Comedian Howie Mandel


This is kick ass news. I'm ben mathis in the casinos. They have the deal or no deal. Slot machines and i was in another casino. Not this casino. A couple of weeks back this a true story talk about awkward. My wife is with me and we have another couple couple. Louis and kathy and lewis. Kathy go down to the casino. My wife calls me and a couple of minutes in my room and says kathy just hit the jackpot on the deal or no deal machine. She just one ten thousand dollars and this will change her life. she's crying. I could hear the screaming. She says howie. You've got gotta come down and see this. I put my coat run out of the room. I run down the hall down the elevator across the casino. I see the lights going on. The i go there kathy is crying. They're peeling off hundred dollar bills and giving you're giving ten thousand dollars. I give her a big hug and everything and they see all of these lights around me. And i look and people are taking pictures. And they're holding up their cell phone. 'cause i just realized they don't know that this is my friend. They think that if you hit the jackpot on the deal or no deal i show. I'm ben mathis. Welcome to kick ass news. That was a clip from howie. Mandel hour long comedy. Special howie mandel presents. Howie mandel at the howie. Mandel comedy club which airs this friday at ten eastern on showtime. It's as i stand up special in over twenty years and you might think that he's just been too busy between hosting deal or no deal. And judging america's got talent but today says that comedy is still as i love and even now he still manages to do up to two hundred comedy shows a year. He talks about his childhood growing up in toronto. And how the show candid camera. Inspired him to pull an elaborate prank. That got him expelled from high school. He shares a winging. It is first time. Onstage turned into his signature improvisational style. Why he still thrive on audience interaction and how he's grown to love doing corporate gigs simply for the challenge of it he recalls his very first time on the johnny carson show on the. Hbo young comedians special changed his life and the time when the comic with no discernible acting experience auditioned for a sitcom and ended up the star of the serious tv medical drama saint elsewhere he reveals why he originally turned down the offer to host deal or no deal and the anxiety he gets whenever he sees contestants making bad decisions on the show he opens up about his struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder and how he went from fearing that it might be a career killer to using his fame to raise awareness of mental health. Issues plus howie. Mandel gives the secret to winning the golden buzzer on. America's got talent coming up in just a moment both comedian actor and all around showman. Howie mandel as the host of the game. Show deal or no deal and is one of the judges of the hip variety show. America's got talent. now he's returning to his comedy roots for his first solo standup special in twenty years. It's called mandel presents. Howie mandel at the howie. Mandel comedy club which premieres friday january eighteenth at ten pm. Eastern on showtime howie mandel. Thanks for sitting down with me. You my pleasure. My i was sitting down. I don't know if it's with you you're sitting down. We i feel like i'm sitting down by myself but it's good that we're i didn't realize it'd be galdino. New know noble. All i'm saying is because we're in a building and there's other people sitting so i didn't say we're all sitting down together. Thank you for sitting some weird metaphysical way or something. I have no idea. But i'm thrilled to be here. And i'm thrilled to be part of this. Well thank you now twenty years since your last standup special. Why the long hiatus just two months. I didn't want to no no. You know the truth is that i have never stopped doing stand up and i've been doing like over a hundred. Livestock updates a year. Regardless of what i do. And it's my primal scream at the end of the day whether you see me on a gt or deal or no deal. And the fact that. I haven't been doing stand up anywhere on television. I think there's a whole almost a whole generation been know me as a comic and that is something that i never stopped doing. Always enjoyed doing. It is my breath of fresh air at the end of the day. It's the only thing that i do. That gets a an immediate response. There's no editing no marks to hit no commercials to throw two no broadcasting. It also keeps me real. Because it's the only thing that i do. That keeps me out of la and new york. And i get the stand in front of real people in somebody who is a broadcaster on television. I kind of have a sense. Of what real people. How they think what they relate to what they react to saul never stopped doing that. That being said the people that know me from deal or no deal or no me. From america's got talent. I which are great family viewing. I don't think what. I do on showtime on my special is great for the whole family and the opening the special. You actually say that you have so many anxiety over the fact that you might say something in the moment that might impact all the other stuff that you're doing like you said these families shows deal or no deal in that competitive way in fact of where we are today in our political correctness. You know people you're treading you know it's like without a net and you know the the stand up comedy was. That's what i loved about it. That's why i fell into it. That's why continue to do. It was my one Island the freedom you know and it's not as free as it was and part of that is the fact that everybody has access you know without context so you in a club or say something on a show then somebody writes about it and we're videotapes it on their phone right. I mean i. It's weird that used to be the people into a comedy club just to have a good time in laugh. Have a few drinks have fun now. It's like everyone goes to a comedy club. And everyone has a phone in their hand and they're just waiting to play. Gotcha yeah or else. They're just trying to record their their memo. I say to people. I see people sometimes sitting dave chapelle and