My Las Vegas
[Superstar Ventriloquist Las Vegas Strip Headliner]
Terry Fator Before he won "America's Got Talent," Fator was working fairs and elementary schools. This year, he celebrates his sixth year on the Las Vegas Strip.
Terry Fator became a household name in 2007 as the winner of “America’s Got Talent” for his unique blend of ventriloquism, singing, comedy and celebrity impressions. This year, Fator celebrates his sixth anniversary at the Mirage, where he brings characters such as Winston the Impersonating Turtle, Vikki the Cougar, country legend Walter T. Airdale and many others to life. Last month, he received a Concierge Choice Award for Best Las Vegas Comedy Show from the Southern Nevada Hotel Concierge Association.
Have you been interested in performing since childhood?
Oh yeah, from as far back as I can remember. One of my very first memories is singing a song in front of a bunch of people and having them cheer—I really liked that feeling!
Once you started doing ventriloquism, what was the first impression you did?
Michael Jackson. I used to love watching Michael Jackson with the Jackson 5 on different variety shows; one of the first songs I ever did with a puppet was "ABC." I had a lion puppet and I named it Jackal Mikeson. It wasn’t a jackal, but to a 10-yearold, that was pretty clever. (Laughs)
Which character in your show has been with you the longest?
Walter T. Airdale, he’s the country singer—he yodels and sings country music. By the time I turned 18, my mom could see that I wanted to be a professional entertainer, so she bought me my first professional puppet— that’s Walter, he’s still in my act.
Which impression in your current repertoire is the hardest?
Well, I do Taylor Swift now, and that’s pretty hard. (Laughs) Bruno Mars is pretty hard too.
When was the first time you came to visit Las Vegas?
I must have been 21 or 22. I had wanted to headline in Vegas since I was 14 or 15 years old, because to me, it meant you were a top entertainer. Growing up watching TV in the ‘70s, I always saw marquees that said Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley, in Las Vegas.
Were there any entertainers here who inspired you? Danny Gans. I had been doing impressions and ventriloquism
my whole life, but it had never actually hit me that it might be amazing and remarkable and people might love it if I had puppets do impressions. Watching Danny Gans inspired me to make my entire act about puppets doing impressions. That was in 2005.
What are your favorite things to see and do in Las Vegas?
The two shows that I think everybody should see are Carrot Top and Mac King. Those are my two favorite comedy shows; they’re so unbelievably entertaining. Boyz II Men plays my theater on the weekends and I’ve got to say, that is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen— incredible. There’s beautiful harmonies, comedy—it’s just an amazing show. I love to eat, and T-bones at Red Rock Casino is just one of the best places I’ve ever eaten at. Of course, Sinatra at Wynn is great too. And my favorite place to eat at the Mirage (I probably eat there about 3-4 times a month) is Stack. It’s just one of the best steakhouses you’re ever going to find.
What's your favorite guilty indulgence?
In 2014, I’d rewritten the show so many times, and I was just exhausted, so I took six months and sat in my room all day playing video games.
Fator with Walter T. Airdale
Fator with Winston