Howie Mandel Reveals How He's Been Pranking His Wife While Stuck in Quarantine

Howie Mandel

When the coronavirus outbreak first struck, Howie Mandel -- a famous germophobe -- was one of the first celebs to embrace self-isolation and social distancing. Now, after more than 10 weeks, he's getting a little stir crazy and is turning to pulling harmless pranks on his wife to pass the time.

The America's Got Talent star joined Jimmy Kimmel via video chat on Wednesday's Jimmy Kimmel Live, and he opened up about what the outbreak and the subsequent lockdowns have been like for him.

"This is the nightmare going on inside my head for the last 64 years," Mandel said of the public's newfound fear of contact with other people. "Welcome to my nightmare, Jimmy. This is what it's like to be Howie Mandel."

"It's not fun being me. Even from the cusp of this, it's not fun being me," he added with a laugh.

The comic and AGT judge went on to say that Kimmel is "lucky" because he's got a show to do each night. Meanwhile, Mandel says he's "got to look for things to do each and every day."

One thing Mandel loves is pranking people, but being stuck at home means he's only got his wife to pull pranks on. So that's exactly what he does.

"My wife, like a lot of other people, are doing puzzles," Mandel explained. "I don't like puzzles, but she buys like thousand-piece puzzles and she sits there, and that's her whole focus."

"So, the second day that she had the puzzle -- and I've done it to three puzzles already -- I took one piece, and I hide it, and then I just sit there waiting for the next couple days, just waiting. And then there's always one missing!"

"Then she screams, I'm in such joy and she's in such pain. That's the yin and yang of a long marriage," Mandel joked. "We've been married for 40 years."

Mandel also said that he hasn't been getting food delivered to the house, because he's "the biggest germaphobe in the world," and he's been shedding pounds because of it.

"I've lost between 15 and 20 pounds because… my wife is cooking," Mandel quipped, lowering his voice to a conspiratorial tone, to avoid being overheard by his wife. "She's not good… I told her to make a cookbook. We'll sell it as a diet book, but she can make it a recipe book."

That being said, Mandel admitted that he hasn't been helping out at all in the kitchen because he "can't cook either."

"I shouldn't throw stones," Mandel said. "Both of us are just lost in this house. We're hungry. Please send food."

Later in the interview, Mandel addressed Tuesday's season 15 premiere of America's Got Talent, and addressed the standout performance from Archie Williams -- the soulful singer who spent decades in a maximum security prison for a crime he didn't commit, until his exoneration in March 2019.

"I don't know if you watched yesterday's show, but we had Archie, the guy that was incarcerated for 36 years. And we're complaining about 10 weeks!" Mandel said.

ET spoke with Mandel at the AGT premiere, just days before California issued its safer-at-home order, and he dished on the precautions he was taking against the virus at the time.

"I [already] don't shake hands and now I've taken it to another level: I don't inhale. I am not inhaling," Mandel told ET's Lauren Zima. "Everybody's watching, everybody's aware. Welcome to Howie's world."


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