a couple of the other in comics. They tell people to put their phones. They have these packets right right where they're locked away. I haven't done that and So sometimes i'll show up someplace. Or i met a concert and somebody's sitting there with their phone recording and they're looking at their phone and looking at the screen and i think they're missing the moment. I said great that you're recording because when you go home and you watch this it will seem like you were actually there because you comedy needs to be kind of enjoyed in the moment. Yeah it's not even something that even when you enjoy it that you can reiterate to somebody and it's really is you have to be there regardless of who it is. I mean there is something electric and fun and edgy about being in the moment and You know if there are moments that crossed the line if there is wherever that line is it's kind of fun to be there and witness to it instead of catching somebody and spreading it out there and let everybody comment on this out of context moment. Yeah and it's weird especially for you. A guy who does so much crowd work in kind of seems to thrive off the interaction with the crowd to have a crowd. That's that unin gauged. Well i think that. We're i don't know if it's unin gauged as much. Is you know this. Technically i think the word is disengaged. I did this engage engaged in multitasking. They're engaged. They're listening to you. They're watching you and the recording you. They're texting somebody. They're receiving something. They're getting an update. There's a call. They're working to thinking about something else. I think that we all by virtue of being around in this millennium are kind of. I would imagine while somebody listens to this. Podcast is something else going. Oh yeah same time. Whereas when i was growing up it was whatever you were doing at. The moment is what you were doing. At the moment. there wasn't even i mean i. I remember the excitement of just getting a phone in my car. You know the fact that you can make a phone call from the carbon now. You can make a phone call. You can listen to a podcast and you know Read a book here a book on at the same time. You know there are so many different things you can do at once. And unless you're firing on all those you know sparkplugs holding anybody's attention. So i did. The audience doesn't really sit and listen and enjoy anymore. Well i know that you have. Add and i have add. We both have add and it seems like everything that we have coming at us. Today is a nightmare for someone or is it a blessing for someone who has adhd. Already day. I think it's a blessing you know the truth is that i can't have enough for lull. That distraction is the best remedy. You know i mean distraction is the problem but it is also the best for somebody who has trouble focusing on one thing Much power for any length of time. Great dinner society and entertainment is set up now so that you don't have to like It doesn't exist anymore but vying was perfect six seconds. Yeah and if you want to binge-watch you know three in a row. That's eighteen seconds of your time and you pop culture or a little youtube videos or whatever watching on instagram or facebook. As you scroll by you can kind of take in a lot and mount of time so for people that are impaired or were impaired by this diagnosis. It's actually fitting for you know you grew into the culture. The culture grew into us Yeah you kinda just have to fill all those hours. Are you all all of the monotony and so forth. Which you've seem to do really well because you've got this special you've got adt you've got deal or no deal you've got. I think somewhere. I read you do up to two hundred dates a year live shows. You don't into slowing down. It's not really a lot real world and And wherever i travel most people work at least if you're lucky enough to have a job. You work forty hours a week and one place monday to friday. You know if i show up and do an episode of something or you know. I'll sit here with you for an hour. And that's you know my day and then maybe i can get in a plane and go do a show for ninety minutes. And that's maybe part of a day. Or i can go tape. Episode of america's got talent and it is what it is what you see. I'm sitting there watching a show. It doesn't take a lot of you know mental prowess or any Any set of any. I don't have to prepare or do anything and deal or no deal the game unfolds as it unfolds. You know and Stand up the kind of unfolds. I don't feel like i put in a full day's work. I feel like one of the luckiest people i know. Do you do a lot of corporate gigs of those two hundred or corporate gig. A lot of someone who's well known like you. And i love that you know they pay big money. But it's kind of not traditionally your audience or comedy audience. yeah so which. I've learned a used to fear it and kind of hate it and take the check and now i absolutely love it. It is so it becomes the challenge for me. Oh really yeah and they make it You after all these years. I've been doing it for forty years. I look for the challenge. I don't want it to be easy. I kinda understand why people could get bored on stage. Doing the same mac each and every night. But when you have something you know or if somebody walks into a con howie mandel concert or you turn on showtime to watch my special you kinda there knowing that. Yeah you know who i am. And what the what. You're getting when you show up at a sales dinner for you know some pharmaceutical company. And they say we have a surprise speaker always a big part of it. Is they go. We didn't tell anybody you're here and i go. Why is that a good. Why is that a you know. I'd like them at least know that they're gonna laugh or might wanna laugh. You didn't tell them there's any comedy tonight and we didn't tell them it was you and they also add to your repertoire. Where which you would never do to a singer but they say you don't be funny. Dave is our cfo and everybody makes fun of his golf game. So if you can mention dave's gulf score especially his weakness putting. I'm telling you this place will go. Wild and i used to kind of adhere to what the buyer and i used to go. You know that joke went over