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Howie Mandell Says Humor Has Been His Bridge To Sanity

Talk show hostess Bonnie Hunt recently had Howie Mandell on her live talk show to discuss his new book with the appropriate title Here's The Deal Don't Touch Me.  The book was written by Howie with Josh Young and it was published by Bantam.

(Image of Howie Mandell - on NBC "Deal Or No Deal" - NBC - All Rights Reserved)

Bonnie introduced Howie by saying "our first guest is one of the top comedians in the business and is the host of the game show "Deal Or No Deal"  Bonnie welcome Howie back on the show which means he had been there before.

Unfortunately I don't remember when he was last on Bonnie but was happy to see him as a guest because he's so incredibly entertaining.  Not only is he completely wacky, I love him on "Deal Or No Deal" which I don't get to watch as often as I would like due to business and time constraints.

Howie Is A Germophobe With OCD

One thing that Howie often discusses when he appears on various talk shows is how he is a germophobe" with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  Although born in Toronto, Canada, Howie is now based in Los Angeles.  The famous comedian also acted in dramatic shows.  He played Dr. Fiscus on the TV series St. Elsewhere in the 1980s.

(Image of Howie Mandell on NBC "Deal Or No Deal" game show with contestant - NBC - All Rights Reserved).

As part of his germphobia he greets all people with a "fist bump" rather than a hug or handshake.  When he greeted Bonnie he was wearing a vibrant blue plaid shirt with a black sweater.  Howie gave Bonnie an "elbow bump" rather than a fist bump.  He was carrying a Christmas ornament which he was donating to Bonnie's special celebrity ornament program.

Howie told Bonnie he brought her an ornament and "it's the first day of Hannakuh and they wanted a Jew to bring out a, (Christmas ornament) and they don't even, you know at home, if we were more traditional, I would have blue balls."  Bonnie laughed and said "wow, that's a problem between you and your wife and I don't want to get involved."

Bonnie Is A Sick Nurse

Howie shook his finger at Bonnie and said "I didn't mean that, your mind is..."  Bonnie said "I'm sorry, well I'm a nurse.  The famed game show host said "I know, and I'm thrilled to be here with a nurse."  Howie then asked Bonnie what to do with the ornament he brought and she told him to put it on the tree.  Howie went dashing off the stage to put the ornament on the tree.

(Image of Howie Mandell on NBC's "Deal Or No Deal" Game Show - NBC - All Rights Reserved)

Bonnie told Howie "it's beautiful" and Howie said "it's the least I can do." Bonnie explained "we're raising money for cancer research."  Howie said "that's wonderful you always do goo work and that's wonderful."  Then Howie looked at Bonnie and said "you don't have a cold do you?  You sound a little nasal."  Bonnie admitted "I do"  Howie said "You do, I knew it" and he proceeded to move out of his chair away from Bonnie.

Bonnie said "but it's past the incubation period Howie."  The comedian protested "that's a silly thing, people always say that to me, and that's my whole thing, you know I have OCD.  Apparently I'm on a theme show today (another guest was discussing OCD issues), I realized.  And not only that I'm the lead guest on this theme show."

Bonnie agreed "I know, it's not an accident."

Howie quipped "I'm sitting in a dressing room and there's nothing in it.  I pass the other room with the hoarders and everything's in their room.  You know, I've got nothing in my room.  But, I'm also making fun."

Howie continued "I have OCD and one of the many issues I deal with is that I'm a germaphobe and to come promote my book on a show with a sick nurse. It's not the most comfortable thing in the world."

At this point Bonnie was unable to get a word in because Howie was speaking rapid fire.  Bonnie finally was able to comment on Howie calling her "a sick nurse" by saying "that might be a great promotion for my show.  The Sick Nurse, if I called my show that I might have a hit on my hands."

Howie, in commenting on The Sick Nurse said "or it might be the title of a porn film I once saw."  And he repeated "The Sick Nurse."  He continued "but it is an issue for me.  I mean, it's serious.  As much as the book is funny" it's a real issue.

