Nick Canon, Heidi Klum, Howard Stern, Mel B, Howie Mandel from AMERICA'S GOT TALENT - Season 9 | ©2014 NBC/Justin Stephens

Nick Canon, Heidi Klum, Howard Stern, Mel B, Howie Mandel from AMERICA'S GOT TALENT - Season 9 | ©2014 NBC/Justin Stephens

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT, NBC’s summer variety show, is back for its ninth season, and comedian/actor/producer Howie Mandel is back as one of its judges, along with Mel B (aka Melanie Brown), Heidi Klum and Howard Stern.

Mandel is present at a Q&A session that NBC holds for TALENT, which airs Tuesdays at 8 PM. Following the panel, Mandel comes to the edge of the stage to answer some follow-up questions.

ASSIGNMENT X: Is the performer in you satisfied with your judging duties here, or does watching other people perform make you want to perform more, or …?

HOWIE MANDEL: My biggest joy in life is to watch somebody perform. I love, I have empathy – I love performing, but I love watching and being entertained. So this is like a consummate job for me.

AX: There are a lot of participants in the show who aren’t American, including judges Mel B, who’s English, and Heidi Klum, who’s German. Do they ever bring their cultural interests to AMERICA’S GOT TALENT?

MANDEL: I don’t think that it’s a cultural thing. I think entertainment is entertainment. The biggest stars in the world have always come out of America, and I think we set the bar for what’s funny. If you go into a small town in America, even as a comedian, they’ll have jokes and different kinds of humor that is very rural. But if you can make all ofAmerica laugh, or if you can entertain all of America, or wow them, you can entertain the world.

AX: Has AMERICA’S GOT TALENT turned out to be what you expected it to be when you first became involved with it, or …?

MANDEL: All that and more. I’ve watched it from Day One. I never dreamed that I’d get the call and have the opportunity to judge it, but I grew up watching THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW. It’s the last bastion of variety. I love it.

AX: Do you get any inspiration from the show for what you do in your own comedy?

MANDEL: Life inspires me for what I do in my own work. I think as a comedian, I comment on everything, and there is no better place to see absolutely everything than AMERICA’S GOT TALENT.

AX: On the show, some people touch or rub your head. You don’t like having your hands touched – are you more okay about having your head touched?

MANDEL: Every other part [is okay to touch] but my hands. That’s how I had children, you know [laughs].

AX: Is there anything you’d like to say about AMERICA’S GOT TALENT right now?

MANDEL: Just look for a great summer of entertainment.

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Article:Exclusive Interview with Howie Mandel on Season 9 of AMERICA’s GOT TALENT

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