a like Dave putts and Speaking of pots. I feel like a mad because they didn't know but you would. Never if you hired a singer for the same gig you would never tell you know. Could you cheat a lyric in the second round. Yeah yeah i mean. The second chorus middle management at an insurance company is probably the worst comedy writer a crazy. I understand that you started out. When you're a kid you were inspired by alan funt and one of my favorites candid camera and i guess at some point. There's some story where you kind of decided to do your own candid camera. The camera well didn't go so well My whole life my whole life. You know in my earliest memories besides Dealing with whatever mental health issues. I had is My parents were very supportive and everything. A laughter was huge in my house and whether they were watching the tonight show or whether they were watching you know some variety show or listening to a comedy album they were always laughing and i remember being a toddler three or four years old and wanting to be part of a you know you're drawn toward laughter in no that's a fun time and you want to be part of it. I remember going into the living room. And if they're watching a comic on television you know and he'd be talking about his mother-in-law and everybody laughing. I had no point of reference. I didn't know what a mother in law was would. Not so my parents would be laughing. And i'd be looking at like. I wanna laugh too. I i want to why this is funny. And my first recollection of being aware of what was funny and joining the party. Was alan funt on a sunday night. He the show called candid camera and he actually rather than him being comic explained to me and the audience at home what he was gonna do and i remember specifically you know the bit was that they had this fake office they were gonna hire receptionist he was gonna pretend to be the boss and he was telling the person the the ladies that were asked to be the receptionist. You cannot miss a phone call. I'm going out for an hour. You must take every phone call. Because i live and die by the these phone calls. Here's what he's going to do. He tells me that he's going to tie a rope to the you could see on the leg of the desk the desk kind of on a roller thing. The the rope goes through the wall to the next room. So every time the phone rings and the receptionist goes to reach for the fall. And we're going to pull the rope and the desk is going to move away right across the room and i remember feeling that was exciting because it was that anticipation of a surprise party. They're coming under dry. I remember looking at my mom and looking at my dad. We are all like just on the edge of laughter. I can't wait to see this. And then the first girl sits down and the phone rings and they pulled the rope and her jaw drops. And i and my mother and my father were hysterical. Like crying it was funny and it's funny on so many levels not only because we felt like we were in on the joke. But it's relatable. What would i do if that happened. Be scared what. I believe it when i think of the joke is very reliable and that was such a good feeling just that laughter And i remember everyone loves to pull pranks on everyone. Well beyond just the most relatable thing doesn't have to be on your friends but everyone likes to do. It's always been a staple of television youtube. And whatever and whether it's prank call on just because it's the most relatable thing and not everyone reaction right and not everyone is a stand up comic. Many people might be in their living room and would never get up on stage. Start telling jokes but we all like descru- with our family years. Where so that good feeling i went out and got to recapture that and i did not nor was i smart enough or even old enough but it went on for years to realize well number one. I don't have a tv show number two. I don't have an audience and number three. I don't really have friends. But i want to do this. This is what i want to do. So i remember like one night Board at home. I went to the yellow pages and i called a construction company. Gave my name howard mandel and the guy to come to the school to get a quote on an addition to the library and because i thought it would be funny. I'm not. I'm just a student. I don't have the authority to do that. There's no addition putting on. And when i'm sitting in math and see this guy out on the field or measure whatever but i as i was alluding to earlier. I didn't know that it would be better if i had an audience. I didn't ask me. It's just something i did in the moment Which made me laugh. And it felt like very candid camera ish and a prank. But i didn't have an audience. That or i didn't set it up for anybody. It was just alone so these stories about me having a construction worker outside which i got in trouble with me coming up with a chocolate bar in my mouth. That looked like a piece of shit me doing crazy. Things in class became more behavioral problems. And i was asked to leave school and i don't have a ged and the ad. I say to everybody anything. I've ever been punished for expelled for. Hit for is what. I seem to get paid for today. Wow now i stand up gig. I guess whether if you can call it again was it. What yuk yuks so yeah. I went to big on dancing. You're talking about the the early seventies disco. Yeah rage and i wasn't into this go nor did i have anybody to go. Disco dancing with and there was this Kind of sweeping wave of standup comedy clubs. Taking the you know the becoming us or the improv and catch a rising star in new york and They opened this club called. Yox'je had read about it and we went there one night in lieu of going to a disco and i saw the stand up comics. Really funny is the first time i saw live standup up. You know manala just talking about what at that time. In the seventies was very edgy. And different. And i went. Oh my god is so exciting and the owner of the club is mark breslin and he comes out after he goes. Listen if you feel that you have the wears to do this. You know we're going to monday nights at midnight you're welcome to come on amateurs and The person on my table said you should do it. Okay with no thought and again. No