Comedian Howie Mandel is coming back to Maui. On Saturday, Dec. 30, he’ll go onstage at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
Mandel, most recently a judge on America’s Got Talent, began his career as a stand-up comedian. When everything falls by the wayside, he says stand-up is his “savior.”
“Stand up is my staple,” said Mandel. “It’s the thing I never leave regardless of what I’m doing. That’s how I started, and that’s what I will always do.”
For more than 40 years in the entertainment business, Mandel has stayed true to that promise. Over the years he’s appeared in multiple films, both as a character and voice actor, hosted comedy specials as well as the popular game show Deal or No Deal, and has been with America’s Got Talent for eight seasons. Through it all, he’s done 200 comedy shows a year.
“I am writing all the time,” said Mandel. “I have a plethora of material to draw from, but I look for those special in-the-moment things. It’s like a big party, and I’m just trying to be the center of attention!”
Mandel got his start at the comedy club Yuk Yuks in Toronto but was really discovered when he became a regular performer at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles. His stand-up routines became famous for his silly and outrageous on stage antics, his involvement with his crowds, and his adult humor.
“My audience has a tendency to be a lot more vocal than other comedians, and I welcome it,” Mandel said.
He often uses props in his routines. In his early years, he even did a gag where he placed a surgical glove over his nose and head. He would blow up the glove by exhaling until it would fly off his head. Then he’d turn to the usually hysterical crowd and say, “it’s you.”
“It’s a big fun electric, dangerous time,” Mandel said. “There are no marks to hit, no lines to recite, no editing to be done and each show is different than the night before.”
Mandel is also the creator of the Emmy-nominated children’s animated television series Bobby’s World. In the show, Mandel voiced Bobby, whose squeaky voice became a staple for his comedy, hilariously contrasting the often R-rated jokes and stories he tells. While Mandel is most famous for his family-friendly appearances on television, his stand-up is definitely geared more towards adults. “Don’t bring the kids to my stand up,” he said, laughing.
Mandel has also long advocated for mental health awareness, publicly speaking about his own Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder on many occasions. Despite his struggles, Mandel says that his time on stage “is the most comfortable time in my life.”
As far as America’s Got Talent is concerned, Mandel couldn’t be happier. “I feel like a kid in a candy store to even have that job,” he said. “I watch TV 24-7–anyone doing something on stage intrigues me. So to get paid to stand there and watch–doing what you’d be doing alone in your underpants at home–I feel like I’m the luckiest guy in the world. Today, with every household having a choice of cable with 300 stations to view, or YouTube, or video games, the fact that people recognize you, and are even aware of your name, is amazing. People always come up to me and ask if I mind if they take my picture. The truth is, I’ll mind when there’s no longer a need to take my picture!”
HOWIE ON MAUI
With Kathy Collins
Saturday, Dec. 30
1 Cameron Way, Kahului
Photo courtesy Howie Mandel/Facebook