Howie Mandel on Losing Friends Bob Saget and Gilbert Gottfried: 'The Silence Is Deafening'

"There aren't words to describe the losses," says Howie Mandel of losing his close friends this year

Howie Mandel on Losing Friends Bob Saget, Gilbert Godfried: ‘The Silence Is Deafening’
Howie Mandel with Bob Saget (left) and Gilbert Godfried (right). Photo: getty (3)

Howie Mandel is as busy as ever, hosting a new Netflix competition series, Bullsh*t The Game Show, in addition to his gig as a judge on America's Got Talent and working on his podcast, Howie Mandel Does Stuff.

But the prolific comedian is also reflecting on an exceedingly difficult few months as he's weathered the losses of three close friends: comedians Bob Saget, Louie Anderson and Gilbert Gottfried.

"I never dreamed there would be a moment where I could list people who are just gone," says Mandel, 66, in this week's issue of PEOPLE. "I remember being in a room with every one of those people and there was such a sense of invincibility."

"Now, the silence is deafening," he adds. "There aren't words to describe the losses."

Saget and Anderson both died in January (Saget, 65, from head trauma and Anderson, 68, from cancer) while Gottfried, 67, died in April after a prolonged illness.

"I absolutely loved Gilbert," recalls Mandel. "He was the sweetest. This just compounds the feeling of fragility. This can all end tomorrow so it's so important to absorb each moment and each second with the people you love and care about."

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Scott Kirkland/Shutterstock (9879950y) Howie Mandel 'America's Got Talent' Season 13 live show, Los Angeles, USA - 11 Sep 2018
Howie Mandel. Scott Kirkland/Shutterstock

For Mandel, that means relishing time with his grandchildren, Abby, 7, and Axel, 6 ("they're my life," he says) and choosing professional projects that bring him personal joy.

"Ever since Deal or No Deal, there is a nonstop flow of game show offers that come my way," he says. "At this point in my life, I'm looking to show up for a crazy, fun gratifying experience. And Bullsh*t checked every box."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

In the game show, contestants try to guess whether their fellow players are correctly answering trivia questions or making up answers in the moment.

"Bullsh*t is the lifeblood of our world, whether we're trying to discern it from a salesperson, a partner or a child," says Mandel. "I hate trivia. I absolutely do. But I love bullsh*t!"

Bullsh*t The Game Show premieres on April 27 on Netflix.

Related Articles