preparation. No no Thinking about what the ramifications could be. I just thought it was. It would be funny to just fuck around and you know. I'm not a comic aspiration to be a comedian or being show business. Start at or anything. No and i just thought it'd be funny. The joke would be in my mind without thinking it through the ladies and gentlemen it. Can you believe it. i'm gonna get up on stage. I'm what do. I have to have absolutely nothing to offer. It's going to be the joke. That's the end of just. Like i never had an ending. I'm gonna come up with this shit my mouth and then what am i going to do. Nothing i'm going to hire somebody to put an addition onto the library. And then when i'm going to do nothing and nobody's gonna know about it so this is just my own little joke with my friend and i'll never forget that night. Twelve ten april one thousand nine hundred seventy seven. I hear ladies and gentlemen howie mandel and i walk out on that stage and i had never been on a stage before and the light is bright shining and burning your retinas and you look e- kind of looked down from the light and front row you see one or two or three tables and there's people that i don't know waiting in in anticipation and then you figure you feel really vulnerable. You're waiting like what are you gonna do. We don't it it's not a. It's the first time. I've is face to face with one of my impromptu. Brilliant ideas yeah. You know and i was actually seeing faces. Okay what are you. What are you gonna do because gush of adrenaline and fear and if you watch any of my old youtube stints as a stand up comic or even my first specials comedian special. That was real and legitimate. So i tried. I went in my mind. In the moment. I was thinking i got to come up with something. And if you remember my act or you saw man forty years ago i went. Okay okay okay. All right okay. Yeah and they just came out. You know as i was going all right and they could see. I was trying to think of something. They started to giggle and minos energy. And i heard them giggle. And then i would go. What what what. What are you going. And then my whole thing became this this really Contributing nervous young guy who is looking for the and i didn't know what to do with my hands in my pocket and i carried rubber gloves because i didn't wanna touch germs. Okay okay okay. I'll do this. And i hold it over my head for no reason at all. I've never done that before. I started breathing through my nose. The fingers were going up on. The crowd was roaring. And i'm going. Oh my god this is and then. I walked off when thank you. Good night and walk off stage and mark breslin said that was very good. You're really unique. Would you like to come back tomorrow. And i went. Okay wow and it never happens you know no and then i went back and i was i and that became my acting. You know. I had these funny voices that i did. You know which eventually became bobby but it was. Just maybe you know. And i would do those things. And those are things that i did in the back of classrooms. Just because i do it. I originally got that voice from choking on a piece of cake and you know in in my throat like nothing was a plan and then as luck would have it on a separate business trip to l. a. I went out and got in. And i had met mike binder who a writer comedian director He had because he was from detroit. He came played at yuk yuks. I started hanging out at yuck. Yuck and i was happy and going on stage. But not. Because i wanted or even believe that i can ever make a living at this or do this. Just it was like minded weird people who had these odd. Little thoughts shared them with strangers. And for me my analogy is like if you like playing poker and twice a week. He get together with a group of people. And that's my poker game on thursday nights and tuesday nights or you like playing basketball and you have one on one at the y. With your friends. This was my come on nights a week. I'd go over to yuk yuks and do that met comics. Who are coming in from. Over the border like minor. Who was out of detroit and dave klay and i went to california on a business trip. Something not related. I in retail. And i told mike i'm coming out because he knew that he will that he was living there and he said i'll get you on the comedy star and he got me on at the comedy star and it was just about getting on at the comedy store. Just because it'd be fun. I did that on vacation. It turns out. There was a producer in the audience from comedy. Game show called make me laugh and he said. Do you wanna do tv. And i said yeah you know thinking this is. What are the chances you're in hollywood. The sounds like such a hollywood line. He said kind of my office. The next day and i ended up going to his studio. Ktla and i was in my secretary laugh and it was like okay okay. Okay and she started out. He goes great and the they shot the next day. You know five shows in one day strip show right and they stripped it for five days. I was there for a couple of hours. i went home. Continue to my business lived in toronto and as aired. I started getting recognition. You know this is the seventies so just being on. tv changed. somebody's lives. It's not like today today. You could be on tv. You ever notice with so many channels defy. Well you know the number one show on tv ncis mark harmon an ll cool j. Who's on the other. One would like you to go down the list and name the entire you know whereas if happy days was on that time you knew rodney. Most the you know the third tier like you know so just being on. Tv got me. Recognition wasn't on in canada. And i started getting calls from talk show so i'd fly back and new talk shows and then gene simmons saami from kiss and he asked me to open up his girlfriend and his girlfriend at the time and he was living with diana. Ross became diana. Ross's opening act in vegas without an act really. Now how did that go. 