Known almost as much for his fear of germs as his success in Hollywood, comedian/TV host Howie Mandel admits he’s a “nightmare” whenever he dines out at a restaurant.
“I have my own set of dining out pet peeves,” Mandel told knotmove.com. “If my waiter so much as sniffles—even if it’s allergies—I’m out of there. It’s better not to inhale if you want to serve me. I always bring my own set of utensils, I don’t do family dining—too many passed germs—and there’s a lot of things I just don’t eat: I don’t eat a lot of dairy, I don’t eat red meat, I don’t drink, I’m gluten-free…just bring me rice. Or sushi. I do like sushi.”
While Mandel notes that it’s become a lot easier to eat out over the years as restaurants began offering healthier food options (“I used to be an outcast,” he stated. “Now restaurants are all about serving the masses, so healthier items are just part of their staples.”), being a recluse, Mandel said he still travels back home to L.A. every night when he’s on the road so long as he’s performing “on this side of the Mississippi.” Given that he’s performing two nights (Oct. 28 and 29) at The Venetian, though, Mandel should still find some time to visit one of his favorite Las Vegas restaurants while he’s in town: Tao Asian Bistro.
“I love the food at Tao so I like to always go to there, and I’m lucky that I’ll be performing at the same hotel this trip,” Mandel replied when asked about his favorite Vegas restaurants.
Mandel’s two-night engagement marks the first time the popular comedian will be performing in The Venetian Showroom, and Mandel admitted that when the opportunity came up he “jumped on it.”
“I always ate and shopped at The Venetian and now I get to work there,” he said. “It should be fun.”
When asked what fans could expect from his show, Mandel said to “expect the unexpected.”
“I’m not family-orientated,” he said. “I like to improvise and let loose when I’m onstage. I don’t edit myself or set any boundaries; my show is very interactive. Even I don’t know what to expect.”
Given Mandel’s busy schedule, people may wonder when the “America’s Got Talent” judge has time to work on his material. But Mandel says that stand-up comedy is what he does and that he always makes time for his craft.
“With everything I do, I need stand-up—it’s my comfort zone,” he explained. “I’m constantly flying out at night after a shoot to do a concert so that I’m always fresh and on top of things. I’m most excited when I’m doing stand-up; it’s like every night is a party and I’m the center of attention. I always tell people (looking to get into stand-up comedy) to just do it. Anytime you can get onstage, do it. You never know when you might be seen.”
While Mandel may not have to worry about being seen himself these days, he clearly listens to his advice. In addition to being onstage every chance he gets, Mandel is always involved in a variety of projects and admits that whenever something presents itself, he’s usually more than happy to do it.
“Well, except ‘Deal or No Deal,’” Mandel laughed. “I turned that down at first, but my wife told me to do it. Usually, though, I’m probably the most open person there is. If you have an idea, send it my way!”
Some of Mandel’s most memorable television and film roles actually came about that way. Mandel admits he’s “never made a plan in his life,” and whenever an opportunity presented itself—like Gremlins or “St. Elsewhere”—he simply walked through the door. In fact, even his career as a stand-up comic wasn’t planned; on a trip to Los Angeles in 1979, Mandel was coaxed by his friends to get up onstage at the legendary Comedy Story for amateur night. As fate would have it, a producer was in the crowd and immediately hired Mandel to appear on the comedy game show “Make Me Laugh.” His appearance led to several talk show appearances, a stint as Diana Ross’ opening act and eventually “St. Elsewhere.”
Mandel’s latest project, the flash-mob television show “Mobbed,” is another example of fate being on Mandel’s side. Returning Nov. 23 on Fox, “Mobbed” was originally intended to be a one-time special, but ratings led the network to pick up the show (which Mandel describes as “‘Glee’ meets ‘Punked’”) as a series.
“It’s actually pretty exciting: people using crowds to reveal secrets to unsuspecting marks,” Mandel said about the show’s premise. “We’ve had people propose, come out…even quit their jobs.”
Luckily, fans don’t have to worry about Mandel using “Mobbed” as an outlet to announce he’s quitting his job anytime soon. While Mandel admits there’s currently no talk of him becoming one of The Venetian’s newest recurring headliners (joining fellow comedians Joan Rivers, Tim Allen, Rita Rudner and David Spade), the longtime Las Vegas performer is sure to be making audiences laugh in the Entertainment Capital of the World for years to come. As for what makes him laugh, Mandel replied “anything awkward or uncomfortable.”
“I live pretty awkwardly with my OCD, and humor really helped me get by,” Mandel stated. “Ultimately, though, that’s where humor comes from: misfortune and just feeling awkward.”
Phobias aside, it’s hard to associate the former carpet salesman-turned-Emmy nominated actor/TV host with the word misfortune. But it is pretty funny.
Howie Mandel performs Oct. 28 and 29 at 9 p.m. inside The Venetian Showroom. Tickets are $55.50, $75.50 and $95.50, inclusive of taxes and handling fees. A limited number of VIP packages, which include preferred front-row seating and a meet-and-greet with Mandel, are also available for $145.50. To reserve your seat, call 702-414-9000 or simply click here.