Howie Mandel’s Most Cringe-Worthy Jokes on ‘America’s Got Talent’

Corey Cesare
Jack Tomas
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Howie MandelPhillip Faraone/FilmMagic

Whether you’re the type to laugh hysterically or roll your eyes, everyone loves a good dad joke. Even though Howie Mandel is a fan favorite judge on America’s Got Talent, his jokes don’t always land well on the series. I love this jokester, but here are six of Mandel’s worst moment on AGT.


In 2017, the judging panel of America’s Got Talent shared that even they get sick of Mandel’s flat dad jokes on the series. While I’m always cracking up at the television, the judges don’t always feel the same way. At this point in the series some fans are immune to Mandel’s humor, so let’s look into some of his worst jokes and moments on television.

1. “Twerks For Me”

For years, this comedian has been saying short one line puns after auditions. Some are better than others, but I think we can all agree they’re never expected. In season nine of AGT, Mandel said a quick one line pun to Stylish Talent, a twerker act. Immediately after the contestant taught everyone in the audience (including judges and host) to twerk, he said “twerks for me” about the act. It was an instant eye roll moment for me.

2. “Did You Eat Fish At Lunch?”

Mandel’s jokes don’t always come in the word of words. Most of the time, contestants ask the comedian to join them on the stage because his presence and added humor brings something unpredicted into the act. Even though these contestants are typically excited for Mandel to join them on stage, sometimes he doesn’t match their excitement. Although it can be funny to see Mandel stone faced on stage, it’s better when he brings his personality into the act.


3. His Screaming Match With Heidi Klum

Mandel and Heidi Klum are always seen messing around backstage. While some of the extra footage is fun, this video was highly criticized by fans, especially those wearing headphones. This video is of the two judges screaming and saying they’re excited for the live shows. This isn’t necessarily one of Mandel’s iconic jokes, instead it’s another video that some fans find funny while others do not.

4. He Pranks Superfans Ahead of Show

Not only is Mandel a comedian, he’s a total prankster. In 2014, this judge went in disguise to sit at the ticket counter for America’s Got Talent. While in disguise he pretended to select fans for free VIP tickets to the show. None of the fans caught on to the fact that Mandel was totally pranking them.

They pranks involved the judge checking a member for allergies by using a rubber glove to squeeze her tongue, testing reactions of fans, splashing water in fans’ faces, and more. Mandel tried really hard to make this video hilarious, but it fell a bit flat for me. It was weird, but not really funny. On the flipside, I’ll admit his later disguises as a contestant and a worker are pretty funny.


5. His Spit Fest With Mel B

Mandel’s germophobia is no joke, but it’s often seen as one on the series. In the past we’ve seen contestants hypnotizing him to shake hands with other judges, but this moment defied all odds for the comedian. In the season 13 quarter finals, Mandel turned to Mel B and spit water at her following Human Fountain’s performance. Since Mandel spit water at Mel B, she returned the gesture. While him spitting on his fellow judge is quite funny, his reaction definitely wasn’t. He was visibly uncomfortable because of his germophobia, so the moment fell flat from being funny.

6. The Professional Regurgitator Joke That Led to An Apology’

When it comes to jokesters there’s always a chance that something won’t come out correctly. Mandel’s joke to The Professional Regurgitator in season 10 of America’s Got Talent was one the jokes that didn’t come out the right way. The attempted joke was probably the worst of all due to the fact that this disorder should not be poked fun at.

After this contestants act in the 2015 live shows, the judge made a joke stating that the act was making bulimia entertaining. He realized his mistake quickly and immediately apologized on Twitter and on the show.

“I just want to take a second just to apologize, I made a comment earlier, it’s live television, I wasn’t thinking. I made light of bulimia which is a very serious eating disorder and mental health issue,” Mandel said on the show. “I deal with mental health all the time and I did something stupid.”

Fans were quick to accept the comedian’s apology in the replies of his tweet. They shared that they appreciated his prompt response and understand that everyone is human.

I think fans of America’s Got Talent can all agree that Mandel is definitely a light in the competition, whether his jokes are funny or not. Without the jokester around it would be a completely different series. Even though these were some of his worst jokes and moments on the show, he’ll always be one of my favorite judges.

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