'cause i'm always not when i hear singers who hire comedians to be their opening. Act on people come to hear a singer so they didn't wanna see me the lights would go down. And caesar's palace crowd would roar and you'd hear the announcer goes. Caesar's palace is proud to present an evening diana ross. In the if you listened closely nobody. Nobody heard. But i could hear because i was standing beside the guy that was announcing they said a now. But i howie mandel. Not even a comedian. How bill and i'd walk out. And i'd have the sea of people looking at me. Like what the fuck are you doing here. Yeah we're not. We're not interested and just silent and my wife who's still married to took a picture of me on those nights and i'd be wearing a A sports jacket. You could see the sweat through the sports. I would sweat through my shirt my sports jacket it was just flops wet but she liked me and thought it was funny so she kept me on but it was. It was really hard. We're going to take a quick break. And then i'll be back with more with howie mandel when we come back in just a minute and it's interesting to hear you talk about the immediacy of how these things just kind of came together for you and i hear that from comics of your generation how it was one of those things where you could go in get on stage at the comedy store and within a week get booked on carson and next thing you know days later you have. A sitcom deal wasn't like that anymore. No because so many. You know there wasn't there isn't any more one place to go out there. William gatekeepers now or in riot capers. Right and the and it could be your own gate right. Could be on your own room in your underpants sitting on your bed doing a blog and then boom explodes and you've got you know a worldwide audience and you're making millions of dollars and your pootie pie who's a gamer but no one anoint. You like carson did back in the day. No that first car cited did twenty two johnny carson. It was pretty amazing of wealth. I tried to get on carson. I couldn't get on the johnny carson show so as it turns out i met joan rivers doing the guest spots or the yes just blowing it up and joan saami and put me on. Okay saw me on with joan and said would you come back next week. And i did it with him and then twenty two times afterwards but it was it was really hard and that was the the litmus test for a comedian even beyond people who were in the business like if you weren't noun and somebody walked up to anywhere in the streets of cleveland and said what do you do and you say i'm a comedian. They would go well ever been on johnny carson and if you said no and there were many years when it was a no then all so yeah. It was like call me when you do that. 'cause that's gonna legitimate legitimize you. I had done mike. Douglas and merv griffin and but until i did carson i was not my big annointment for being able to sell tickets and get get known was the. Hbo young comedians special. Yeah on my young comedians special. The cast was me. Yes already seinfeld. Harry house and who richard lewis was a marine murphy. Yeah yeah and that was huge. Hbo young comedian vessels back then might even have a million different channels. No and my life was never the same. Yeah you know. And that was the young comedians special then again. Was you know you had three stations. And then your local fox exists so you had abc nbc and cbs. And then you had a couple of local stations and then the advent of these. This new cable like hbo and hbo was blossoming at the same time. Stand up comedy so there was no place where you could hear a young person that you can relate to being a little blue. You know or provocative are a little bit edgy. So you aired on that. I could sell theaters. And i was playing like five and ten thousand seat theaters. You know and hired a saint elsewhere. Did that come after. That was way after that that was in nineteen eighty two. I figured i'd already kind of blossomed as omic and the normal path for everybody. You know when you look at Robin williams and billy crystal. And even richard pryor the time is they got a tv series ride but a sitcom drama. I know that's the fun. So what happened. Was i went in to try to get sitcom and i went to a general meeting at mt m mary tyler moore were purveyors of great they were doing everything never hard and all these things newhart and everything that was general meeting with the casting people for maybe developing a howie. Mandel you know pilot or something and as we're talking for a couple of minutes she goes. We'll d act. And i said well i think i can you know. I don't know i've never studied but i can be myself. I'm comfortable and she goes read this and so i. I gave me a little piece of of a script. And i read it and it was all his medical terminology. It didn't. I didn't get it but she goes. It's very good. I thank you she goes. Come down the hall. And i went down the hall and there was a bunch of executive sitting in a room she goes. Listen to this. And i read it again and they said thank you and i went home and my wife said how did that good as a friday i went home. My wife's how did that go. And i went Well they said thank you. But i'm going to be totally honest with you and i know these they got a lot. I love new hard. I love the mary. Tyler moore. Show the tony randall. Show was on at the time he. Tom mostly comes. They do really good comedies. The one. I think that they had me in mind for not funny. It was not if it even makes sense to me. And maybe reading something out of context not funny. I get a call within an hour of getting home. And they said we'd like you to come and meet brandon tartikoff. Oh wow yeah. So i went down. People don't even know that name today probably but like boy wonder. Nbc turn it off. I'm taking calls. The bank calls no matter where i have the red wings taking offers. Anyway the Brandon tartikoff was the king of television brown tartokowski made. Tv what it is. He's probably the last really passionate network executive. That would go again right now. If you put something out and it doesn't work it's gone. Yeah if he believes in something he's the guy that's responsible writing seinfeld on the and he's the guy that's responsible for leaving cheers on the air which i'm doing goodness i season. He created. nbc. Thursday night he created and also what went on to these big ensemble shows them. Were the saint elsewhere in the hillstreet blues which became e. r. Even chicago hope. And all these other show. He found that