Howie Mandel brings laughs to the U.S. Armed ForcesWatch
Howie Mandel at his BestWatch
Howie Mandel StandupWatch
|2005||The Aristocrats (Original Soundtrack)|
|1986||Fits Like a Glove|
|1985||Best of Comic Relief, Vol. 1|
This album is a compilation, featuring multiple comics.
|1997||Howie on Ice|
|1994||Hooray for Howiewood|
|1992||Howie Mandel: Howie Spent Our Summer|
|1990||Howie Mandel: Hooray for Howie Would|
|1986||The Young Comedians All-Star Reunion|
|1983||The First Howie Mandel Special|
|1981||The 6th Annual Young Comedians Special|
|Howie Mandel: Howie from Maui - Live!|
|2009||Here's The Deal: Don't Touch Me|
|2005||Hidden Howie: True Stories from the Private Life of a Public Nuisance|
A “class clown” and “life of the party” comic, Howie Mandel rarely won critical praise for his stand-up. Like a bad boy run amok in a classroom, his humor included swiping an audience member’s chair, doing ear-splitting rooster crows, and shouting out less than original one-liners: “I love feeding the pigeons—breast feeding them!” Critics were dismayed by his prop comedy, especially his popular routine in which he squeezed a surgeon’s rubber glove over his face and then blasted it off his head by exhaling hard.
Devoted fans responded to his unpredictable, infectiously cheerful personality and the kind of obnoxious/hilarious antics that worked in the past for foolish bad boys of previous generations like Jerry Lewis. His audience banter was pure smart-aleck brat: “What do you do for a living?” “Nothing.” “How do you know when you’re finished!” Flopping to the floor he shouted, “I’m not your typical stand-up comedian!”
Born in Toronto, Mandel had a successful carpet business when he vacationed in Los Angeles and happened to visit a local comedy club. He performed on a dare and was suddenly invited to audition for a quiz show called “Make me Laugh.” The show led to a permanent show biz career. “My act is mostly improvisation,” he said. “I don’t really analyze my comedy, and I don’t think it can be analyzed. My comedy is just me. There’s no reason, there’s nothing written down, I have no notes. They ask me, “When did you first decide to put a rubber glove on your head?” I never decided. It just happened; it’s just my personality…I’ve always done it to be the center of attention, I’ve always acted this way…
“They use this word zany. I don’t think I’m crazy, or zany, I just think I’m Howie…I have friends that I grew up with that were crazy and zany all through school and then become 30 years old and they’re married and own a home and wear a tie every day…Then there are people like me—I’m never gonna change. I do the things I did when I was five years old.”
Appealing to five year olds, Mandel unveiled his own Saturday morning cartoon show based on one of his favorite characters, a squeaky child named Bobby. One of Mandel’s first bad puns on stage was in the Bobby character. It seemed that Bobby would cry every time he sat on his potty. Asked why, he piped a line from an old Lesley Gore hit, “It’s my potty and I’ll cry if I want to!”
Critics were more appreciative of Mandel as an actor, especially as Dr. Wayne Fiscus on “St. Elsewhere.” He seemed for success as a film comedian but after several box office duds and an indifferent TV sitcom, he returned to venues like Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall and starred in stand-up TV specials. A likable fellow in person, a charismatic performer, his juvenile comedy still drew cheers from young fans and jeers from critics, including an “F for filth” from Kay Gardella reviewing his 1989 Showtime special: “Mandel admits he has the attention span of a gnat and gets bored easily. So, unfortunately, does this critic…bored and outraged…” The following year he starred in a syndicated TV series about a fellow running a funeral home. The Chicago Tribune declared, “Mandel, obviously relishing his many opportunities to act the slimy fool, is up to the task. He is downright grotesque.”
Mandel said he would only be bored and outraged if he were forced to pack his Hawaiian shirts and props and take a day job: “They say stand-up’s really hard. For me it’s not a hard thing. I think it would be much harder for me to go work from 9 to 5 and sit in an office. It’s much easier for me to dress the way I dress, look the way I look and do what I do. That’s easier for me than doing what they say the normal person does. And they say that I’m crazy!”
The impish comic takes acting roles now and then, including a typical bit of typecasting, “Mr. Mxyzptlk” in a 1993 episode of “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”
Mandel is now a headliner when he tours, and he tours frequently in his own bus. For a while he was desk-bound, hosting his own afternoon talk show, but that series lasted only a few months.
A kid at heart, it’s not surprising that the 90’s began with Howie providing the voice for a hit cartoon series, “Bobbie’s World.” The Emmy-nominated program is now in its eighth season, and is syndicated in 65 countries around the world. He also produced CD-ROMs intended to educate children. Howie and his wife Terry have three children.