Howie Mandel Interview

The one and only Howie Mandel, joining us on the J.O.B.  Howie, thanks for hanging out.

Howie Mandel:      Thanks for having me.

LO:                  You got your start in Hollywood as a stand up comedian and from time to time you hear comedians say, you know, they need to get back on the stage.  Through all that you’ve done, what’s it like for you to go back on stage?

Howie Mandel:          I’ve never actually left the stage.  I do 150 concerts a year at least, you know, not to mention the charities and the corporate dates.  I. . .I’m, I’m on the road all the time.  I’ll never leave the stage.  You’ll never hear me say I got to get back to the stage because I’m always. . .I’m always on it.  I do about three. . .Two, three times a week, I have concerts.

LO:                  Is it, sort of a release for you it. . .or just part of who you are?

Howie Mandel:                 Both.  You know, it’s, it’s the one thing that I do that has no boundaries, no marks to hit, no lines to recite and I can do anything, my heart desires, just like a primal scream at the end of the day.  It’s just my fun and it fulfills every. . .also creatively.  I’m all over the country, you know, kind of, interacting with people and these are the people that I’m trying to entertain, so it’s, it’s a good. . .It’s a good sense for me. . .It’s good. . .It keeps me, you know, kind of aware of what’s going on and how people are reacting, and who they are.

LO:                  You’ve also acted, hosted game shows, done animated kids’ shows, worked on America’s Got Talent.  Do you just sort of think of yourself as a. . .an entertainer in all this stuff?

Howie Mandel:                 I never even think of myself.  I don’t know.  You know, as each opportunity, you know, makes itself available, I kind of just step through that door without knowing what the ramifications are.  You know, I didn’t set out to even be a comedian at the beginning, when I became a comedian, I didn’t set out to be an actor, I didn’t set out to be a game show host or a Saturday morning cartoon or even a producer, like I’m doing now for Mobbed, and, you know, these opportunities present themselves and I just do them and they’re fun.  You know, I have an ADHD kind of personality where I like doing different things all the time and it keeps each of them fun and fresh for me.

LO:                  Then why, why host a game show?  I mean, there’s all sorts of challenges we have in life, but why when someone says hey, Howie, let’s do Deal or No Deal, why do you take that job?

Howie Mandel:                 I didn’t.  I turned it down three times and then my wife said you’re an idiot, take the deal.

LO:                  I mean, lit. . .Just paycheck wise or, or is there some creative. . .

Howie Mandel:                 No, no, no.  She saw the good in it.  I did not even understand why it. . .I didn’t understand how it was a show.  It made no sense to me that we were going to spend an hour opening up cases and making offers.  I didn’t see the entertainment value in it.  She did.  She had seen the foreign. . ..all the foreign copies of it.  It. . .You know, it played. . .America was the last place to run the show.  The show had been running all over the world. So she had seen tapes from other countries and she said you’d be good at it and do it.  And, at that time, no other comedian was doing, game shows, so I just thought it would be, the coffin in the. . .in the. . .the last nail in the coffin of my career.

LO:                  [LAUGHS] Uh, because you’ve done it all and, specifically, you’re on stage, as you mentioned, was it hard to judge people on America’s Got Talent because you, you see people putting their, their creative effort on the line?

Howie Mandel:                 You know, on a personal level, that’s tough, you know, to be totally honest. But I think I have something to offer in the fact that I’ve been in this business for 30 years.  I’m the one on the panel that actually can emphasize, as far as what it’s like to be a performer and to be on that stage.  Most of the stages that we see them in when we go across the country, I’ve actually performed on.  But, again, you don’t want to dash anybody’s hopes and dreams and it’s. . .But I think I, I have an eye for what it takes to at least market yourself or sell yourself.

LO:                  Well, let’s be. . .

Howie Mandel:                 So, you know, I think. . . But it is tough.  It’s not an easy job, but it’s a fun job.  It’s probably the most. . .one of the, the easiest, most fulfilling jobs I’ve had because I. . .You know, I was spending. . .The five years before I joined the show, I spent, you know, on the couch, in my underpants, doing it, watching the show and now they’ve invited me to the. . .to the party and given me pants and a paycheck.

LO:                  [LAUGHS] You’ve got ADHD, you mentioned that. You have Mysophobia, which is a fear of germs. You don’t, notoriously, shake people’s hands and, perhaps most detrimental, you have a star in the Canadian Walk of Fame.  You’ve also been married, as you mentioned, to your high school sweetheart for over 30 years.  You’ve, you’ve got a fascinating life, Howie.

HM:                 I do?

LO:                  I. . .

HM:                 Thank you.

LO:                  I mean tr. . .

HM:                 I think I got a pretty lucky life.

LO:                  But I’m just saying, like, the different aspects.  You know, people talk about your Mysophobia, which is the fear of germs, but you’ve also been married to your, high school sweetheart forever, which is something that’s interesting, you don’t see a lot about in Hollywood.

Howie Mandel:                 Right, but I know she’s clean and I don’t want germs from anybody else.

LO:                  I guess. . .

HM:                 [LAUGHS]

LO:                  I never really thought of it that way.

HM:                 It might be. .  [LAUGHS]

LO:                  Uh, when, uh, when peop. . .

Howie Mandel:                 No, we. . .She’ll tell you the reason it works is because I’m on the road.

LO:                  [LAUGHS]

HM:                 [LAUGHS]

LO:                  When, when people recognize you, what do they mostly associate you with?  What do they say oh, I remember you from. . .whatever?

Howie Mandel: Well, it’s all different.  Right now I think the biggest thing is Deal or No Deal.  You know, that was the one that crossed every. . .You know, before Deal or No Deal there was people that knew me from Bobby’s World, people that knew me from St. Elsewhere, people that knew me from stand up, but now. . .It was. . .the widest swath of people that I’ve ever, you know, had see one thing that I do is probably Deal or No Deal.

LO:                  Okay and they ask for a briefcase or what do they do?  Are they nice?

Howie Mandel:                 They say, “Deal or no deal?”

LO:                  [LAUGHS]

Howie Mandel:                 I hear that a thousand times a day and it doesn’t bother me at all and I. . .I’d be happy to hear it for the, the rest of my life.

LO:                  Best of luck to Howie Mandel.

Howie Mandel:                 Thanks for having me.