In the midst of a successful career as a stand-up comedian, actor, and TV host, Howie Mandel questioned everything after appearing on Howard Stern’s radio show 18 years ago when he was subject to a cruel prank.
Mandel has an impressive resume to his name, not only is he a judge on the reality competition America’s Got Talent, but he’s also the host of the game show Deal or No Deal. He is a talented actor and had starring roles in the TV show St Elsewhere and in movies such as Little Monsters and Walk Like a Man.
In his personal life, Mandel had kept his battles with obsessive-compulsive and attention deficit disorders under wraps since being diagnosed as a child.
However, Howie Mandel was forced to open up about his struggles when Howard Stern had a cruel prank up his sleeve.
Howie Mandel almost passed out on Howard Stern Show after cruel prank
In 2006 Howie Mandel appeared on the Howard Stern Show as a guest but after his segment, little did he know, Howard Stern had a cruel prank in the works.
At the time of the incident, Mandel had kept his OCD diagnosis private and had never spoke about it publicly. Mandel’s OCD caused him to have a severe case of germaphobia which means he can’t touch some things because it causes him to panic.
Knowing Mandel had OCD, Stern and the crew took away all the tissues from the studio, as they knew Mandel wouldn’t want to touch the door handles with his bare skin when he left.
Howard Stern ensured the cameras were still rolling when Howie Mandel was leaving the studio, and the prank commenced. The host asked the crew not to open the door for him, which would force him to touch the handle. The actor then began to panic as he didn’t want to open the door himself, and everyone started to laugh at him.
Mandel recalled the incident in a recent telephone interview: “I started to hyperventilate and blurted out, ‘Howard, I go to a psychiatrist and have obsessive-compulsive disorder and you have to open the door or I’m going to pass out.’”
Finally, someone opened the door for him, but it has scarred Mandel to this day. Knowing he was live on air, Mandel recounts: “It was the scariest and most emptiest moment I had experienced.”
Howard Stern Show prank changed Howie’s perspective on OCD
When Mandel left the building he found himself alone and humiliated on the streets of Manhattan. Howie revealed in a podcast interview with Imposters, what was going through his mind at the time, stating: “I just think I’m going to just run through the door into traffic. I’m just going to run into traffic. I can’t cope with this kind of humiliation, and pain, and I just got to end it. I just got to end it.”
However, just moments later someone on the street approached him, an encounter which changed his whole perspective. The man told Mandel that he’d just heard his interview, and whispered in his ear: “Me too.”
It was then that Mandel realized “I wasn’t alone” and from that point on Mandel began receiving letters from fans relating to him and applauding his bravity. The comedian then decided to become an advocate for mental health, in hopes of breaking down the stigma and being a voice of reason for his fans.
Howard Stern pranks Howie Mandel once again
This isn’t the only time that Howard Stern has pranked Howie. Another time Mandel appeared on the show, Stern showed him a picture of Beetlejuice having hair (from a private area) removed on the sofa where Howie was sitting.
However, the prank had no way near as bad an effect as the door handle. Whilst the picture bothered him, he wasn’t sitting in the same spot as Beetlejuice, so he didn’t mind too much.
In the same interview Howie admitted his obsessive compulsive disorder was as bad as ever and whilst Howard tried to persuade Howie that he could beat the condition, he wasn’t convinced. Howie explained that he had been in therapy for years, so he’s not sure it could all be cured on The Howard Stern Show. After all those traumatic pranks – we’re not sure the OCD can be cured by Stern either!
If you are affected by any issues raised in the article or would like someone to speak to, please call the Samaritans for free on 116 123. You can also email them at [email protected] or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch in the UK. In the US, please visit Samaritans USA for more information.
You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text 741741 to get in touch with the Crisis Text Line. Americans can now call or text 988 to reach out and speak to a counselor.
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