26 Aug 2012

Silent comedian wins Edinburgh award

2:40 pm on 26 August 2012

A New Zealand comedian who performs with a strip of duct tape over his mouth, won an award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on Saturday.

Sam Wills of Christchurch took the Foster's panel prize of £5000 for his performances over the past three weeks at the festival.

The Foster's best comedy show award went to Phil Burgers from Los Angeles and Daniel Simonsen of Norway received the best newcomer award.

It's the first time that all three awards went to non-British comedians.

A total of 536 comedy shows at the Fringe were eligible for the prizes.

Wells, 33, has been appearing at the Fringe for the past six years.

"He came as a street performer in 2007 and met his wife (Lili La Scala) who was singing opera on the street as he was trying to put his body through a tennis racket," said producer Nica Burns.

He graduated to indoor performing in 2010, when he was nominated for a best new comedy award.

His act is performed in silence, with a strip of duct tape over his mouth.

"He is an outstanding comedian who proves that punchlines don't need words ... Sam shows us that silence can be hilarious," said Burns.