Comedian Terry Sanders has probably entertained more people in Branson with his comedy and comedic characters, than any other. Over the last 38 years in Branson, he has entertained millions at Silver Dollar City, in various Branson shows, and on national TV. With performing daily at Silver Dollar City and in Classic Country’s Patsy Cline & Friends, he’s not only one of the funniest guys in Branson, he’s one of the busiest.
“Branson – Up Close and Personal” is a service of the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services. It uses a “Question and Answer” format to provide readers with an up close and personal look at a Branson star or personality. We really appreciate Terry Sanders (TS) taking the time to share a little bit about himself so that our readers can get to know him better.
BTC: If you could perform or meet with any entertainer/person (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
TS: Jack Benny, because he represents the vaudevillian era comedians I so admire.
BTC: What is the name of the character(s) you play in you play in Classic Country’s Patsy Cline & Friends
TS: My signature character, “Homer Lee,” a bumbling maintenance man trying to be helpful, but, in his own hilarious way, is not. “Ada May,” the world ugliest hillbilly womn, but with a big heart, “Joan Rivers,” and others.
BTC: Why should someone coming to Branson plan to see Classic Country’s Patsy Cline & Friends?
TS: It’s a proven formula for family fun and entertainment; great music, great comedy, and a live band. They’ll have a ball.
BTC: What do you think that kids ages 8-15 will like most about the Classic Country’s Patsy Cline & Friends??
TS: Possibly, right off the bat, my antics. That gets their attention, but suddenly when they hear C. J. Newsom sings and she interacts with them, they love it. She’s a great singer and very funny.
BTC: What do you like most about being the comedian in the Classic Country’s Patsy Cline & Friends??
TS: The interaction with the audience and their instantaneous response. It’s just a joy!
BTC: Whether you’re in it or not what’s your favorite part of the show?
TS: Experiencing the genuine enthusiasm of the entire cast and crew to give our audience an outstanding and memorable entertainment experience.
BTC: What’s your favorite musical number in the show and why?
TS: It’s got to be “Crazy.” It was one of Patsy Cline’s signature hits and C. J. does such an awesome job on it.
BTC: Of all the comedy, you do in the show, which routine is your favorite and why?
TS: Joan Rivers because of the feedback we get. They are amazed saying, “You look just like her, you sound just like her, and I can’t believe that you’re a guy dressed as a woman.” It throws them for a loop.
BTC: Where were you born?
TS: Mountain Grove, Missouri.
TS: April 18, 1959.
BTC: Was there something special about your childhood that you think our readers would be interested in knowing about?
TS: I came from abject poverty. My father died four days before my third birthday and we had very little. I learned life lessons early on, but to also have a sense of humor, laugh, and make others laugh.
BTC: When did you realize that you wanted to be a comedian?
TS: At birth.
BTC: What was it about your birth that caused that realization?
TS: The doctor looked at me and laughed. I knew then I could make people laugh. [Said with a big ole grin on his face.]
BTC: When and where did you first perform as a comedian
TS: When I performed as a relief character in a takeoff of Romeo and Juliet in Junior High.
BTC: Where and when did you first perform professionally?
TS: In 1980 at Silver Dollar City where I am still performing.
BTC: What character(s) do you perform at Silver Dollar City?
TS: I play four different characters each day. I start off playing the “Warden;” then “Colonel Paisley Parnell,” the banker; “Mr. M. Balmer,” the undertaker;” and, at the end of the day, “Doc,” the inventor of the Wild Fire Roller Coaster.
BTC: When did you appear on the national TV show “Hee Haw?”
TS: We filmed 13 episodes in October of 1989. It was kind of funny. People thought that I would have to move to Nashville because the show was on every week. Even when I told them I wouldn’t have to because it was filmed in advance some still didn’t get it.
BTC: What are two or three of your favorite career highlights?
TS: The Hee Haw bit. It was my first my first union scale job and gave me a chance to work with people I had admired all my life such as Roy Clark, Minnie Pearl, Grandpa Jones, and others. Another was in the movie “Foxfire Light,” with Leslie Nielsen and Tippi Hedren. I got to play a major scene with Tippi.
BTC: In your career, of all the performances you have made and you have been in, no matter how big or small, which one personally meant the most to you and why?
TS: It would have been opening night in 1991. My mother, who was dying of Cancer at the time, was in the audience. I really felt the pressure to make her proud because I knew that our time together was short.
BTC: When was the first time you came to Branson?
TS: In 1965. My Grandpa Lee brought us here. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a performer in Branson.
BTC: What was your first impression of “Branson?”
TS: I fell in love with Silver Dollar City. [Keep in mind, there was no Branson Strip. i.e. The Presleys didn’t build the first theatre on the Highway 76 until June 30, 1967. It was decades after that before it became known as the Branson Strip.]
BTC: What’s your favorite thing to do in Branson when you are not performing?
TS: Spend quality time with my family.
BTC: Do you have a “little known” fact about yourself that you think the audience might be interested in?
TS: I collect autographs of entertainers, specializing in comedy. My favorite is one Joan Rivers signed for me in person when we spent some time together. It says, “Dear Terry, I wish I had your legs. Love Joan Rivers.”
BTC: Are you married?
TS: Sure am, to the love of my life Dede. We have two sons Austin, 26 and Evan, 21.
BTC: Anything else you would like our readers to know?
TS: I’m thrilled and grateful that people still remember me after 38 years of being in Branson.
For additional information or tickets for the Classic Country’s Patsy Cline & Friends, or any of Branson’s shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550, or by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.