Howie Mandel shares his thoughts on life, his career and his comic process.
Howie, I have heard your tour called “An Evening with Howie Mandel,” do you have a different name for your tour?
An evening with Howie? Wow, I’m not trying to marry anyone! It’s just a couple of hours. No, I don’t name my tours since I am always touring. I perform in 200 cities a year. If I had named it though, I would have named it Larry. I always call myself Larry in my show “Howie Do It”. (This show has since been cancelled.)
Do you research the cities you are about to visit so that you can tailor your routine?
I base my routine on improv. I like to think of it as a giant party, where I am the center of attention. Plus I have been doing this for 30 years. If I didn’t improvise it wouldn’t be fun for me or my audience. When I’m announced on stage it just happens; I feed off of the audience. If there’s a blank moment, well- some of the funniest moments have come from that.
Since your routines are based off of the audience do you find that where the audience is from makes a difference?
Yes, there are only a few big cities, so the majority of my crowds are from the heartland of America. People from the heartland tend to be more appreciative that you came to the area, so the shows are more exciting. Big city crowds are used to big shows coming to town so it’s not the same energy.
You were parodied on Saturday Night Live. Was that an honor or nerve racking? Did they do a good job?
Figure there are over 600 channels on TV; they have a ton to choose from and they chose me. It’s an honor. If someone laughed then they did a good job. I think they did. Did I think I was looking at myself? No, but it was funny.
These are hard times for Americans and they need a laugh more than ever.
In my show I don’t talk about news and politics; my show is an escape.
How do you get on stage and make others laugh when you are having a bad day?
I have had tragic things happen and have had commitments that I had to uphold. That’s where my living in the moment comes in. When they announce me on stage I forget about it and live in the moment.
Iread that you were dared to get on stage your first time doing comedy. How did you decide to make it a career?
I didn’t decide; it just happened. One thing led to another. One of my favorite quotes is from Woody Allen. He said something like “80% of success is showing up.” I don’t do goals. If you spend time thinking of the future then you’re not experiencing the now.
Since you don’t plan, what are your thoughts on retirement?
I want to entertain my entire life. I hope to entertain and then pass away.
Quick Q & A
Favorite comedian… Steve Martin
Favorite movie… Woody Allen’s “Bananas”
Favorite book… My book “Here’s The Deal: Don’t Touch Me”
Your idea of ultimate happiness… a moment with my children