Acclaimed Kiwi comic Tape Face is returning home to give audiences the silent treatment at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival.
The Las Vegas-based mime artist will make Comedy Gala appearances in Auckland on April 30 and Wellington on May 3, and perform his new solo show at the Comedy Festival from April 30 – May 24.
“I am beyond excited to be coming home to do some shows,” Tape Face, aka Sam Wills, tells TimeOut from his home in Sin City, Nevada.
“I was last there two years ago for the busking festival down in Christchurch but I haven’t performed at the New Zealand Comedy Festival for several years.”
Tape Face is among the major draws for the 28th annual Comedy Festival, alongside British comedian and star of The Chase Paul Sinha, compatriot Josie Long, American funny man Tracy Morgan, and Australian television regular Felicity Ward.
The 2005 Billy T award winner is eager to road-test his new gags and says Kiwi audiences will provide a good gauge as to whether his fresh material will hit the mark elsewhere.
“The new show has evolved, it’s a bit darker in places, it’s a bit more long-form comedy,” he explains.
“I’m definitely still sticking to the same format so it’s very audience interactive but I’m not about humiliating people or making fools of anyone.
“I rely on the audience for the show so I make sure that everyone who is on stage is treated like a star, so when they leave they get a huge round of applause.
“New Zealand audiences are a very good judge of comedy so if I can make them laugh it tends to work well elsewhere in the world. I can’t wait.”Wills’ career has boomed around the world since he starred as a finalist in the 2016 season of America’s Got Talent.
That exposure helped him win a six-nights-a-week residency at Harrah’s Casino where for the past two years he has occupied the House of Tape.
“Going on America’s Got Talent was one of the definite tipping points in my career.
“It’s very hard to crack the American circuit and comedy scene. So to go on the show and be seen by millions of people and have them like the show, it made it very easy for me to jump into the comedy scene over here.”