the show to just sell itself."[12]

Notable performances[edit]

Wills performing in Covent Garden, London (May 2009)

Wills performed as the MC of the Late Club at the Auckland Festival in 2005 (AK05) and for First Night at the Aotea Centre.[citation needed] He also performed at the World Buskers' Festival in 2004, 2005 and 2008.[5][11] He was a regular performer on Pulp Comedy, during its three seasons on TV2.[13] He performed on the red carpet for the World Premier of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in Wellington.[14] He was the support act for David Strassman's 2003 tour of New Zealand.[citation needed] He has also performed at private functions for the former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and the King of Tonga George Tupou V.[citation needed] In the UK, he made an ITV appearance on Comedy Rocks hosted by Jason Manford (2011), and also appeared at the first BBC Comedy Prom at London's Royal Albert Hall on 13 August 2011 (broadcast on BBC 2 on 27 August 2011).[15][16] On 5 December 2011 he performed at the 83rd annual Royal Variety Performance, alongside Tim Minchin and others.[17][18]

In the Season 11 premiere of America's Got Talent (AGT) on 31 May 2016, shortening his stage name to Tape Face, Wills auditioned and got through to the next round.[9] In Week 8 of AGT, during the Judges' cuts round, Wills successfully auditioned through to the live shows.[19] In Week 1 of the AGT quarterfinals, he advanced to the semifinals.[20] He advanced to the finals on 31 August 2016 by getting the most audience votes in the Dunkin' save, but was later eliminated on 14 September when he did not reach a top five spot.[citation needed] Maria Karvouni of Forbes magazine wrote that Tape Face revives silent film acting, using his facial expressions and body movements to captivate his audience: "His simplicity creates a complexity which results in a lot of laughter."[21] He appeared in a show with America's Got Talent Season 11 winner Grace VanderWaal and runner-up The Clairvoyants in a three-night concert series at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, in October 2016.[22] He also appeared in 2019 on Week 4 of America's Got Talent: Champions, on Monday, 28 January, where he placed in the top 4 of that night's acts.

Wills made an appearance in YouTube Rewind 2016.[23]

When Sam Wills is on tour, his doppelganger T2 performs in his place at House of Tape Theater in Harrah's Las Vegas.[24]

In 2020, Wills appeared on the 15th season of La France a un incroyable talent, the "Battle of the Judges." He was a member of team Sugar Sammy.[25] In the first round of the competition, Tape Face competed in a duel against pole acrobat Rémi Martin from team Marianne James. The audience and judges Éric Antoine and Hélène Ségara all voted for Rémi Martin to move on to the next round, eliminating Wills from the competition.


  • In 2001, Wills received Pulp Comedy's Best New Face Award.
  • In 2002, he received the Best Marketing award from the New Zealand International Comedy Festival.
  • In 2005, he received New Zealand's highest comedy honours, the Billy T Award for his show Dance Monkey Dance: The Evolution of Sam Wills and the "Best Show" award from the New Zealand Comedy Guild.
  • In 2006, he received the "Best Show" and "Best Show Concept" awards from the New Zealand Comedy Guild.
  • In 2007, he received the "Best Show" and "Best Show Concept" awards from the New Zealand Comedy Guild as well as the "Best Poster" and "Best Show Auckland" awards at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival.
  • In 2008, he received the "Peoples Choice" award at the World Buskers Festival and the Groggy Squirrel Readers Award at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. He was also nominated for the 'Best Newcomer' at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.[7]
  • In 2011, he won best breakthrough act at chortle live comedy awards 2011 as 'The Boy With Tape On His Face'
  • In 2012, he was nominated for the prestigious Fred Award in the New Zealand International Comedy Festival as 'The Boy With Tape On His Face'.
  • In 2014, he was nominated for the Barry Award.[26]
  • In 2016, he was presented with the International Achievement Award from the Variety Artists Club of New Zealand.[27]


  1. ^ "Welcome". Theboywithtapeonhisface.com. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Creepy 'Tape Face' Prop Comic stuns America's Got Talent audience in viral clip". ew.com. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  3. ^ "The Sam Wills". Archived from the original on 18 January 2012.
  4. ^ "Welcome to the NZ International Comedy Festival producers website". Laugh.co.nz. Archived from the original on 23 February 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  5. ^ a b "21 – 31 January". Worldbuskersfestival.com. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  6. ^ Angermiller, Michele Amabile (14 September 2016). "'America's Got Talent' Finale: Watch Tape Face Put a Toilet Seat on Mel B". Billboard. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  7. ^ a b "Tape Face Going To Las Vegas". www.pollstar.com. 22 December 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Tape Face – Artist Profile". eventseeker.com. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  9. ^ a b "The Boy With Tape On His Face met Simon Cowell, and Simon loved it". The New Zealand Herald. 1 June 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  10. ^ a b Gates, Charlie (24 January 2013). "The boy with danger as a name". The Press. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  11. ^ a b "Funnyman to marry light of his life". The Press. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  12. ^ Gates, Charlie (26 December 2016). "Oven gloves the path to fame". The Press. p. A19. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  13. ^ "Pulp Comedy". IMDb.com. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  14. ^ "Tape Face [Sam Wills] Comedian – Things to Know About the Funnyman". 27 July 2016.
  15. ^ "Publicity – Tape Face".
  16. ^ "Prom 40: Comedy Prom". BBC Music Events.
  17. ^ "Tape Face". www.facebook.com.
  18. ^ "TAPE FACE – Pleasance Theatre Trust". www.pleasance.co.uk.
  19. ^ Weatherby, Taylor (20 July 2016). "'America's Got Talent' Recap: Did Tape Face Make It Through Judge Cuts?". Hollywood Life. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  20. ^ Weatherby, Taylor (27 July 2016). "'America's Got Talent' Results Recap: Which Acts Were Voted Through By America?". Hollywood Life. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  21. ^ Karvouni, Maria. "The Curious Case of Silent Tape Face", Forbes, 6 October 2016
  22. ^ Miller, Ken. "Grace VanderWaal highlights 'America's Got Talent Live!'", Las Vegas Magazine, 21 October 2016
  23. ^ YouTube Rewind: The Ultimate 2016 Challenge | #YouTubeRewind – YouTube
  24. ^ Richardson, Jay (17 July 2019). "Fans' anger over 'fraud' of Tape Face stand-in". www.chortle.co.uk. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  25. ^ Barké, Sébastien (14 July 2020). "La France a un incroyable talent, la bataille du jury : finalistes, concept, équipes… Toutes les infos sur l'émission de M6". www.programme-tv.net (in French). Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  26. ^ "Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards". Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  27. ^ "Variety Artists Club of New Zealand Inc, 2016 Awards". 13 May 2013.

External links[edit]