While in Las Vegas this last week, I had a close encounter with Howie... Howie Mandel. You know him... he's the host of Deal or No Deal. I've actually followed his career since the 1970s, when he was a young stand-up comedienne. That probably helped me recognize him even though he was in disguise and as hundreds of people passed him not realizing who he was or what was going on.
Let me start at the beginning. As Don and I walked down to the MGM Grand to see the lion exhibit, we came to an open area in front of the hotel where there were a couple of camera men and a few others that looked busy doing nothing that we could figure out. We had nothing better to do so we sat down next to the area; we watched and waited.
There was one guy that seemed to be getting a lot of attention by the busy looking people, but he wasn't anyone I recognized. He had wild orange hair, but I still didn't think he was anyone famous. It seemed like he was being prepped... for something. We kept watching. In one area there were the cameramen. In another there was this ordinary guy with the flaming orange hair surrounded by 3 "preppers." There were a few people on the cell phones hanging out around two vans. And there were three women walking the perimeter holding clipboards. But not a lot of activity. It was like they were waiting for something... or somebody.
We were just about to walk away, thinking that we could wait all day for something to happen, when I noticed the cameramen had their cameras on their shoulders and focused on one guy (not flaming orange hair dude - he came over later). The guy mostly had his back to anyone walking by, but as I stood there watching and studying this one guy, I realized who he was. It was Howie Mandel, but he was in disguise. He was wearing a wig of long dark hair, as well as a baseball cap and sunglasses. I then remembered he hosts another show called Howie Do It , a hidden camera reality comedy where he dons different disguises.
About this time, we were shooed away by the ladies with the clipboards. There was really nothing to see so we went on into the MGM and enjoyed watching the lions. Before returning back to our hotel, we stopped in at the Starbucks inside the MGM. And who was sitting right there talking with a couple of guys from his crew? Yep, Howie - still in disguise and as if he was a normal person hanging out in Starbucks.
So my instant dilemma was; do I say something to him (remember my experience and afterthoughts on crossing paths with Eddie McCaffrey?). It was obvious that no one else recognized him, or if they did, they weren't saying anything. I would have loved to have asked if I could have my picture taken with him, but it just didn't seem appropriate.
So as I walked passed him, I leaned into his table space to where he had to look at me. I simply said, "I love your show." He smiled up at me and said thank you. As I started walking away, I turned back and added, "both of them." He thanked me again and turned back to his companions as I went on to find a table.
I sat down across the room from him and his group. I was amazed how many people walked right pass him, not giving him a second glance, or if they did, not recognizing who he really was. Therefore, my satisfaction was two-fold. I not only said something to him, letting him know I recognized him, but I recognized him in the first place.