formula and stood behind it even when nobody was watching and would keep it You know renewing them for another year. So i'd have to meet the king of tv. He was the wizard of oz. He's the mind the man behind the curtain. And so i go down to his office. This is an hour after. I'd gotten home and those same executives that i had read gone down the hall that molly had brought me to are sitting in the office brandon. Tartikoff i went to burbank. I read that same unfunny scene. Because we'll see you monday. So i figure i'm gonna get into the call back monday so as it turns out. I started on monday. They had an order for thirteen episodes of saint elsewhere. They started taping record Filming the pilot They were looking at their dailies like the at the stuff they had shot. They weren't happy with a couple of the characters in wanted to make changes and it just so happens serendipitous the day that i came in for the general meeting for whatever reason they saw me as maybe a bit replacement in wanna check me out so i went on a friday to meet to get and they said you're starting my agent called me and said congratulations made you an offer. You're going to be on a and i'm on a medical drama with what is that. Where did that come. Yeah and i did it. Yeah you know it must have been. They must have been trying to fill a whole They did somebody really do. I do and he went off to. He went on to win an academy award. It was david hammer. Oh yeah mr saturday night. Yeah he played. Billy crystal's gather monday night. Yes for another julie looking so i replaced him. I always felt bad about it. But then he did really well on his own. And i and i continue to get fan mail. That time we didn't have email. I would get fan mail. That said that you know. I have a bet with my husband that the doctor fisk is not the same guy that puts the rubber glove on his head. So i've always had like a real fractured audience. Yeah yeah bobby's world. Bobby's world was young. Mothers who sat at home with their three year old kids and kind of knew who i was but didn't they weren't the viewers of saint elsewhere They weren't viewers of my hbo stuff. They came out the concert. So i've always had this real fractured audience. Not until two thousand and five. When i did deal or no deal. Did all those audiences come together. Yeah yeah and it's funny i. It seems like it's a function of the fact that your act was pretty fractured. At least you know then it was and it still is in some ways. You do a lot of different stuff. One minute your physical one minute. You're doing voices you're doing comedy. You're doing observational stuff. So there's a certain element action but there is a fractured element to everybody. I mean that we are close to that fractured element interesting. You know everybody over. Thinks it's given me even though it's given me a great career it's given me a philosophy in life and the couple of things that i've said no to which are few and far between I we have a tendency and we learned to overthinking non. You know how that's going to be good. You know that's gonna be you know we all we all do what we think we should do. It's even down to how we dress during the day when you get up in the morning we get dressed. You look in the mirror and this is now you decided not only you want to present yourself how you believe that you will be presented or perceived instead of just you know you look at a kid get dressed in the morning. They don't put that much thought into it. You know and. I think our lives have to be kind of in line with that if you want success and and that's why my biggest philosopher in life in my career and my life is nike and that is just do it. Just do it. That's interesting because from what i've heard it sounds like you kind of almost talked yourself out of doing deal or no deal originally when you got the offer. That's exactly right. So with this philosophy i tell you that which kind of as a precursor to the story so it in two thousand five. Obviously the series was over. My career at best was waning in comedy was kind of a slump at that. Brian wasn't selling the amount of tickets or playing the same venues. And i said you what. I'm not gonna put myself through that. It's really disheartening. I don't need to go and show up at a howie mandel promoted concert and see a half empty theatre. Yeah that's a little disheartening. And i don't wanna do that anymore so i'm gonna lee. I'm just going to back off as luck would have it. I get a phone call from my manager. Saying nbc is going to do this huge game. Show they're going to allot five nights. Five full primetime nights to this game show and they want you to do it. And i went no no fucking way. I've just made a decision. I'm out and i'm kinda proud of what i've done. I've done about ten comedy. Specials and comedians back then didn't do game show. It was like pets. Say jack and alex trebek's just was like the wild one right while yeah no comics did not and so the one generation before me did you know groucho marx it. Oh yeah you know. And you bet your life. And johnny had done but not in my generation and steve harvey way they they all me so the currency of irony was not. You know when you're dealing with irony. You don't wanna be that guy. You don't want the punchline right so i said no i can third call back because they weren't giving up and they can they just show you the show. Can they show you the show. I go fine. I'm not going anywhere. I'm a jerry's deli. Yeah if he wants to come over and talk to me let the guy come to me. I don't even want to go to meeting for. I don't want to fucking game show. He brings over a piece of art cardboard that he cut. It looked like a seven year old. Had done an art project not even no money. Nothing pinko. They told me that this is a big show. All around the world and nbc is going to put this on every night at primetime. I've never heard of any that kind of they were all in on it And then the guy shows up with. He made it with a sharpie and his own scissors and he plays the game. You know the game deal. There's no games no trivia. Well and he goes. I just want to show you. Thanks for taking time and call me when you think about it. I go home and my wife would