Mandel at IMS: The Highs and Lows of Howie

Over the weekend, IMS announced that Howie Mandel will take on honorary PA duties at the Indy 500, which entails calling “all cars to the grid” before the race, a job once performed by the dearly departed Tom Carnegie.

Which got us thinking: Is it just us, or has Mandel been around forever?

The short answer: Yes. Here, a list of high- and lowlights from a long and sometimes-distinguished career.

High: St. Elsewhere (1982). Mandel played the goofy Dr. Fiscus—a lovable character in one of the most beloved TV dramas of the decade.

Low: A Fine Mess (1986). The forgettable screwball comedy co-starred Mandel and Cheers phenom Ted Danson. A New York Times movie reviewer opined that the movie’s writer “piles on the pileups until you may suspect that he is trying to distract the audience from the absence of a diverting story or dialogue.”

High: Inflatable latex (1980s). As a standup comedian, Mandel made blowing up a surgical glove with his nose a signature (and lucrative) bit. Amazingly, audiences never seemed to tire of it.

Low: Good Grief (1990). Jeopardizing much of the good television karma Mandel had accumulated on St. Elsewhere, the ostensibly funny sitcom, set in a funeral home (get it?), was canceled after one season.

High: Deal or No Deal (2005). Ditching the zany persona—and his hair—to host the game-show ratings cow, Mandel proved himself a master of reinvention.

Low: “The most annoying man in the history of planet earth” (2011). An assessment of Mandel, offered by Piers Morgan, Mandel’s co-judge on America’s Got Talent, in an Access Hollywood interview. Mandel’s notoriously irritating pranks, the buttoned-down Morgan confessed, made him want to “torture and dismember” him.


Image: Cover from Mandel’s comedy album “Fits Like a Glove” (1986), via