When you think of TikTok, you might think of Charli D'Amelio, Avani Gregg, or even Jason Derulo, but there's an unexpected TikTok star on the rise who could give any one of these top creators a run for their money. That person? Howie Mandel. Yes, the Deal or No Deal host and America's Got Talent Judge is huge on the platform, with over 130 million likes on his profile. With stats like that, you might be wondering how Howie Mandel became so famous on TikTok. Well, it's a funny story actually...
In July 2019, Mandel's son Alex encouraged him to make a vido for TikTok. The video, in which Mandel simply turns around and claps, went viral, amassing millions of views in just a few hours. “That was the Pandora’s box for me,” Mandel told Rolling Stone in a Sept. 4 profile, explaining his thoughts immediately after his first taste of TikTok fame: "Who are these 12 million people? What did I just do that made them watch?'"
Madnel continued to post videos for the next year, but his clout grew exponentially in July 2020, when a conspiracy theory about Mandel being kidnapped spread throughout the app. The theory was sparked after he uploaded a very interesting DIY "shoe stuff" video to the platform, which some followers claimed was "full of secret messages" that he needed help. Mandel jokingly addressed the rumors when they arose, but when internet mega-celeb David Dobrik went to check on Mandel (apparently they're friends?), the internet truly went wild.
P.S. Howie was completely fine. He later explained to BuzzFeed News that his DIY video was just a satire of people who were "making banana bread and tie-dying" during quarantine.
After that, Mandel's TikTok career really took off. But reminiscing on the kidnapping rumor really isn't the only reason you should check out his profile: The comedian and host is straight-up hilarious. From posting silly versions of popular dances, dueting stars like Rebel Wilson, and making fun of his Deal or No Deal catchphrases, he's got a lot of great content. Sure, some of his videos are, um, quirky, but that's just part of his charm.
At 64 years old, Mandel may be one of the older famous creators on TikTok, but it was apparently a natural step for him to join the Gen Z-populated app. “A lot of people my age have a tendency to lose our curiosity,” he told Rolling Stone. “But I’m always fascinated about not only what [young people] are ... watching, but how are they watching it.” It's clear Mandel also understands the quick nature of social media and going viral as well. "You have to be fast and furious," he explained.
So, if you're looking for a new TikTok star to follow, throw Mandel a follow. You're not going to regret it.