(CBS Local)– Howie Mandel has been in the public eye since the 1970s.
The stand-up comedian got his start when he accepted a dare from a friend to go out on stage at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club in Toronto. Over 40 years later, Mandel is known around the world as the host of “Deal Or No Deal” and a judge on “America’s Got Talent.” Mandel has had a lot of great moments in his career, but one of the most unforgettable was performing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
“I auditioned for Johnny Carson many times and I was told by the booker that I was not his cup of tea and I’ll never be on,” said Mandel in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “As luck would have it at that time, Joan Rivers was the fill-in. Joan Rivers was getting these humongous ratings. Joan was coming to work on her monologues at the Comedy Store. I had a raging fever and I did my set and crushed it. She told me that was very funny. I did the Tonight Show with Joan Rivers. Johnny watched and asked if I was interested in doing it with him and I ended up doing it 22 times. That was a pivotal moment in my career.”
Mandel has a new Showtime comedy special called “Howie Mandel Presents Howie Mandel At The Howie Mandel Comedy Club.” The 63-year-old likes that a whole new generation is discovering his stand-up comedy for the first time.
“My favorite thing and my most comfortable place is stand-up,” said Mandel. “I started realizing that there’s a whole generation that doesn’t know me. I recorded my first stand-up special in 20 years. It’s because the lovely people at the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City opened up the Howie Mandel Room. They honored me with that. I still do hundreds of live shows a year, but people don’t know that. I kind of like that people are discovering me a stand-up for the first time.”
The host of “Deal Or No Deal” has came a long way in his career and life. Mandel is open about his struggles with mental health and is focused on embracing everything in the present.
“I’m really comfortable with discomfort. I have to be uncomfortable,” said Mandel. “A big part of my personal coping skill is distraction. Feeling like I’m in trouble and embarrassing myself in front of thousands of people really takes care of the voices in my head. I feel comfortable being myself. I think it’s therapy, age, medication, and the people I surround myself with. I’m never totally comfortable. Maybe for moments when I’m totally alone.”