'Terry Fator: Live from Las Vegas'
(Terry Fator / DVD / NR / 2009 / Image Entertainment)
Overview: Experience why America has fallen in love with Terry Fator's irresistible combination of humor and music and his hilarious cast of characters! The million-dollar winner of "America's Got Talent" and his endearing puppets deliver spot-on performances in the styles of such favorite singers as Louis Armstrong, Roy Orbison, Elvis, Etta James, Brooks & Dunn and many more!
DVD Verdict: If you've caught his stuff on America's Got Talent, then you'll be familiar with several of his puppets and that these puppets do impersonations of famous singers. Okay, the pre-show gimmick is lame (Terry goes looking all over the Mirage casino for his missing puppets). But then Emma Taylor starts off the actual show with an awesome rendition of Etta James's "At Last" (the same song which wowwed the A.G.T. judges in Terry's audition).
Winston the Impersonating Turtle, Terry's second favorite puppet, shows up and, of course, it's not a show without Winston singing "What A Wonderful World" as Kermit the Frog in a duet with Terry who also doubles as Louis Armstrong. But Terry's favorite puppet is actually that there cowboy dummy Walter T. Airdale. One of the best laughs happens when Terry Fator, gigged out as Michael Jackson, does a duet with the less-than-enthused Walter T. Airdale (who uneasily states: "Wait, somethin' - somethin' ain't right up here").
Other puppets are introduced - and Fator lends all of these with their own unique voices - the most outrageous of which is Viccki the Cougar (and I don't mean a cat!). I didn't catch any profanity being dropped in the show, but get yourself ready for some raunchy bits and some serious innuendo. Surprisingly, there's a smattering of shock value injected here and there.
That's another thing I liked about Terry Fator's act, that it has bite and also that the jokes just aren't one-offs. There's an internal consistency to the humor, the gags extending naturally from Terry's ability to set up his puppets' characters and backstories. But, yeah, Terry does push the envelope juuust a tad, with the cougar routine and also when he introduces Julius, the exuberant black puppet. The Michael Jackson bit was taped before Michael's death, and so, to reflect this, there's an appeasing "Please don't hate" sort of note inserted in the DVD case.
And just to prove that he can actually carry a tune without hiding behind a dummy, he sings a few songs, propless. One of these songs happens to be "I Started A Joke," which I really appreciate because that's one of my favorite Bee Gees songs and Terry is perfectly on point with the voice impersonation.
The DVD to TERRY FATOR: LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS comes with two audio commentaries: one with Terry Fator, writer Rick Kerns, and director Mark Goffman; the other with Terry Fator and his puppet voices. Also included is a mini-book reprinting Chapter 1 of Terry's autobiography WHO'S THE DUMMY NOW?
If you like ventriloquist's puppets mimicking folks like Elvis, Roy Orbison, Aaron Neville, Marvin Gaye, Brooks & Dunn, the Bee Gees, and even Kermit the Frog (and the cougar covers the Pussycat Dolls' "Don't Cha")... And if you dig stage assistants who are drop dead smoking hot... If you like being entertained by a remarkable, offbeat, and unique Vegas act (and, sorry, but Jeff Dunham's puppets can't sing or impersonate famous singers)... well, yeah, get your paws on this one. [HB] This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:
• Audio Commentary with Terry, writer Rick Kerns and director Mark Goffman
• Audio commentary: Terry’s puppets take over!
• Chapter 1 from Terry’s autobiography Who’s The Dummy Now?