This is Terry’s second DVD, following “Live from Las Vegas.” Terry said he’s proud of the first one, but because it came right after his jump to success because of America’s Got Talent, he was “surrounded by people who pushed me and prodded me and took over—they really kind of took over my life and my show.” He didn’t feel he was ready for the first DVD, but they kept telling him it had to be right then, so while he’s proud of it, in the end, he doesn’t feel like it’s entirely his. Terry took complete control of his career shortly after, and “this DVD was a result of that. This one’s mine, and I’m so proud of it. It was three years in the making. I worked so hard and honed all of the routines and tried to get everything as perfect as I could. That’s what I’m just so excited about…looking at this DVD and saying ‘This is mine. This is my creation from the ground up.’”
Terry has a pretty big group of characters now. When asked who his favorite to play is, Terry said he had two favorites. His sentimental favorite, “my cowboy puppet Walter because he was my first professional puppet. My mother gave him to me on my eighteenth birthday. He’s been with me my entire professional career.” As for his favorite, it has to be “Winston the impersonating turtle. He’s the guy that did it all for me. If it was not for Winston… I truly believe he won America’s Got Talent for me.” As to who was the hardest character to play, Terry said there were none that were really that hard to do. “When you spend so much time and energy learning a craft, it kind of becomes second nature,” although he said there are some that are more difficult to voice. “The hardest voices I do are the ones where I have to do a gruff voice, like Louis Armstrong, or a really high voice, like Adele.”
Jump with me to read more, plus to see an exclusive clip of Terry and Winston!
When asked if he’s constantly thinking of new characters or if they randomly pop into his head, Terry said firmly that he was constantly thinking of new characters, but they do randomly pop into his head. “I’m constantly thinking of new ideas.” He is constantly adapting his routine to fit with the news as it develops, such as Walter twerking with Miley Cyrus. In fact, the morning that Justin Bieber’s plane got stopped and they smelled marijuana, Terry said he emailed his crew and said they needed a picture of Walter in a smoky cockpit because he’d come up with the idea for the scandal that Walter flew Justin Bieber to the Super Bowl. “It’s just something you’re constantly doing, you’re constantly thinking about.”
Terry performs a lot in Vegas, but he said he tours all the time. He performs four nights a week in Vegas, but then normally takes one or two of the remaining three nights to tour. “We just hit Palm Springs. Last month, we did New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We did Detroit a couple of months ago.” Also, he was clear to point out that it’s a completely different show from the Mirage in Vegas. “The tours mainly come on the weekends usually, or like I’ll have a week off, and instead of [taking] off, I’ll go and perform at different places.”
It’s been a few years since Terry’s time on America’s Got Talent, and obviously the show helped launch his career. When asked what advice he has for people who want to try out for the show but are afraid to, Terry said, “Put your best foot forward. My advice is: Don’t save the best for last because there may not be a last. Today may be your last. You have to always bring your A-game. When you’re on a competition show like that, you have got to bring the best you have the first time,” and then you have to try to top it every time after.
In all his spare time, Terry does find time for a little bit of TV. “My TV is on all the time. I watch the news. My wife and I just started getting into these HGTV programs with the Property Brothers. We love to watch Frasier and Everybody Loves Raymond. Those are our two favorites. And every night, we usually watch one episode of the original Twilight Zone, and then we watch either a Frasier or Everybody Loves Raymond to help us go to bed. But I’ve got the TV on all the time because I have ADD, and for some reason, the distraction helps me to make me focus, so I have it on just lightly in the background.”
For his favorite genre of music, Terry said he really likes every style of music, including country—in fact, he has a new CD that recently came out, called It Starts Tonight, which is available on iTunes & Amazon. He also loves 80s music. “Pretty much anything 80s, I love, which is hilarious, because my wife is way younger than me, and she hates 80s music.”
When I asked him, aside from his own show, what his favorite part of Vegas was, I expected him to name another show—and he did, but not at first—or one of great restaurants, but Terry said, “A lot of people don’t realize just how amazing Vegas is and how beautiful Vegas is. There are mountains surrounding it, there are lakes… There is so much to do here in Vegas. People have no idea how beautiful it is. You don’t have to come here just to gamble. And of course, there so many good shows. My favorite show in town is Carrot Top. We’ve seen him five or six times, and anytime friends or relatives come to town, we always say ‘Go see Carrot Top.’ He’s amazing. He’s just great.”
Terry was so much fun to speak to, and if you haven’t seen his new DVD, “Terry Fator Live in Concert,” I urge you to do so. It’s out now and well worth the watch! Be sure to catch up with Terry on Twitter @terryfator and on his website: terryfator.com.