A Conversation with Howie

   Funny man Howie Mandel has been making people laugh for over three decades with his stand-up comedy routines, which he will bring to Seneca Allegany Casino’s Event Center for one show only Friday, August 16.
   Mandel started his career in 1979 on a dare from his friends when they were hanging out at the legendary Comedy Store in Los Angeles on amateur night. Daring him to perform a comedy routine, Mandel got up and delivered. Just by chance there was a producer in the crowd who immediately hired him to appear on the comedy game-show “Make Me Laugh”.
   “You know I took the dare not even thinking about the ramifications and I haven’t looked back since that night,” said Mandel by phone the morning after the first live elimination show for America’s Got Talent (AGT) where he sits as one of four judges on the panel. “Now here I am … one hundred and eighty degrees from where I thought I would end up being,” he added.
   Born in Toronto in 1955, Mandel has acquired the titles of host, judge, producer and author to his name, earning him Emmy nominations for Outstanding Reality/ Competition Host and a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Game Show Host for “Deal or No Deal”.
   His creation of the animated Saturday morning cartoon, Bobby’s World, which also had him supplying the voices to the characters, ran eight seasons and is now shown in syndication six days a week in 65 countries.
   Showcasing his depth in the entertainment world, Mandel took a role in the award-winning dramatic hospital television series, St. Elsewhere, as Dr. Wayne Fiscus for the entire 1982 to 1988 run of the show.
   Today the comedian is juggling his stand-up dates, with his judging duties on AGT while producing his new show on TBS, “Deal With It”.
   Commenting to him that he has a lot going on, Mandel thought a second and said, “I do have a lot going on, both in front of the camera and behind the camera … but I love everything I am doing.”
Interview By Melanie Hulick
   It’s so good to talk to you again. We talked back in April of 2006.
   I’m sorry it took me so long to call back. We must have gotten disconnected … I’m sorry.
   (Hulick laughs) Yes, I believe that’s what happened.
   Anyway, as I was saying …
   (Hulick laughs) Oh my goodness! I can’t wait to see your show at Seneca Allegany. You are hysterical when you do your stand-up.
   Thank you!
   We should let our readers know that this show is not for kids.
   No it isn’t. But you know stand-up, unlike anything else I do, is the one thing that I look at as a giant party and I’m just trying to be the center of attention. There are no marks to hit, no lines to recite, no commercials to throw to … so I don’t edit myself. It’s not that I’m x-rated, I look to be taken from the beaten path - whatever happens that day, that moment, in that room kind of pulls me in that direction. So each performance is special and unlike the night before.
   You are now in your fourth season of America’s Got Talent (AGT) as a judge. It seems that the chemistry between you and the other three judges - Howard Stern, Heidi Klum and Spice Girl Mel B. - is going well.
   Absolutely! We’re all friends, yet we’re all very opinionated and we’re willing to disagree respectively.
   How do you like doing the show from Radio City Music Hall this year?
   Oh I love it! I played two sold-out shows there Sept. 23, 1987 and that was the turning point of my career. I thought I had arrived at that moment. It was a very iconic stage and it was NYC. So it’s great to now watch young people just burst out and start their careers in front of me.
   I would imagine the first time you walked in to do AGT a flood of memories came back.
   Oh man… it sent shivers up and down my spine!
   Your new show, “Deal With It”, has just premiered.
   Yes. I’m the producer. It’s on Wednesdays at 10:30pm on TBS.
   You have a lot going on Howie.
   I do have a lot going on. Well I have a production company, so we produce a lot of things that I’m not necessarily on camera for but I’m very involved in.
   You are from Toronto. Do you have any connections to the Western New York area?
   Yes. When I was a kid we’d go to Crystal Beach and go over to Buffalo and Fantasy Island. I grew up watching Rocketship 7 with Promo the Robot, Irv Weinstein and Channel 7 news.  I feel like Western New York is a suburb of Toronto.
   The venue you will be performing at is south of Buffalo at the Seneca Allegany Casino, which you are going to love it. It’s located in the Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County near the beautiful ski area of Ellicottville.
   I’ve heard it’s a beautiful area. I’m excited to play there.
   You’ve done so many different things in your career. Is there one thing you enjoy more over the others?
   I love doing stand-up. Regardless of acting, hosting, judging or animation, I will always come back to stand-up. That’s the one purest, truest form of what I do. It’s what got my career started and it’s what keeps me in touch with people in America, whether it’s in Buffalo or Los Angeles or NYC, I love it. I love traveling, I love being there, I love being in the room and I’m fascinated by the fact that people will show up to see me do what I do.
   Tickets to Howie Mandel’s performance at Seneca Allegany Casino start at $35 and can be purchased through www.senecacasinos.com or at any Ticketmaster outlet.  For more on Howie, visit www.howiemandel.com.
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