Howie Mandel has become a spokesperson for American Standard while promoting the self-cleaning ActiClean toilet. At first, this would seem to be an odd coupling: comedian whose brand of humor is about as offbeat as comedy can be takes on serious role promoting a toilet. The same crazy guy who used to pull a latex glove over his head and exhale through his nose to inflate it until sufficient pressure would cause it to take off like a rocket. Howie had to stop doing that after damaging his sinuses. We became fans after enjoying his stand-up comedy routines and “St. Elsewhere” TV series.

As luck would have it, a chance encounter led to an opportunity to interview Howie via Skype and an opportunity to inject a bit of potty humor in the process. Arrangements were made, the date was set, and on the appointed day I was seriously ill with pneumonia and had been running a fever over 101°F for a week. The show must go on, so I conducted the interview soaked in fever sweat.

When the appointed time was getting close, I started up the Skype app on my iPad and waited. My cell phone buzzed and it was Howie’s assistant who asked if I had Skype running and gave me the contact information. Once we were connected and he confirmed video and sound were OK, he went to get Howie from another room. Howie entered, took a seat, looked into the lens, and we started the interview:

Dave Yates: Howie, great to see you!

Howie Mandel: It’s great to be seen!

DY: Howie, your list of accomplishments is long enough to span several lifetimes! You're rated as one of the top 100 comedians of all time. Yet, here you are conducting a serious campaign promoting the American Standard ActiClean toilet. What compelled you to become a commodian as well?

HM: (chuckling) I see what you just did there and that’s pretty good. You know I’m a germaphobe, right?

DY: Yes. (At this point, I coughed that deep lung hack you have with pneumonia.)

HM: You sound sick and that makes me glad we aren’t meeting in person. [After explaining I had pneumonia and a fever.] Why are you here? You should be in bed and at home, not at work.

DY: And miss a chance to interview you? No way.

HM: Given the fact that I am a germaphobe, when American Standard approached me about possibly being a spokesperson for the ActiClean self-cleaning toilet, I was intrigued by the fact that I could have a toilet cleaned by simply pressing a button. We could throw away the disgusting germ-laden toilet brush — wow! I jumped at the opportunity to be the spokesperson for this amazing toilet. You know we ran a contest with an ActiClean toilet give-away, and I delivered that in person to the winners. Me, Howie Mandel, delivered the ActiClean toilet in person. That was fun. I’m a believer too and not just a spokesperson. We have ActiClean toilets in our home and would not be willing to promote them if they didn’t work.

DY: No doubt cleaning people everywhere are celebrating their freedom from the germ-laden toilet brush. I just finished your book “Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me,” which had me laughing out loud in spite of sympathizing with your OCD & ADHD. Like the guy on the street, I too was muttering "me too." Toss out your color blindness and add a healthy dose of dyslexia & that's me. (At this time, I pointed to the American Standard poster with The Plumber Protects the Health of the Nation — I had strategically positioned the poster to be in the background while we spoke.)

Speaking of germs and bacteria, plumbers are your last line of defense by ensuring today's plumbing is sanitary and healthy! Howie, did you know modern sanitary plumbing has saved more lives than all medical advances throughout history? Water borne diseases killed thousands of people every year in the late 1800s and early 1900s here in the U.S. Modern sanitary plumbing ware, like American Standard products, along with professionally installed sanitary plumbing, and chlorination of potable drinking water stopped the spread of deadly diseases.

HM: I have read about how the Romans developed amazing plumbing systems and knew about plumbing systems protecting my health. That’s why I love my ActiClean toilets. They have a weekly cleaning function — just press a button — and a longer deeper cleaning function by pressing the other button. A child-lock feature prevents unnecessary use of the cleaning cycle. There’s a special glazing on the ActiClean china called EverClean that prevents staining and inhibits bacteria growth, which also prevents odors. 

DY: I also love the fact that the ActiClean is a WaterSense toilet using just 1.28-gallons per flush.

HM: You know we’re having a five-year drought here in California, right? Using a high efficiency ActiClean toilet helps conserve water, which is incredibly important to us. Everyone should have an ActiClean WaterSense toilet.

DY: Howie, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me today. We've been fans since we first saw your stand-up routine and “St. Elsewhere” and look forward to seeing you on “America's Got Talent.”

HM: You’re welcome Dave, enjoyed talking with you today.

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