By Jack Houston
Terry Fator makes plenty of jokes during his show at The Mirage, but it’s his puppets who get the last laugh. In his own voice, the ventriloquist comes off as the genial Texas boy he is, but in the voice of his puppets, Fator gets the chance to be a little naughtier.
“I’ve had my face between more air bags than Hugh Hefner,” says Wrex, a crash test dummy Fator debuted in 2010, in between digs at the Kardashians and Charlie Sheen. But it’s all a means to an end. With the punchlines out of the way, Fator navigates Wrex through a medley of car songs that begins with “Driving My Life Away” and culminates with Ides of March’s one-hit wonder “Vehicle.” Then Wrex’s eye pops out, Fator calls for a medic, and his assistant (and real-life wife) Taylor Makakoa appears in a nurse’s outfit to carry Wrex offstage.
Since winning season two of America’s Got Talent, Fator has settled in quite nicely to life in Las Vegas, and his puppets have become as iconic as Siegfried & Roy’s tigers. There’s Winston the Impersonating Turtle, country crooner Walter T. Airdale, lounge-singing Monty Carlo, annoying neighbor Duggie, Nat King Cole look-alike Julius, soulful Emma Taylor, Vikki the Cougar and Elvis impersonator Maynard Thompkins.