Howie Mandel is the host of the game shows “Deal or No Deal” and “Take It All.” Does he like to play games?
—Jamie O’Leary, Tioga, N.D.
Mandel, 57, admits to not being a good game player. But he is attracted to watching others play, especially when the game is more about making life-changing decisions, like on “Deal or No Deal” and “Take It All,” as opposed to games that require you to know the answers to trivia questions.
“I’m fascinated watching people make decisions and moves,” says the Canadian-born TV host/actor. “I watch, right in front of my eyes, somebody’s life change forever. You know, somebody shows up, they just graduated college, and then 40 minutes later, they’re standing there with hundreds of thousands of dollars. And with that, their life is not the same as it was when they walked in.”
The strategy and gamesmanship is the lure that keeps Mandel coming back to his job as host, but it is also because people never fail to surprise him.
“I’ve learned that I know nothing,” he says. “I’ve learned that you cannot judge a book by its cover. I learned that I’m fascinated with the human condition. I’ve learned that if you put people in different environments, they probably don’t even know what they’re going to do.”
So would the “America’s Got Talent” judge ever consider being a contestant on any game show?
“I don’t have the guts,” he says. “You know, if I showed up some place and somebody handed me five bucks, I would leave with my $5 and be thrilled that I got it. So, it’s amazing to me the guts that people have to play a game, to keep going on, and to push it to the limits.”