Humor Is A Bridge To Sanity

Bonnie said "Howie, your humor amazingly balances something that is really difficult to deal with because it's real."

Howie said "I'm terrorized every single, you have no idea.  I make fun of it, but I really do have OCD and germs are such a small part of it but I always, my humor has been my bridge to sanity.  If I wasn't laughing, I probably would be in the empty dressing room. Alone."

Bonnie asked Howie how he went through the heart situation he just went through (Howie had a heart scare several months ago). Bonnie asked Howie to explain the situation.

Howie's Recent Heart Scare

Howie said "I had AFIB.  Do you know what that is?"  Bonnie said "of course I do."  Howie said "I was, I had" then Bonnie prompted him and said you had "a cardiac ablation" and Howie said "you know that too?  You know everything."

Howie explained "they actually, they go through the groin.  I didn't want them to go through the groin to my heart."  The comedian said "but apparently that's always the way to a man's heart, is through his groin.  They went there and I was ablated.  But I think I'm OK.  They say I'm OK.  It's not a dangerous thing to have AFIB."

Bonnie asked "how did you discover the AFIB?  You didn't have symptoms."  Howie said "I talk about it (in the book).  No, I didn't. I was tired.  But they were checking me on the show.  On my show I just got a normal checkup and the guy put the stethoscope (on his chest) and he went 'ooh ooh' and that's not a good.  One 'ooh' is good, but "ooh ooh' not good."

Howie Discovering Cardiac Issues

Howie said "so I asked him what was wrong and he said 'have you had your heart checked' and Howie told the guy "well you're doing it."  The guy then told Howie he wanted him to go to a cardiologist "right now."  Howie said his "and I gues he heard my resting heart rate was 180 and I think normally it should be 60 or 70 when resting."  He said his heart "was out of sync so they cardio verted me first."

Howie said "but they put me out and they defibrillated me. You know...clear, clear.  They woke me up.  I woke up and my nipple was burned. They burned my nipple.  That's terrible isn't it?"  Howie said "and then my wife heard about it on TMZ and she wanted to fly out to make sure I was OK.  I didn't want her to see me like this."

TMZ Broke News Of Howie's Heart Problems

Bonnie teased Howie about the news of his heart problems reaching his wife via TMZ and said "you guys got to get cell phones."  Howie explained "well I was out.  I went right to the hospital.  I got cardioverted before (I could call her)."

Bonnie said "you're very lucky they discovered that AFIB.  I mean you would have never.  I don't think you would have had any symptoms from that."  Howie agreed "no, just really tired."

Howie's Burnt And Sliced Nipples

Howie continued with his story "so then I woke up and they had shaved, they had shaved little pieces, I guess they taped things to me.  Right?  Is that what they did?  I don't know.  Burned nipples, taped things.  I didn't want my wife to see me like this so I shaved to try and look better.  I went and bought and with the razor. But I sliced the other nipple.  Yes."

Bonnie was horrified. "noooo"  She said "Howie why do you tell us that?"

Howie said "You asked. You asked. So I had a burned nipple and a sliced one and I shaved to here (he pointed to the middle of his chest) like an idiot, I shaved to here (again pointing).   It's in the book.  When does hair stop here?  So I had hairy pullups and two bad nipples.  This is how my wife, my wife came to see me.  To make sure I was OK.  But that's the point everyone laughs.  I was terrorized.  You have no idea."

Howie's Hospital Stay Stories

Howie continued "I wouldn't let them undress me.  I was in the hospital, I was lying in the bed.  They didn't even give me a private room, I had a semi-private room with another guy.  It was an old guy wearing a hospital robe looking out the window and the back of the robe was open.  He's looking at the moon, I'm looking at his moon (his butt).  It was horrible. It was horrible. And I'm tramautized.  I'm always traumatized. But I'm medicated and I go to therapy.  I am."

Bonnie said "but it is helpful."

Howie said "look at me, how smooth and calm I am.  And now I'm got myself so under control that I'm the lead guest on a show with hoarders and diagnosed with OCD."

He continued "wait till my mom sees this episode.  I can't wait. She's probably watching right now.  Look whom I'm with.  I'm with the hoarders."  Howie said "I'm not making fun.  There's no cure for me.  I tried.  I went to doctors."

Howie "my life, my wife, my kids, you have no idea.  You see me for a couple of minutes on a talk show and you're living.  Try living with me."

Bonnie told Howie how much he makes her laugh and how talented he is.  He replied "thank you, I'm a pretty lucky guy."

He said "doing this is 180 degrees from where I thought I would be.  If you know what I mean.  If you read the book, I was such an outcast as a kid because of my issues (OCD, germophobe)."

Why Howie Doesn't Wear Shoelaces

Howie explained that "he doesn't wear (shoes with) shoelaces because if they get untied he won't touch them.  But they didn't know I had OCD.  A a little kid they (the shoes) would come untied and they would make fun of me because I couldn't tie my shoelaces.  But I didn't want to say I was afraid of the dirt.  So then the shoes would become loose and I couldn't keep the shoes on and all day long (he showed how he shuffled his feet) I wouldn't be lifting my feet."

Howie's ADD And ADHD

He also said "I have severe ADD and ADHD and I couldn't focus.  I knew I had to go to the bathroom and on the way to the bathroom I'd see something and I would forget and then I would just wet myself.  So I was wet and my shoes were like that and I was a mess. Oh you have no idea.  You have no idea.  And I didn't want them to know I wet myself so I would jump into puddles so people would think I feel into a puddle.  That was easier.  But then there were no puddles near the school. I had to go find puddles.  You have no idea. People just thought I was insane."

Howie "now I'm in this job which is about meeting people.  You have no idea, every day, how medicated I need to be."  Bonnie asked what happened if someone wants to hug Howie.  Are they warned not to do that?  Howie said "I can hug, I just can't touch thing. I have three children.  I hug, I promise you that."

But I'm out there, I'm having a good time.  I celebrate.  I wanted to be part of (Bonnie's decorated set) the Christmas theme so I wore Holiday socks."  He showed off his socks.

Howie's Sand Fly Incident

Bonnie asked Howie about "the sand flies" he was traumatized as a child.

Howie explained "I was in Florida, I was like 7 or 8 years old, look how happy I am (they showed a photo of him as a small child) and they put me on the beach.  So I was playing on the beach and the sand fly came and bit me.  I thought I got a mosquito bite, I thought it was a mosquito bite.  The next morning I woke up and there were 20 bumps all over my body and they were itchy and I scratched them and they'd get long and crawl away under my skin.  Everything was living under my skin. And when I went home and got tested, the sand fly had laid its larva in my skin and they were all living under my skin."

Bonnie asked what happened next?

Howie At The International Dermatologist Convention

Howie said "and then we went to a dermatologist who took me to a convention.  I was like 'this is my first show'.  He continued "and they laid me out in front of this whole audience of all International dermatologists.   They took off my pants.  I'm in my underpants.  Things are crawling all over my legs and he takes out liquid nitrogen and starts dropping it."

Howie explained "Do you know what that is?  It's like so cold it burns.  My skin was bubbling.  I was screaming.  My mom said 'no more' she came and carried me out in my underpants into the parking lot with blisters and then everynight, she didn't want to take me back to the doctor, she would rub each one forever until it would break, bleed and then we would clean it out.  It took forever.  It took a month.  My mom did that.  She saved me. But the thing is, every time I think I have dirt on my hands that's what I.  Wow.  I don't have to go to therapy today."

Howie said "it's a funny book."  Bonnie said "there's nothing like being educated with humor because you remember everything you read."  Bonnie said "I love you Howie."

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