Howie Mandel has been in show business as a comedian, actor and host for more than 30 years and on Thursday, March 29, he is excited to perform at the in Peekskill. Mandel says his act is always fresh and improvised and he does best when he can interact with an audience.
His career proves this. Mandel is the host and executive producer of the Fox series “MOBBED,” an unscripted show that puts a hidden-camera spin on the flash mob concept. He has also served as the host for “Deal or No Deal,” for which he received an Emmy nomination. And he current serves as one of the judges on NBC’s summer hit talent competition series “America’s Got Talent,” alongside Sharon Osborne. Howard Stern will join the two as the third judge for this summer’s season.
Mandel is also the brain behind the hit international animated children’s series “Bobby’s World” and an author of a book on his mysophobia (fear of germs) and OCD and ADHD. The memoir, Here’s the Deal: Don’t Touch Me, is about his struggle with these disorders and how it shaped his life and career. The book made the New York Times Bestseller list on its first week and remained there for several consecutive weeks.
Patch got an opportunity to interview Mandel about his current projects and his show coming to Peekskill on March 29. Read a slightly abridged version of the interview below:
Q:Tell me about your show.
A: look at it like a giant party and I’m just trying to be the center of attention. I don’t have much of a plan. It is very interactive and improvisational. I do 200 live shows a year so it would be hard to do the exact same show all the time. It is my favorite thing to do out of all that I do. There are no boundaries, no cameras.
Q:Can you tell me about how your career started on a dare?
A: Yep. I attended a stand up comedy show originally in Toronto Canada. A show that was really big in the 70 and was exploding all over the place. My friends dared me to get on the stage…that’s how I found comedy.
Q: Has any of your comedy you performed that night carried over throughout your career?
A: In the sense that traditionally I’m prepared for what is going to happen. I like to not know what I’m going to do and have it turn out to be just a fun, energetic exhilarating evening. That’s what I carry with me from that first time and what has been working for me ever since.
In Peekskill, I don’t know what that night and theater brings. It is almost as exciting as very first night I got in stage.
Q: That is kind of what mobbed is like, right?
A: Not knowing has always been my favorite comedy and entertainment; a hidden camera and hidden agenda.
I was a big fan of flash mobs online and they were really for nothing but entertainment of actual flash mob. So then I thought, what if you have a life changing secret to tell and what if unbeknownst to (the person you will tell) they are taken to place and told with strangers with music and dance? It’d be emotional, exciting, scary….. all the reactions you’d want from the viewer…I think it plays on many levels.
Q:Tell me about this season of America’s Got Talent?
A: We are tight in the middle of taping. It is so exciting…this season will come to whole new level. It premiers May 14 on NBC.
Q: Are you ready to work with Howard Stern?
A: We are friends, I was excited he signed on and I think people are going to be thrilled, excited and pleasantly surprised all at the same time.
Q:How is Stern as a judge?
A: He is brutally honest, fun, collaborative and everything you could want out of a judge. I think he’s amazing…he is coming to the table with thirty years of experience in entertainment. No one knows about marketing like someone who’s been in business for 30 years. He is honest and has an eye for what people will pay to see.
Q: What kind of contestant really pulls you in?
A: Uniqueness, something exciting and surprising. I probably overused the word last season, but ‘wow.’ That’s what it is.
We have a few people already that I believe are finalists, are wow. That’s what makes it exciting; to be a first-hand witness to what could possibly become a icon.
Q:What kind of contestant do you write off quickly?
A: I have empathy for anyone who shows up on stage and is willing to show their wares…So nothing turns me off. If you are incredibly derivative or just boring, but fact they show up is amazing.
Q: Where are you filming now?
A: We are in Austin, Texas this week. We will be in New York all summer filming the show live.
Q: Where will it be filmed in New York?
A: I don’t know the venue yet.
Q: Can you tell me about your mysophobia?
A: That’s a small piece of OCD, which is the bigger picture of what I have. I’m medicated, I see a professional and I am functioning.
Q: What is the hardest thing about traveling?
A: That’s what I get paid for, the traveling, leaving the house. The show is for free.
You can catch Mandel at the Paramount on March 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45-60. Click here to order tickets now.