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 Amazon.com