All it took was a reality show to turn ventriloquist Terry Fator from a struggling entertainer to having his own theater in Las Vegas.
Fator, who won season two of “America’s Got Talent,” will be performing at Pala Casino Friday, June 1 at 8 p.m.
The ventriloquist got a lot of practice on the show performing in front of millions of people. but, he made it seem easier than it was for him.
“I expected to get kicked off each week,” he said. “The entire process was surreal.”
Fator said he still watches the show that made him famous and loved by millions.
”I watch it all the time,” he said. “So far I like Howard (Stern) as a judge.”
While he does enjoy what Stern brings to the show, Fator is sure about what would have happened if he tried out this season.
”If I was on now, I’m 100 percent sure that Howard and Howie wouldn’t put me through,” he said.
Going from obscurity to a major success almost overnight would be more than some people could handle, but Fator has a great support system in place.
“Being married keeps my head on straight,” he said. “My wife is not impressed by this. Fame is an illusion and she keeps my feet grounded.”
Fator said that ventriloquism has lulls in popularity over the years. He said a lot of people think of ventriloquists as mostly silly, corny and mainly for children. but, he said the recent upsurge in popularity due to his act and comedian Jeff Dunham is due to both men reinventing what people think of ventriloquists.
While Dunham uses puppets to tell his unique brand of humor, Fator uses his as more of a series of variety acts.
“I’m like a late night talk show host who keeps introducing musical acts,” he said.
When it comes to performing favorites, Fator said he loves doing Elvis Presley’s “Love me Tender” and Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderul World.”
“I always end my show with it,” he said.
Fator has millions of fans who watch him on tour and at his Las Vegas theater at the Mirage Hotel, but his puppets have fans of their own. Fator said he gets a lot of people who want to talk to him about Duggie Scott Walker and Vikki the Cougar.
“Vikki has had tons of plastic surgery,” he said. “We’ll, she is made of plastic after all.”
But, it’s his creation from “America’s Got Talent” that gets talked about the most.
“Winston the Impersonating Turtle,” he said. “Far and away, the most.” Fator said he wanted to create a character inspired by Kermit the Frog, but he wasn’t allowed to do a direct impression of Kermit. So Winston was born.
Read Timothy Guy’s Movies and TV blog at blog.pe.com/tim-guy and follow iGuide on Twitter: @PEcom_iGuide
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Jun1
WHERE: Pala Casino, 11154 Highway 76., Pala
ADMISSION: $50-$70 (plus fees)