Comedian/actor Howie Mandel compares comedy to furniture. He says his stand-up comedy routine is "70 percent improvisation so it's always different. It's like den furniture. I am French provincial."
Mandel, who plays Dr. Fiscus on the television series "St. Elsewhere," will perform at the Warner Theatre on Nov. 2 as part of his 20-city "Watusi Tour." "Comedy is hard to do alone," he says. "It's hard to do comedy when you're standing in your closet wrapped in tinfoil." He finds performing on stage "really scary, but I like that fear.
"I enjoy doing what I do," says Mandel. "I like acting as much as comedy." His one career goal, he says, "is to be a permanent judge on 'Dance Fever.' " Mandel says he was a judge once on the television show, but got edited out. "I gave a score of 4, but," he justifies the low rating, "I didn't like their costumes . . . and they weren't very original."
As a youth, Mandel was expelled from school three times for his grand-scale pranks. "The last time was for subcontracting a construction company to put an addition onto the school library . . . It was so cramped in there . . . Even though I wasn't going to pay, I think I showed responsibility in going after the lowest bid."
He was reprimanded for his escapades, but, Mandel says, "I always had a reason for doing them. They weren't just practical jokes . . . I'm still doing the same things, but instead of getting in trouble, now I get paid for it."
Mandel tours on the weekends and returns home to Los Angeles during the week for "St. Elsewhere." He says he likes the fast pace. "I don't get tired that often. I don't sleep very much. I don't like it. You just lie there with your eyes closed. I'd rather go to a buffet."