Kiwi comic Tape Face is being accused of duping fans after complaints an impersonator has been performing in his place in Las Vegas.
Chortle.co.uk report audiences who forked out up to $151 say they were expecting to see Sam Willis perform his unique show that gained popularity through his appearance on America's Got Talent in 2016.
However, fans were left disappointed with Willis using a stand-in to perform some of his shows at Harrah's casino.
But the former street artist, also known as The Boy With Tape On His Face, rejects claims he has been "defrauding" ticket buyers saying he always envisioned Tape Face as a character that could be adopted by others.
The 40-year-old told Chortle he likened his act to a franchise and always intended to have several Tape Faces performing in different cities. That scenario will reportedly occur later this year when Wills embarks on a UK tour while another performer, named T2, will do shows in Las Vegas.
"People who follow me on social media are aware that this has been very much part of my dream," he explained.
However, fans are upset that they were kept in the dark and left unaware they might not be seeing the original Tape Face, with Ticketmaster, Harrah's and the official Tape Face website all promoting the show with a picture of Willis.
Harrah's online advertisement includes the lines "as seen on America's Got Talent and America's Got Talent" and "TAPE FACE" is the creation of New Zealand comedian Sam Wills, and he's created a killer cast for you nightly at The House of Tape inside Harrah's Las Vegas."
Chortle reports Wills has trained others to perform the same show and anyone who plays Tape Face wears the same costume and make-up.
That revelation has not gone down well with fans taking to Trip Advisor to complain.
"An impersonator....really" began one post. "I just spent $600 to watch a person dress up and pretend to be Tape Face! I've seen the awful response from the PR people that Tape Face is a feeling, it's about being blah blah blah... and not about who is playing the "character". If that is the case then why are there only promotional pictures of Sam Willis as Tape Face?"
The reviewer goes on to explain fans were denied the chance to take photos with Tape Face after the show "because the hoax would spread like wildfire and people would stop going."
Another scathing review titled "The real TapeFace is gone...the show is a fraud" reads: "The stand-in was Mediocre, as he did not have any of the charisma or facial humor of the original.
"This was borderline fraud…If you are a big TapeFace fan like we are, stay home and watch the AGT videos on YouTube. The Harrah's show is a disappointment and a fraud. Very sad!"
Chortle report Tape Face's US publicist, Shannon Bentham of Shiny Apple Public Relations, responded saying: "Ideas and concepts can last a lot longer than people. Tape Face is a concept based on spreading joy and happiness. We want the Tape Face experience to exist loudly around the world. The character is played by different performers, comparable to other productions such Blue Man Group."
Speaking to Chortle, Wills conceded more could be done to alert fans they could be seeing a different performer and explained plans were in the works to introduce a third Tape Face.
"We will absolutely be doing more" he said. "And one of the reasons why I think there's going to be even more clarity is that, because of the demands of the show, we've started thinking about adding a third Tape Face. That will provide more clarity in the direction we want to be going."
Wills went on to add that he would like to reassure upset fans: "I'd want to talk to them after the show because most of the people who have seen the show are still entertained. People aren't walking out. People are standing up at the end and giving an ovation. Social media makes it seem as if everyone is storming out. In reality, we're doing shows to 180 people, six nights a week in Vegas, and the audiences are happy."