How to Go from Famous to Infamous in 15 Seconds: Howie Mandel's TikTok Disaster
In a mere 15 seconds a show business veteran went from famous to infamous in the strangest and grossest way imaginable.
Who had Howie Mandel blows up his career with an anal prolapse TikTok video on their 2022 celebrity bingo card?
On July 9th, in a mere 15 seconds, actor-comedian-reality show Judge, Howie Mandel went from having a respectable 40 year career in the entertainment industry to being the Anal Prolapse guy. It wasn’t even his prolapse, according to him it was a friend who suffered this rather serious medical problem. For reasons that will have his Hollywood Agent and the Public Relations team at NBC’s America’s Got Talent sweating for days, Mandel took to the TikTok app with a photo of a man’s prolapsed anus and asked if anyone knew if the condition were related to COVID-19. For the record, it is not.
The clip immediately went viral as Mandel has a sizable 9 million followers on the app. Many of these people aren’t aware that Howie Mandel was once an actor and comedian and only knew him for his goofy presence on the hit reality show America’s Got Talent. But now, because of his astonishing TikTok infamy, Mandel has gone from America’s Got Talent to someone who’s Wikipedia page will now forever carry the entry
“Mandel courted controversy in July of 2022 when he posted a TikTok video that featured a man’s prolapsed anus, uncensored.”
If Mandel’s Wikipedia does not include this particular information, I will make sure to rectify that. I feel like the word rectify may not be appropriate for some reason. Anyway, why am I so fascinated by this? It’s not merely because most of the internet is now talking about Howie Mandel. Rather, my fascination lies with the shocking immediacy of online discourse. The relatively benign place that Howie Mandel held in our collective popular culture was shattered in a mere 15 seconds.
This year actually marks 40 years since Howie Mandel first entered the popular consciousness. In 1982, Mandel, then an unknown Canadian actor and comedian, landed a role on the NBC drama St. Elsewhere, a show that also featured the debut of Denzel Washington. 40 years later, Denzel Washington is a beloved icon, Academy Award winner, and blockbuster star. And, 40 years later, Howie Mandel’s name is now the reason millions of people Googled the words Anal Prolapse.
As Howie Mandel’s career progressed from 1982 on, he created his first seemingly lasting legacy as that comedian who put a glove on his head. Yes, Mandel’s stage act included several instances of Mandel taking a rubber surgical glove, placing it over his head, making sure to cover his nose, and using his nose to inflate the glove like a balloon on his head. This used to be the strangest thing about Howie Mandel’s place in pop culture until he seemingly decided that he’d rather be associated with a condition wherein the rectum stretches and protrudes from the anus.
The question that most people would like to ask is why? Why did Howie Mandel post an actual, uncensored photo of his friend’s prolapsed anus on TikTok? What could have possessed the man? He wasn’t hacked, he is literally in the video asking bewilderingly if the condition were related to COVID-19. This is something that Howie Mandel chose to do either out of an earnest and complete disconnect from basic medical knowledge or as some bizarre form of joke that only he seems to understand.
I am not so concerned with why he did it. I am far more interested in how people are reacting to it and the effect this may have on Mandel’s career going forward. He’s gone from everyone’s beloved competition show Uncle to being completely associated with anal prolapse. He did that in 15 seconds. That’s how long the video was, 15 seconds. In 15 seconds Howie Mandel took a respectable 40 year career in the entertainment industry and potentially destroyed it.
Before you start talking about cancel culture or any other such nonsense, I am not writing this to ‘Cancel’ Howie Mandel. I am not opposed to the idea if this is what he thinks modern comedy is, but that’s not the point. Rather, I am very curious to see how executives at NBC feel about one of their stars becoming the face of Anal Prolapse. Will it be joked about on America’s Got Talent? Will contestants make reference to Howie’s infamy when they are on stage awaiting or reacting to his judgment?
What about the advertisers on America’s Got Talent who rely on Mandel’s friendly face and good humor to sell their products, are they going to be okay advertising their products with the aid of ‘the anal prolapse guy?’ Think about this for just a moment, NBC executives and advertisers are likely already in meetings having to discuss Howie Mandel’s anal prolapse video. There are Hollywood crisis teams being activated to draft press releases and answer questions from queasy advertisers.
What was just a 15 second Tik Tok video has created a bizarre chain of events that include me writing this bizarre article and having to repeatedly use the words ‘anal prolapse.’ In 15 seconds Howie Mandel changed the lives of millions of people who thought he was just a guy on a show they like. Now, he’s a guy who taught them what an anal prolapse is. 15 seconds is all it took for a 40 year entertainment industry veteran to change the worldwide perception of him from a minor figure to infamous, controversial weirdo.