Broward News

Howie Mandel Talks Comedy, Career — and Zika

Blake Shelton and Adam Levine from The Voice may have the most notable bromance among NBC reality shows, but Howie Mandel and Nick Cannnon aren’t far behind.

Mandel, a judge on America’s Got Talent, and Cannon, the host, coheadline a comedy show at 8 p.m. September 23 at Hard Rock Live.

Mandel appeared by himself at Hard Rock Live back in 2014 but said he’s pleased to share the billing with Cannon this time around.

“I think he’s one of the most talented people I’ve ever met in my life,” Mandel said in a phone interview. “From comedy to music to just smarts… he’s incredibly creative and probably the best host on TV.”

Mandel, age 58, says he does about 200 dates a year – “Standup is my primal scream therapy – no reels, no marks to hit, nothing to recite” – and any time his schedule and Cannon’s coincide, he loves doing shows with him.

“We both have very full dance cards, as far as AGT not being our only project,” Mandel said.
Mandel, who did standup on David Letterman’s show in 1979, also emphasizes the importance of keeping in touch with regular Americans, which standup gives him the opportunity to do.

“It’s really hard for most people to be in N.Y. or L.A. and that sterile kind of room and environment and decide what you’re going to do to entertain the nation,” he says. “How do you do that if you’re not among the people, seeing what they like, who they are, what they’re relating to?”

His standup skills caught the attention of St. Elsewhere producers, where he had a role starting in 1982, before producing a Saturday cartoon, Bobby’s World.

“My career just keeps going in all these weird directions, and I just never say no,” Mandel said.
“Nothing comes from ‘no.’ In fact, it’s the first two letters of ‘nothing.’”

And after a decade full of guest spots in the '90s, standup gigs, and even a talk show, he hosted Deal or No Deal in 2005.

“I didn’t think I’d ever be a game show host, and even this, I didn’t even know when I started in the business if this even existed as a career move.

“I think I’m just a lucky guy who watches [America’s Got Talent performers] in the studio instead of at home in my underpants.”

Mandel is a known germophobe, authoring the 2009 book Here’s the Deal: Don’t Touch Me that revealed his ongoing struggle with OCD and ADHD. In fact, as he helped introduce a Deal or No Deal slot machine at the Seminole Hard Rock on his last visit, staff members provided him with blue gloves so he wouldn’t actually touch anything.

So, then, why is he appearing at a place where one bite from the wrong mosquito is freaking out even normal people?

“Zika doesn’t really bother me,” he says. “Whenever these issues come up, I get comfort in knowing the rest of the world is thinking like me. From the minute I wake up, I’m concerned about viruses; whether you give it a name like Zika or Ebola, that’s my life.

“I feel very safe in Florida because they’re watching it and taking care of it. Usually, I’m the only one concerned about a viral outbreak. Now, I feel like everybody’s like me.”

In addition to being a TV host and comic, Nick Cannon has been a DJ, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and children’s book author. He landed his first television gig as a series regular and writer on Nickelodeon’s long-running hit series All That. Then came The Nick Cannon Show, followed by Wild ‘N Out on MTV.

Through his multimedia company NCredible Entertainment, Cannon produces TV and film projects, including Nickelodeon’s Make It Pop, HALO Awards, TeenNick Top 10 and React to That

Howie Mandel and Nick Cannon. Friday, September 23, at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood; 1-800-745-3000; or ticketmaster.comTickets cost $45 to $85 plus fees. 
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Nick Sortal is South Florida’s expert journalist when it comes to the gambling scene. He covered the openings, expansions, poker tournaments, entertainment, and human-interest facets of the industry for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel from 2007 until taking a buyout in November 2015, capping a 30-year career that included state and national awards and features about naked yoga. He now writes a weekly column for the Miami Herald and also reports about gambling on his site, The Southern Illinois native worked for papers in St. Louis and Indianapolis before joining the Sun Sentinel in 1985. He likes triathlons, country music, basketball, and bragging about his family.
Contact: Nick Sortal