Howie Mandel Apologizes After Making Bulimia Joke on America’s Got Talent

By on August 26, 2015
America's Got Talent - Season 7

Howie Mandel is apologizing after making a joke about bulimia to a contestant on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Mandel is known for his nice guy persona and has been a stark contrast to fellow judge and radio bad boy Howard Stern, but this time it is Mandel who has stepped into it with what was meant to be a joke.

The snafu began when it was Mandel’s turn to offer his thoughts to contestant Steve Starr. Starr is a “professional regurgitator.” He swallows random items whole and then brings them back up the same way for his performance. Acts such as Starr’s are often well-received by Stern and Mandel who tend to favor the more oddball acts. The two typically are amazed by different things frequently commenting that they are the acts that can only be seen on America’s Got Talent.

Mandel, one of the more supportive judges, was fascinated by the performance. He acknowledged that his comment “would probably come out wrong” but decided to go with it anyway telling Starr, “You sir, make bulimia entertaining.”

The audience didn’t react to his attempt at humor though there was an immediate backlash on social media, which Mandel follows throughout the show. After watching a few more acts he took a break from judging to say:

I just wanna take a second 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. I deal with mental health all the time, and I did something stupid. I should never make light of it. I apologize to anyone that was offended. I am not perfect. I make mistakes.

He followed up his on-air apology with an apology on Twitter as well:

Howie Tweet

Howard Stern known for his bad boy antics would be the judge expected to bring controversy to the show. He and Mandel are usually opposite in how they critique contestants, with Stern usually the harsher out of the two. While Mandel meant his comment as a compliment many believed he was making light of a serious eating disorder. Mandel has been very open about his own issues with mental illness and having OCD, something that he has had fun with on AGT, especially with Stern.

What did you think of Howie Mandel’s bulimia joke? Are people being overly sensitive or did he cross the line? Let us know what you think here at Haveuheard.


  1. tobe

    August 26, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    its good that he apologized

  2. tobe

    August 26, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    hats good that he apoligezed

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