Clanger interview: Tape Face

Stand-up comedy with no talking, drama with no acting and punch lines with no words.

Four years ago, the Boy with Tape on his Face (aka Sam Willis), performed at Bedford School Theatre.  Theatre Manger, James Pharaoh, always gives us his top tips, and in 2012, he was singing Tape Face’s praises. Of course we arranged an interview and went to see the show. As usual, James’ recommendation was spot on, the show was amazing and we’ve been following Tape Face’s progress ever since.

So imagine our surprise when he popped up on our Facebook feed, as a finalist on this year’s America’s Got Talent.

Fresh from his success in the US, Sam is performing at the Stables MK on 8th November and we chatted to him about the tour, the Tape Face evolution and world domination…

So, what made you apply for America’s Got Talent?

I wanted to ‘break’ the US, but knew that it had taken over six years to establish myself in the UK, so I was looking at a decade of touring to become known in America.  I realised that I could get immediate exposure through a show like America’s Got Talent, so decided to make sure I got out of it what I wanted.  I made it into the top ten and achieved global recognition!  The ‘oven gloves’ clip from the show has received 45 million views and I’ve gained 60,000 twitter followers.

Did you ever appear as ‘Sam’?

I never spoke on the show; I was just Tape Face.  When I’ve got the tape on I can be pretty naughty and get away with anything.  I knew the host of the show found it hard to communicate with me, so I made it as difficult as possible!  Despite not coming in the top three, I was selected to appear at the America’s Got Talent Vegas shows, which just goes to show that the underdog can still get the prize.

What can the Stables’ audience expect from your show?

The show we’re touring is a ‘best of’, but it’s got more of a storyline, a structure and we’ve created a more theatrical setting.  I’ve gone from a one-man-band, packing the props into the back of my car after a show, to travelling with trucks, sets and around two tonnes of gear. It’s now much more visual and looks ‘other worldly’ – and it’s much more enjoyable for me to perform.

How have you evolved the show?

I began working with a director and then collaborated with the production company Kilimanjaro Live and Gag Reflex who have realised my ideas and brought them to life. Our lighting designer, Matt Brittan has managed to nail so many subtle moments that the show is a magical experience.

It sounds beautiful. We hope we can get hold of some tickets….

Thank you!

Tuesday 8th November at The Stables MK, Wavendon, Milton Keynes, MK17 8LU

Box Office – 01908 280800 (limited tickets still available at time of going to press)

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