you do. I said well i did. Nothing she goes. We're gonna take it. And i said no. And she goes why i said because it'll ruin my career she goes. Where are you standing right now. I said well we're in the kitchen and she says where did you just come from. I go. I was by myself at the belly. Having soups she goes. You realize that as your career might as well just doing. You've always you said okay. Everything's found that it was crazy that you were going to be comedian. It's crazy that you were going to be on a dramatic novel series. Just do it. So this is a friday so i called and i said like to go thank you. We couldn't do it without you. And i said so. When does the tape monday monday. Well don't you have to build a set it's built we'll don't you have to hire twenty six models. No we have them their cash. So you gotta think how far down the rung. Was i in choices official. You know they're really. They couldn't do it because everybody else had said so I asked them in the weekend if i could hire a couple of comics and i had a bunch of comics wrens and i figured you know we looked at you. Bet your life. And that's why. I know that maybe i can find a way to showcase myself and my wittiness and funniness and silliness every night on. Nbc when you get that kind of exposure so we wrote some things and had some ideas. And i went out. And i can show you this. I kept the picture to the very first girl. I have her picture to karen van. They say ladies and gentlemen welcome to deal or no deal. Is howie mandel. And i walked out and there was this young lady and i was standing. I'm standing in talking to you sitting and talking to you. But i was standing and i said what's your name and her name is karen van and i said tell me about yourself and she told me that she's a mother of three in the boys. Were sitting right there behind her and she's never owned a home. She doesn't have health insurance. I got and then. I noticed after the first offer the i offer was ten thousand dollars and i had never been at that time you have to besides who wants to be a millionaire a million dollars and it still is outside of la in new york life changing amount. Not only that. I think ten thousand dollars is a life changing amount. If you talk to somebody from the middle of the country if you can give him ten grand right now they can put down payment on a house. They could buy insurance. They could change their life and the first offer was ten thousand dollars and she thought no deal. And i remember just looking at her and i could see the glaze when somebody who isn't in television is standing on a set in hollywood with twenty cameras around them three hundred people the lights. She was just having the best time in her life. But i realized that this was real money. And that's when i got scared. I said if i start doing my comedy and i start making it about howie than i'm gonna pull the focus from the game and she's making already starting to make bad decisions based on her own little fairy tale world that she's come into an in hollywood. I can't pull focus. And that changed informed my cadence of how i played that game really and the way. Oh yeah because. I talked to her. And if you watch me even now at airs wednesday nights on cnbc. If you watch me. I talked to people. Like i would talk to my children where i go. Listen is twenty five thousand dollars. Think about this okay. That's yeah probably what you're making a year you've been here ten minutes. Twenty five thousand dollars is yours. If you hit the button or you want a chance at a million. So this guaranteed. I'm going to hand you. Twenty five thousand dollars so it became about really driving home what it is. And that's how. I played the game then when the game finished. I did six episodes when the game finished. I was mortified. Because i had done. Not on my comedy. I had done. None of what. I thought was entertaining. And as luck would have it. It aired the first night and i got a call saying this went through the roof and then it airs the second night and they said it's bigger and by the fifth night it had exploded. I got back. I landed in miami and within thirty seconds the first person that made eye contact with me went deal or no deal and then came up really fast and then if you look you know on every show they went so the next show that came out as are you smarter than a fifth grader. When jeff foxworthy. And then they hired bob saggy to do one versus. Yeah yeah and then. They hired louie anderson to do family feud and then they hired then it just. Now it's nobody thinks gives a second thought to the fact that comics were nowhere. Yeah on the game shows. Yeah you know that all came right after that and nothing has changed my life more giving me more success than deal or no deal and you probably wouldn't have gt. and with. I wouldn't have definitely and people are buying tickets to my shows again Live stand up shows again. Well speaking of that. I want to wrap up by bringing it back to your special on showtime it's called howie mandel presents. Howie mandel at the howie. Mandel comedy club. I really enjoyed it. And you've always done like. I said a lot of this crowd work and improvisation in your act. It looks a lot like this. New special is totally spontaneous. Most comics probably work a year or two to build an hour long set so they can do a comedy special. What is it like for you. I mean totally improvised or is obviously i have material. There's no way that. I'm going to put myself in front of an audience for a national broadcast without any plan But in the philosophy that we've been talking about. I'm open and if you wanna draw me down another path could draw me down so when you watch the show. I'm not the one that opens the door. The audience has a tendency to open the door so in the neck confines of whatever. I'm doing if somebody yell something out if somebody does something in the room if something is happening in that moment it's not beyond me to bring it up to talk about it. It's also a taped show. So that i if it didn't work in a went down the other way i could cut it out. It is as it was and it was a fun audience who was excited to be there. And they They you know. I look at it like