Sam Wills: Order of the gag

By Scott Kara

Sam Wills (The Boy With Tape on his Face) Photo / Supplied for Timeout.
Sam Wills (The Boy With Tape on his Face) Photo / Supplied for Timeout.

For Kiwi comedian Sam Wills - aka The Boy With Tape On His Face - getting invited to perform at this year's Royal Variety Performance concert is a sign he's finally broken through in Britain after moving there in 2008.

"Yeah, it's definitely growing," says Wills from London, whose madcap mime cum stand up act has been one of the standout shows at the New Zealand Comedy Festival in recent years.

"Last year I heard a rumour I was getting shortlisted for the performance but I didn't quite make it. And so this year it was quite nice to get the invite, and essentially I've been given the nod of approval for my act."

The annual concert, which this year was attended by Princess Anne, screens in New Zealand on Christmas Day at 7.25pm on TV One.

He wasn't the only Christchurch native on the bill with songbird Hayley Westenra also performing.

"It was really nice to say hello to her and it was quite fun to say, 'Hi, I'm from Christchurch too'," he says. "She was really good, we had a little chat and talked about Christmas and barbecues."

As well as doing shows he is currently talking to the BBC about possible TV show ideas, he will perform a new Boy With Tape On His Face show at next year's comedy festival, and his long term dream is to do a West End-style show with "a big set, a big band, and create a little world and really build the place where The Boy With Tape On His face lives".

But first, he had to perform for royalty ...

So how did the Royal Variety Performance go then?

It was amazing. It was probably one of the most terrifying gigs I've ever done because there is so much history behind it as a show. It was pretty spectacular. I had to meticulously go through every little bit that I was doing so they could make sure it was all going to be fine.

What did you say - or not say - to Princess Anne when you met her?

I decided to meet her with tape on my face because we had to do the curtain call at the end of the show, and I had to do that in character, and then straight away there was the line up to meet her afterwards. And I thought realistically we're not going to have a massive discussion so I thought it would make for a far more interesting photo with me shaking hands with her, with tape on, and not talking at all. What was really interesting was she asked me the questions any normal punter would ask me: does it hurt when the tape comes off?

Who did you meet back stage?

I got to share a dressing room with [American magicians and comedians] Penn and Teller, which was really fun because I've looked up to them for years. And Nicole Scherzinger, she was the act on before me. Then there were Il Divo, they were a really lovely bunch of singer guys.

- NZ Herald

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