Howie Mandel is happyBy Tim Ryan
doing his last show of
the century in Hawaii
Howie Mandel is coming to town. But right now the comedian-actor-talk show host is on the Los Angeles set of his newest film, "The Washers," a "dramedy" about a murder mystery that takes place in a laundromat.
The former carpet salesman describes his comedy routine as an evolving process that reflects his stage of life at the time he's performing.
Now married with three kids and living in Los Angeles, the frenetic energy of his youth has mellowed with age. Or has it?
Question: "You've done acting, stand-up comedy, children programs, a talk show. Is there anything else you want to do?"
Answer: "I take everything as it comes. I've never, ever had a plan. I went to the Comedy Club (in Los Angeles) as a tourist (1979) during open-mike night and was spotted by a producer who hired me for Dr. Wayne Fiscus on 'St. Elsewhere.' The television appearance led to movie appearances. I did a stint on 'Regis and Kathy' that led to the talk show. I just do it."
Q: A lot comedians like yourself are Canadian, including Jim Carrey. Are Canadians wittier than Americans?
A: No, in fact our jokes are 40 percent less funny due to the higher taxes there.
Q: Do your three kids think dad's funny?
A: It's apples and oranges with them because they grew up with me like this and, scary as it seems, I'm their main reality so it's no big deal. But they are fascinated with their friends' dads, like those who sell cars. They don't see me as doing anything special and are totally unimpressed by stories about me.
Q: How do they like your comedy shows?
A: Are you nuts! They can't see my show because it's too risque. One time my 15-year-old daughter heard a part of my HBO show which I was editing at home. I had to sit her down and tell her that under no circumstances can she use any of that language, unless, of course, she has to pay the mortgage.
Q: You sound protective.
A: My wife and I were pretty serious about never potty-training her so any dates would have to be kept very short.
Q: She must be proud of going out in public with a celebrity.
A: Yeah right, I have to drop her off in the next neighborhood so her friends don't see us together. I'm the most humiliating thing in her life. She's not too happy we're sharing the same planet.
Q: Why have you performed so often in Hawaii?
A: I love everything about Hawaii. I want to move the entertainment industry there. I wanted to do my last show of the century in Hawaii.
Q: Does Howie surf?
A: No, but Howie watches surfers.
Q: Does Howie get sunburned?
A: No, but Howie watches people get sunburned.
Q: Well, Howie must like like Hawaiian food.
A: Well, Howie likes watching people eat what's supposed to be Hawaiian food.
Q: What do you mean?
A: The poi thing. I still don't know if that's real food or just a trick locals pull on tourists while they stand back and watch.
Q: Isn't it sort of interesting scheduling that you're doing a Christmas Day performance?
A: Hey, I'm Jewish. Tell me, are there any Jews on Kauai? My wife is Jewish so I know she'll be there.
Q: Speaking of women, what do you look for in the opposite sex: beauty or brains?
A: I'm married. I don't look for either, right honey?
Q: Why were you kicked out of three high schools?
A: They didn't understand funny. Like the time I hired a construction company to build an addition onto the school library. Funny, yeah? Now I get paid for that kinda stuff.
Q: Does fame ever make you sad?
A: Only when I think of Barney; his fame makes me very sad.
Q: You wanted to be a doctor when you were growing up?
A: Yes, and I played one on 'St. Elsewhere,' so my mother was thrilled: You know, 'My son the doctor!'
Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: I never want to grow up.
Q: What do you think about when you're alone?
A: I think about being with a lot of people.
Q: What do you want for Christmas?
A: I told you, I'm Jewish, so give me a dreidel.
On stage: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Venue: Sheraton Waikiki Hawaii Ballroom
Tickets: $30 and $35 at Foodland, Sack 'N Save, Tempo Music, UH Campus Center, MWR Naval Base Kunia, Honolulu Club and ticketslive.com
Charge by phone: 526-4400
Neighbor-island shows: Saturday, Kauai Marriott Resort; Sunday, Kona Surf Convention Center; Wednesday, Westin Maui
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