We first became aware of the Boy with Tape on his Face in February 2010. We were in Adelaide enjoying the sun and catching up with long lost and newly aquainted relatives during the Adelaide Fringe Festival.
Having no time to plough through their fairly hefty programme we decided to ask around. What’s the big show this year? What’s the must have ticket? What should we see before we head back to Edinburgh? Every single time, the respondent was emphatic.
“The Boy with Tape on his Face”.
Difficult to describe without demeaning his talent by implicating him with mimes, clowns and street performers, the truth is this: Tape Face Boy is the perfect amalgam of all three disciplines.
Indeed, in the Bosco Tent within the Garden of Unearthly Delights that evening, we were delighted to witness the bringing together of the very best of these genres into a rock solid fifty-five minute show while also winning favour with the new in-laws by getting them a sneak peek of the next big thing.
The. Next. Big. Thing. Every year at the Edinburgh Fringe this phrase is bandied around like hair colour. Anyone with a 5 star review can be it. The next big discovery. The one to bank on. The person for whom all other successes will be measured against (in that financial year at least).
Remember last year’s next big thing? No, we didn’t think so. But like the gaffer tape across his mouth, this time it stuck. And good god is it sticky.
Since leaving the Boy with Tape on his Face finishing off his Adelaide run amid a bidding war from Edinburgh’s Big 4 and a barrage of incredible reviews his star has done nothing but rise.
He’s toured the world, enjoyed two massive hit shows in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, stole the shows at last year’s Royal Variety Performance and BBC Comedy Prom while bagging himself a BBC3 Pilot as part of the Comedy Kitchen platform, and like Gaga has her Little Monsters and Beiber has Beliebers, the Boy has a growing army of Silent Ones.
And all without uttering a single word.
Last year we were delighted that he agreed to perform as part of the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and once more, we are delighted that on the evening of the 13th August, he’ll be coming off the Pleasance stage, piling into a taxi and taking on the closing slot of our show.
For those of you that seen the show last year, you’ll be aware that there is a very real chance that at this point in the evening you may well end up being ‘the show’. But how does he charm punters onto his stage so easily? Here he explains to Time Out London:
‘I treat them a wee bit like dolls,’ he says, audience participation at a Tape Face gig is never humiliating. ‘If there’s too much responsibility on an audience member there’s too much pressure for them to fail whereas if you give them the tiniest amount of responsibility, the moment they achieve it and the audience goes crazy, they feel like a star.’ Whether they’re forming a makeshift Jackson 5 or being transformed into a human puppet, this gentle approach comes from years of seeing ‘audience members treated badly’, he says. ‘I want them leave the stage a hero.’
Preparation is currently underway for his brand new show ‘More Tape’ at the Pleasance Courtyard and we were lucky enough to steal him away to answer a few very important questions
What is your actual name?
The Boy with Tape on His Face
And exactly how old are you?
Not sure. Still Boy not Tape Man.
How would you describe your job?
Stand up comedian who doesn’t talk
And what is your involvement going to be at The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support?
I will be performing comedy antics at the event
We’re sure you get asked this all the time but who is your favourite comedy hero, act or actor?
Everybody thinks I should like Charlie Chaplin but I prefer Buster Keaton
Well, the Guardian did refer to you as a latterday Buster Keaton. What’s your favourite comedy moment from the past few years?
I once saw a magician get locked into a mailbag and not get out. Longest yet funniest fifteen minutes of my life.
What in your everyday life always makes you laugh?
Being the owner of two bald cats and a dachshund
And who is your secret celebrity crush?
The guy from the Go Compare commercials, I would crush him with a shipping container and be given a medal.
In five words, why should people come to (or support) The Big Comedy Gala?
Laughter is the best medicine for everything in Life.
Not five, but a perfect summary of why the Big C exists.
The Big Comedy Gala is in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. It takes place on Monday 13 August 2012 at 21:30 (2hrs), and tickets are £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage).
You can book tickets now by calling 0844 847 1639 or buying online at venue150.com.
You can also buy tickets for The Boy with Tape on his Face: More Tape here: