I’m not one who tends to get star struck. I’ve interviewed my fair share of celebrities over the years, and usually don’t think too much of it. But meeting comedian Howie Mandel backstage after his show in MGM Grand’s Hollywood Theater had me practically floating on air.
I started out pretty cool. “I’m Aleza Freeman. I interviewed you recently for VEGAS.com,” I told Mandel matter-of-factly, making a mental note not to shake his hand (Mandel is a self-proclaimed germ-a-phobe).
“Ah yes, Aleza, I really enjoyed your article,” said Mandel.
And this is where I melted into a puddle of Mandel-made mush.
“I … I … I LOVE you!!!!!” I blurted out, as my husband stood next to me bearing witness. I should add here that I’m married to a bald, Jewish guy named Howard (an admittedly strange, yet complete coincidence).
Mandel seemed unfazed — though amused — by my proclamation of undying love. He must have noted that crazed, starry look in my eye, and acted quickly to disarm me of my idol worship, turning the conversation to my Howard and me.
I can honestly say that Howie Mandel is a class act and genuinely nice man.
Most know Mandel from roles on television, as host of “Deal or No Deal” and “Howie Do It” or for voicing Gizmo in “Gremlins” and Bobby in the animated series “Bobby’s World.”
But his stand-up act is where he truly shines. He is energetic, hilarious and significantly less PG than an episode of “Deal or No Deal.” He has an uncanny ability to improvise and will react to whatever is thrown his way. The night I saw the show, a very drunk woman in the first row (no, it wasn’t me) persistently interrupted him. Mandel did not even flinch. Instead he ran with her eccentricities and created a once-in-a-lifetime experience for everyone.