America’s Got Talent judge Howie Mandel talks struggles while performing

Howie Mandel on America's Got Talent
Howie Mandel on America’s Got Talent. Pic credit: NBC

One of the running jokes on America’s Got Talent between the judges involved Howie Mandel and his obsessive-compulsive disorder.

However, while it is a joke on the show, it is not a joke in Howie’s life. The comedian does deal with OCD every day of his life and in a recent interview, he said the OCD is “debilitating.”

This also affects his performance on America’s Got Talent and his role as a standup comedian.

Howie Mandel on his OCD

In an interview with Yahoo Life, Howie Mandel talked about his “debilitating” OCD.

“I didn’t realize until really late in life how important [mental health treatment] was,” Howie said. “Up until that time, there wasn’t the title. I thought my struggle was my normal.”

He then described OCD by calling it “obtrusive thoughts” that lead him to obsessions that keep him from moving forward. He said this also leads to “negative and dark thoughts” that can take over his life, leading to rituals.

“You can’t show up,” he said of OCD. “You can’t be productive. It’s mind-boggling.”

Howie said that there are things that he has to do, and there is no basis in reality on why he feels the need to do so. It is all because of the OCD making him scared.

“Touch the doorknob ten times before you turn it to the left otherwise somebody’s gonna die,” Howie said. “[OCD] will inhibit every aspect of your life.” 

He even admitted that he has been late to events because he has an obsessive hand-washing routine.

Howie talks mental health issues in today’s society

However, Howie said things are getting better for people now, thanks to the awareness of the health issue. When he was growing up, there was nothing to call it and he was made to feel embarrassed or ignorant. Kids now know more about why they have these feelings.

Howie has more than one child who also deals with OCD.

“They’re just not embarrassed and they’re informed,” Howie said. “Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to mental health.”

Howie also said that Hollywood was not a good place to be when dealing with mental health issues.

“Sometimes when you watch somebody going through a period of mental health issues, it ends up being pretty lucrative for gossip and social media,” Howie said.

As a result, this causes people dealing with mental heath issues to be exploited and celebrated rather than getting the help they need.

America’s Got Talent premieres on Tuesday, May 31, at 8/7c on NBC.

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