giant party and i'm just trying to center of attention. I had a lot of fun. I hope the people there had a lot of fun. And i hope anybody who watches. It has as much fun as it looked like they did. So hecklers are welcome at howie. Mandel shows yeah. I don't think people as hecklers as much as participants for me. The connotation is you suck. I want my money back. Nobody said that but people did yell out. I did have some critiques. Mostly about aesthetics. There was somebody over the lighting. Yeah some lady didn't like the lighting and nobody asked her. I find city crowd right. There probably is. I just find it fascinating that somebody would go to a taping. It's not a secret. This is my special and then feel the need to Criticize with maybe in hopes that i would change relight or i have no idea now. You also joke about your ocd and you're adhd on the show ever since you came out about your mental health issues or whatever you wanna call it. It's kind of become a part of your persona. I wonder do you ever worry. That people's first mental association with you is going to be. He's the guy who won't shake hands or something like that before your career and all the stuff that you accomplished or you feel if you're a vessel for that kind of thing then so be it then. That's a good the question really you know. I don't care i do what i do and i am who i am. Not for anybody but me It just so happens that what. I do happens to Demand some attention outside. You know. I'm i'm a comedian but i don't need to be famous. I just need to do stand up. Comedy I happened because child of the fifties to accidentally on a radio. Show talk about my mental health issues and there was a stigma attached to the fact from for somebody from my generation to say that i had mental health issues i suffer from depression and anxiety and ocd. Adhd i've got almost a whole alphabet. And i go see I've always been coddled by a family that his love means supported me. I see professionals and as we talk a medicated. I didn't know i could talk about it. And when i accidentally did and it was accidentally It kinda opened up this door of you know feeling. Oh my god you know. I'm not alone and it is an issue that we all and not only is it an issue. I think it's the answer to Making this world better if everybody would take care of their mental health like we take care of our dental health. Go get checked up. You go see if you have no cavities. Those gets checked up. And we need Coping skills and whether the coping skill is because you broke up with somebody a marriage because you lost somebody because they're passed away whether you can't handle the pressure at work that you don't have nobody teaches that to kids along the way or adult humor and we look for other reasons while it's gun control. No it's mental control. A lot of people can have gun. Not and i'm not. I'm not pro gotten or anti-gun i'm just pro human health right you know and we're not we're not healthy and we don't wanna tell people you know it's really interesting you can go tell somebody you know and i don't know if i could lift that my back is bad but nobody will say. I don't think i can do that. Because i'm just not functioning mentally well today. I don't think i can handle this kind of pressure. You won't say or you'll excuse yourself to go to the dentist but you say listen. I got a psychiatry appointment. And i'm low on my meds. I don't think in middle america. That's as acceptable as it is in this office where we talk a good for you for addressing that. I just wanna wrap up by asking you one question. That's been kind of in the back of my mind for a long time. Is there a secret to winning. America's got talent to certain acts. Do better than others. Yeah yeah yeah. I think that ultimately talent is subjective. And if you're cognizant of. I think you have to show up and be you and not given any thought because winning that contest doesn't necessarily mean you're the best it also doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to have the most fruitful career. Susan boyle came in second. She's doing fantastic court me had win. Didn't win my golden buzzer this year. And she's got a record deal and she's a huge like grace The that will go on from time to time but if you want to win the contest know your audience and the people that vote. you know. it's really funny. Because i i can't tell you a day doesn't go by when somebody goes. I think you got it wrong. Man you know who should a one that one you know was much better and i'll always say to that person. It's usually an adult ago. Did you vote no go. No i just think the wrong on one if you know. Who's it's usually. A lot of them are twelve year old females. I think if you if you're doing something that would cater to that audience. Not that you shouldn't even the music choice. You have the way you're talking. Sometimes you're going to win it just by what you say before and what you say after rather than what happens because they'll just like you and you know who you're speaking to you know who's in the room. Yeah is a is a good piece of advice well again. how he's new special is called howie. Mandel presents howie mandel at the howie. Mandel comedy club. It premiers friday january eighteenth at ten eastern in pacific on showtime. You can catch deal or no deal on wednesdays at nine pm on. Cnbc and chance airs. Mondays on nbc. At eight seven central. Howie mandel thanks so much for talking with manx for having me. Thanks again to howie. Mandel for coming on the podcast just a reminder to watch howie mandel presents howie mandel at the howie. Mandel comedy club. This friday january eighteenth at ten eastern and pacific on showtime deal or no deal airs wednesdays at nine pm on cnbc and adt champions airs mondays on nbc at eight seven central and follow howie on twitter. At at howie mandel. If you haven't already be sure to subscribe to kick ass news on itunes and leave us a review. You can follow us on facebook or on twitter at kick ass news pod and as always i welcome your comments questions and ideas at comments at kick ass. News dot com. I'm ben mathis and thanks for listening to kick ass news.

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