Howie Mandel Likes "to Be Taken Off the Beaten Path"

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Entertainment careers don't straddle many more areas than Howie Mandel's. The same man that asked Deal or No Deal also lent his voice to the Muppet Babies. Chew on that.  

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But through all the game shows, all the cartoons, Howie has emerged on the other side still jonesing for what gave him his start in the first place, standup comedy.

Before landing at the Seminole Hard Rock Live in Hollywood on Monday for a one night stand, Howie let us in on his latest projects and whether or not he is still as freakishly OCD as his reputation suggests.

New Times: Let's talk a little about America's Got Talent. You worked beside some crazy cats.  Sharon and the Osbournes changed reality TV forever. Are her maternal instincts always on?

Howie Mandel: She's not on the show anymore, but I think of her more as a friend or a neighbor, somebody I socialize with and see when I am not on the show. She is very nurturing and wonderful and takes care of her family and her family's careers. Last year, Howard [Stern], Sharon, and I were really friends before we were coworkers. That was a prevalent felling. That's what I think of when I think of Sharon.

We just did an interview with Tom Cotter, what a great guy. Where do you see his career moving after losing to puppies on AGT?

You would know better than me. I haven't spoken to him since his season last year.

He's actually playing the Fort Lauderdale Improv this weekend.

I'm happy to hear he is doing good and out there and working. He was very funny and proficient and deserves to go really far in this business.

AGT, Mobbed, and Take It All are your most recent shows. What will we see more of first?

I don't know if I am going to do any more of those shows. The last episode of Mobbed aired last week and Take It All was on before the holidays. As we speak, I haven't decided if I am going to do AGT again. Right now, I'm just touring live, that's always been my staple. I've always done 200 nights a year regardless of hosting, judging or producing. It's always been standup.

Growing up, Bobby's World was a BIG show for me. It's still such a hit and '90s nostalgia is huge right now. Are you ever going to bring Bobby back?

Well you can see Bobby anytime you want right now on Netflix. Yeah you know, it would be nice to bring him back. I was trying. I'm up for it so, if you hear of anything let me know. That's a good idea.

Clearly you voiced Bobby's Dad, but people might not realize that you also voiced Bobby himself. Is that a voice all of you or did it have to be changed with a sound board?

That was never manipulated, that was me. I produced and created the show based on that character but had been doing that voice for years. I was the voice of Gizmo in Gremlins which was pretty similar. And Skeeter on Muppet Babies which was also pretty similar. I've always done different voices.

Are there any cartoons you are into watching right now?

No, not really, I don't watch that much animation lately. Well, Family Guy I do see. But I do watch a lot. I watch TV 24/7, it's always on. It doesn't even have to be in English. I just like being cognizant of everything going on. As someone who travels doing shows, it is nice to have a point of reference of what people are watching and seeing at that very moment. I'll watch infomercials. I just watch TV.

I read that the reason you shaved your luscious locks and sport the now signature bald look is related to your germaphobic ways. How does that make your life easier?

It feels cleaner. When your hair is greasy or dirty, the first thing you want to do is take a shower.  Although, I still do shower many times a day. But I am OK now. As we speak, I am medicated, deep in therapy and highly functioning. Originally, I shaved my head for a part in a movie. I liked how it felt so I stuck with it.

I have a talent friend who is looking to get on AGT. Any tips for him to get the producers' attention?

Show up. Just go. Go to any audition. The producers see absolutely everybody. Anyone who wants to be on, you can be on. You will get seen. If they deem it valuable for television, you will get on TV. I am sure there are tons of talented people that just don't show and that's why the show is reaching its eighth season. The biggest tip is just do it. It's Nike's tip, but it's a good tip. 

You have such a wide range of talents. What kind of show are you going to give the audience at Hard Rock Live?

It's very improvisational, there is a lot of back and forth. The audience is a big part of our show, each night is something different. I like to be taken off the beaten path. If they yell out "Bobby!" they will hear Bobby. It's a giant party every night, and I just want to be center of attention.

Howie Mandel. 8 p.m., Jan. 28, Hard Rock Live, One Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost between $49 and $79. Visit hardrocklivehollywoodfl.com.

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