Denise Truscello / WireImage / DeniseTruscello.net
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 | 2 a.m.
Thanks to recent headlines, there is a new look, sound and feel to entertainer Terry Fator’s comedy-impressionist residency at the Mirage, which celebrated its fifth anniversary over the weekend.
Backstage afterward, Terry told me: “I’m working with one of Jay Leno’s comedy writers who doesn’t have that late-night television gig anymore. We follow the news, we follow tabloid targets, we follow people’s stupidity, and if it’s funny and doesn’t hurt anybody, we’ll write jokes and one-liners to add to the show.
“We’re now changing it almost nightly so that everything stays current and topical.”
My interview with Terry, in which he talks about his Strip success and future plans, was posted on Feb. 27.
It was a hysterical routine with material involving Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscars and Miley Cyrus’ concert at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Britney Spears and especially David Hasselhoff are humorous targets.
Much of that is built on the storyline of Winston the Impersonating Turtle quitting at the start of the show for a new career in Hollywood. By the end of the show, to nobody’s surprise, he has returned to the Strip after being disillusioned with Tinseltown.
Fan-favorite ventriloquist dolls are present and accounted for: Vicki the Cougar, Elvis impersonator Maynard Tompkins, soul singer Julius, crash-test dummy Wrex, country singer Walter T. Airedale and lazy neighbor Duggie Scott Walker, who is overly thrilled that legal marijuana might be en route to Nevada. The topic of Colorado legalizing marijuana doubled the laugh factor.
Terry’s ventriloquist demonstration with an audience volunteer now includes his Lady Gaga impersonation, and the one I watched was priceless. The audience was nearly doubled over from laughter. The entire evening was one of nonstop laughs.
His wife Taylor Makakoa, who serves as his onstage assistant, looks more stunning than ever and appears more often in the comedy skits making a perfect balance — and foil. It’s great that we get to hear Terry sing in his own voice with three special songs he’s written.
Terry has found the perfect fusion of comedy and song, and it’s still a mystery how he manages to impersonate dozens of voices all uncannily in back-and-forth conversations and rat-a-tat tat songs without his lips moving.
Backstage, he told me: “It’s all about humidifiers. My house is filled with them so that I never lose my voice or suffer from Vegas throat. If I go down, 10 other characters are silenced, too!”
I don’t know how he’s able to keep his voice so distinctly separate from the lifelike talking dolls in their voices and then go directly into a singing impersonation. Those are fast back-and-forth conversations with Terry not missing a beat, or a voice, once in the confusion and comedy.
To celebrate the fifth anniversary, and now the onward march with another five-year deal, Terry built a videomontage of celebrities congratulating him on the milestone. There were cheers for all the greeters, but when CNN host Piers Morgan appeared, there were hisses and boos. Other stars included Ray Romano, Martin Short, Penn & Teller, Jerry Springer, Drew and Jonathan Scott, Boyz II Men and cast members of “Absinthe,” “Rock of Ages” and “Jersey Boys.”
Terry threw a party after his show for guests including Fred Willard, Marty Allen, George Wallace, Pia Zadora, Mac King, cast members from Chippendales, “Pawn Stars” favorite Rick Harrison, Ricardo Laguna, Murray Sawchuck and veteran ventriloquist Willie Tyler. Also there: Trevor Scherrer, Mirage president, and Franz Kallao, vice president of hotel operations, who congratulated Terry on the extended deal.
Our thanks to Denise Truscello of WireImage for her fifth-anniversary photo gallery.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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