Terry Fator has a very unique story. Of course, the same can be said about any ventriloquist who has made a success of their act, but he has been praised by Simon Cowell as “one of the best entertainers in the world.”
Not a bad seal of approval for a young ventriloquist from Dallas, Texas.
“I was one of these kids who never got the kind of encouragement I needed from my father,” Fator says. “My mom was great, my mom was super encouraging and she did everything she could to help but, my dad just never ever, appreciated my talent, it was kind of difficult to get him to say he was proud of me.
“When I went on Oprah’s show, the theme of the show was ‘Simon Cowell picks his top two entertainers in the world’ and I was one of the two. That was such an amazingly cathartic experience because, it was really then that I was able to let go of feeling the need to have my dad tell me he was proud of me. I thought, ‘if Simon Cowell says I’m one of the top two entertainers in the world then I guess my dad doesn’t know what he’s talking about.’”
Fator’s father certainly was wrong about his son, who would go on to win the prestigous “America’s Got Talent” crown.
“That was an amazing experience,” Fator said. “I did NOT expect to win. Amazingly, when I talk to people, I did meet and greets in Las Vegas after the show, it’s so incredible because one person after another told me, ‘I knew you were going to win from the first time I saw you on the show.’ It just amazes me because I was completely clueless, I just did not think I was going to win the show, no one was more surprised than I was.”
Terry Fator developed an interest in comedy and ventriloquism at an early age, and picked it up right away.
“I was 10 when I became a ventriloquist, and it was really something that just came very natural to me,” Fator says. “I got a book, and it was just something that I was really able to pick up. It was something that I really had a passion for from the very beginning. I always thought, you know ‘I want to be a professional ventriloquist.’ I used to dream about playing clubs and cruise ships, and things like that, so it was always kind of a passion for me.”
Terry Fator has performed in all 50 states, and has provided music and laughs for thousands and thousands of people. He is highly regarded as one of the best ventriloquists in the world, but that wasn’t always the case.
“I never played a comedy club before I did ‘America’s Got Talent,’ they never would have me,” Fator said. “People have such a negative view of ventriloquists, that’s why I didn’t think I would win ‘America’s Got Talent.’ I had been trying to get on cruise ships, and comedy clubs.
“My start was just doing birthday parties and little things, and then I graduated to doing bars and clubs. I had a band and we would perform, and then I would pull out a character and have the character sing a song. Then I went solo as a ventriloquist and I started playing elementary schools; occasionally I would do a junior high or a high school, but I would also play fairs, festivals around the country.”
Obviously, you don’t achieve the type of success Terry Fator has by just picking up a puppet and singing a song. Fator describes the time and preparation that goes into performing all over the country.
“A lot,” Fator says. “There has been, tens of thousands of hours of practice, rehearsals. I always compare it to an assembly line. We all remember (well at least some of us who are old enough) remember the ‘I Love Lucy’ episode where Lucille Ball was on the chocolate line and she has to start shoving the chocolates in her mouth, well that’s the way anything feels when you’re first starting it, it feels clunky, it does’t feel natural. But a person who goes to work at an assembly line, they might be slow, and missing it, but when they do it for 10, 20 years, they can literally do it in their sleep and that’s kind of how it is with me now, I put all of these tens of thousands of hours of work in when I was young, and now I can pick up a puppet and immediately make it come to life.”
Terry Fator will return to Myrtle Beach this Saturday, Feb. 28 and Sunday, Mar. 1 at 7 pm at the Alabama Theatre. No stranger to the Grand Strand, Terry knows why Myrtle Beach is so popular.
“It’s a great place, it’s so cool, I love it,” Fator says. “I love driving down the strip there and seeing all the cool stuff and all the different theaters. It’s going to be a blast and I’m so excited to come back to Myrtle Beach, it’s one of my top five places I play. I came couple of times after ‘America’s Got Talent,’ and I’m thrilled to be coming back.
“It’s the sense of…that it’s the happening place,” Fator continues. “I love the lights. Here I am from Las Vegas, talking about the lights. It’s just a great place. You go into Myrtle Beach and you just feel like, man this is a happening town, this is a cool place. I can see why people flock there, because it’s just one of those places that has a great vibe to it. I get the same feeling when I go into Branson [Missouri]. It’s there for entertainment, and to make people happy, and feel good, and I think that’s why I love Myrtle Beach.”
As for his upcoming show at the Alabama Theatre, Fator knows kids and adults alike will love what he brings to the stage.
“I’ve never been a children’s entertainer. And that doesn’t mean I’m not clean, my show is very clean,” Fator says. “Even in Vegas parents bring their children and it’s appropriate for kids, it’s just written for the adult intellect. Kids are going to love the puppets but they’ll never appreciate the impressions and the humor the way the adults will. I try to write very sophisticated, fun material. I do impressions of everyone from Garth Brooks to Taylor Swift, it’s just a fun, fun show.”
Don’t miss out on this amazing show on Saturday, Feb. 28 and Sunday, Mar. 1 at 7 pm at The Alabama Theatre. Purchase your tickets here!