We’ve all heard heard the story that Howie Mandel is a germophobe who won’t shake hands and has trouble with hotel rooms. Our pal Ray Richmond says he’s heard it so often, he says, “It made me curious as to whether the charge was true or simply evolved out of an urban legend, so when I had the chance to chat with Mandel last week about his breakout success hosting NBC’s Deal or No Deal, I felt compelled to find out conclusively for myself what the deal was about Howie and the microbes in our midst.”
Ray says Howie talked about it “without a trace of anxiety”: “Well, I’m not so much a germophobe exactly. What I have is OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). It’s true that I won’t shake hands. I also have a lot of rituals. I do wash my hands repeatedly. And what I do in my life to deal with it, I’m able to make fun of in my comedy act…“…I’m also surrounded by great people and a great family who have helped me through, and combined with therapy it’s helped make me a highly functioning person with OCD. But not a lot of people are as lucky as me.”
Howie traces the condition back to his childhood when, Ray says, “he was the 180-degree opposite of the gregarious, optimistic, outgoing dude he is today.”
And that’s one reason he’s been invited to speak on Capitol Hill on May 7 in recognition of National Children’s Mental Health Day. Ray says Howie will be “making a case for embracing mental health as an important and shame-free element of the medical establishment when it comes to kids and adults alike.”
Check out the entire Howie Mandel interview here. And bookmark Ray’s Past Deadline site. He writes for The Hollywood Reporter and he’s the most honest, thoughtful, entertaining and incisive columnist in the industry.