Howie Mandel Surprises Longtime Manager Who Recently Lost His Dad with Home Reno: 'He Is My Family'

The America's Got Talent judge teams up with Drew and Jonathan Scott on their star-studded HGTV show, Celebrity IOU

Howie Mandel is getting personal in the latest episode of Celebrity IOU.

The Emmy-winning comedian, 66, teamed up with Drew and Jonathon Scott to help renovate his best friend Rich Thurber's outdated bachelor pad. Thurber, who's also Mandel's manager of 30 years, moved into the apartment after losing his house in a divorce 15 years ago. And recently, he's faced tough times.

"Last year his father passed away," Mandel says in this Monday's episode. "Life isn't always easy. This has been a hard time and nothing makes you feel better than to be a small part of doing something for somebody else."

The America's Got Talent judge said Thurber is someone who takes care of everybody but himself. That's why he wanted to surprise him with a complete home renovation.

In the exclusive clip above, viewers get to see Mandel's playful side as he jokes around with the Property Brothers stars.

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In the video, Drew marked out a few squares on a wall in Thurber's home, to make the painting process easier for the comedian.

"Painting with Howie is like painting with my nieces and nephew," Drew quipped. "We paint by numbers."

Mandel was clearly proud of himself as he filled in the squares. "I'm color blind, and I've never painted!"

Of course, he had to throw in some jokes while they worked. He commented on liking the dark hue and compared it to his hair in his youth: "People may not remember this, but when I was young, my hair was all black."

Paintbrush in hand, Drew said, "I can't quite picture that. Let me just…" He took his wall roller and painted Mandel's bald head. Mandel, of course, leaned into the joke and took his glasses off for the HGTV star to get angle. "You look 25 again!" Drew joked. Mandel closed off the bit pretending to swish the "bangs" out of his eyes.

While the episode featured plenty of funny moments, the final reveal was definitely emotional for Mandel's close friend who the comedian says "is family."

"It was like a dream," Thurber said of the made over space. "It was completely different. Not one thing was the same."


On the Scott brothers' latest hit HGTV series, A-list celebrities give back to friends and mentors by renovating their homes. This season's lineup features Tiffany Haddish, Halle Berry, Lisa Kudrow, Anthony Anderson, Snoop Dogg, Ali Wong, Howie Mandel and John C. Reilly.

In April, the brothers revealed to PEOPLE which celebrities got the most emotional on the show.

"As soon as they cry, we cry," Drew said. "We did get tears out of Halle Berry. Actually we got tears out of Snoop [Dogg], which I was very surprised by."

The show, which is all about giving back, gives Jonathan and Drew a chance to observe these close friendships, too.

"When we're revealing the space and you see them with their friend. It's almost like you're seeing them 20 years ago," Drew said. "They're just being real people and you see that emotional connection. You can't help but cry because it's so touching to see these celebrities in such a personal space."

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