Howie Mandel Show
Nov. 1998

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Howie Mandel: Before we say anything, I want to say congratulations to you. You've been on ... is this your fourth season?

David James Elliott: Fourth season.

HM: And now you're winning your timeslot.

DJE: That's right.

HM: I would imagine that's a great feeling.

DJE: We literally clawed our way to this point, so yeah, it's incredible. Hopefully, God willing, and touch wood ...

HM: Is it surprising to you that you're doing so well? You always knew it?

DJE: Well, when I took the show, I thought that it would do well. We started off great. The pilot was huge ratings. And then boom!

HM: Well, when they put you into a timeslot ....

DJE: Oh they moved us around. They pre-empted the show ... It was a disaster. And now we're doing great!

HM: And hopefully, many more successful years to come.

DJE: Thanks.

HM: Now you and I have kind of the same beginnings. We're from the same ... we're both Canadians.

DJE: Right and this is something that I forgot. You're an actor too!

HM: Yes.

DJE: You were on St. Elsewhere?

HM: Yes. I'm not actually an usher. I'm an actor. I just play one on TV.

DJE: Appearances can be deceiving. We met, actually, at an audition ...

HM: We did?

DJE: ... for, I think it was called Paris Match [ed. The movie was released as French Kiss.] at the time.

HM: Paris Match ... the movie with ...

DJE: Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline.

HM: Wait! I remember that! I remember auditioning for that ...

DJE: Right. You probably don't remember me because ...

HM: What? You were in the hallway?

DJE: No no no. [laughing]. ... Timothy Hutton ... There were the three of us. It came down to you, I and he ...

HM: It did?

DJE: And we were all in the waiting room. Timothy went in ...

HM: Right.

DJE: ... and he came out. You and I didn't speak but I knew who you were.

HM: I was going over my lines.

DJE: Oh yeah. ... But then you went into the room, and it was like non-stop laughter in that room for what seemed like an eternity. I was thinking, "I have to go in there now?"

HM: My fly was undone. ... We didn't get it.

DJE: Neither of us got it. No. Timothy Hutton got it.

HM: That's a tough process. You'll never have to do that again now. They'll call you for parts.

DJE: Well, you never know ...

HM: They will. ... Also, I was going to say ... our background ... not only the audition, but Toronto, Canada.

DJE: That's right.

HM: Right. But you, like me, I don't hear the accent.

DJE: I had to work on it.

HM: Me too. When I did St. Elsewhere.

DJE: I used to go through the script and underline all the difficult diphthong sounds.

HM: Right. What were the tough words?

DJE: 'Out', and 'about' ...

HM: 'Cause they say we say 'aboot', but I don't think we do.

DJE: No. ... like Thunder Bay, where my wife's from ...

HM: Right. Your wife's from Canada also?

DJE: Yeah, my wife's from Canada, just like yours. We have so many things in common.

HM: So many things ... wait a minute! I am you!

DJE: I would never wear that jacket.

HM: You wouldn't? ... It's his! ... I got another question for you, but I'm going to wait until these people [are seated] ... I have a question for him. Could you please sit down? ... People are just wandering in ...

DJE: Does this happen all the time?

HM: It's actually the first time. ... Now, what is your Bahamas background?

DJE: Ah, my father's a Bahamian ... and my grandfather was a Bahamian. My great-great-grandparents moved from Scotland to the Bahamas.

HM: From Scotland to the Bahamas?

DJE: Yeah. I think land was free back then.

HM: Really?

DJE: Yeah! You show up, you get some land. Being Scottish and very frugal ... it was a good deal.

HM: Well, I understand that. I'm a Jew. I can be frugal too. We're like Scottish people, without the kilts. We misheard ... instead of a kilt, we got gelt. ... Anyway, spend much time in the Bahamas?

DJE: Yeah, we go every year. Got a house there.

HM: You actually have a house there?

DJE: Actually bought the house, my wife and I, last year. My great-grandmother was born on this property where the house is, so it's family property.

HM: Wow! I'm going there ... I'm going there for Christmas.

DJE: To the Bahamas? ... Which island? ... It's a bunch of small islands ... Going to Nassau probably?

HM: I think so. Can we, uh, come to your house?

DJE: You can.

HM: Wow! 'Cause I wouldn't if I wasn't invited or forced you to invite me. What do you do there in your spare time?

DJE: Fish and hang out. There's really not much to do. We're on a small island. There's not much there ... a couple of small hotels.

HM: Right. Kick back and ...

DJE: Yeah.

HM: But you're known everywhere. You can't travel now. I know that your show is in ... someone told me 90 countries.

DJE: That's funny you said it. I ran in a marathon at Lake Tahoe a couple of weeks ago. And there were people from ... ah ... where are they from?... one of the Slavic provinces ...

HM: Well, make it up!

DJE: Okay. ... Yukutzk!

HM: From Yukutzk ...

DJE: Came up to me. I was like Elvis to them. They were like ... frothing at the mouth.

HM: You're the King of the Yukutzk!

DJE: I am.

HM: The King of Yukutzk on my show, ladies and gentlemen. [loud cheers] ... But you weren't always an actor, right? You weren't always known as an actor. You were known as a musician.

DJE: Yeah, right. Rock'n roll was my roots.

HM: 'Cause that's your first love? Really? And did you pursue it? Did you have any success?

DJE: Yeah. You know, I quit high school at one point to make a go of this rock band. Moved to Toronto and we were gigging around there. We had high hopes. But we kept breaking up.

HM: Really? And that's hard to do.

DJE: Yeah, musicians are ...

HM: Neil Sedaka told me that.

DJE: I saw Neil Sedaka once. Not that I paid for a ticket ...

HM: Did you record anything? ... That we would know?

DJE: No, we didn't quite get there.

HM: What's the name of your band?

DJE: We had a lot of different names.

HM: Anything that could be mentioned ...

DJE: We were once The Supervisors ...

HM: The Supervisors!

DJE: ... because we were changing ... there was a group ... about eight of us in my town. They would fracture and form as two new groups. That would fracture and two new groups would ... It went like this for years. One day, one of my friends stole all these 'supervisor' shirts out of the back of the hotel. So some poor slob drying his clothes outside ...

HM: Oh really? So that's how you came up with the name?

DJE: The Supervisors. See, we always had this feeling that he would be in the audience.

HM: Really? Kids, wanna go down? You gotta hear The Marriott Supervisors! ...

DJE: ... I brought you a harmonica. Never been played ...

HM: Really!

DJE: ... sort of a personal instrument ...

HM: It's the Lee Oscar. Is this good?

DJE: This is the Rolls-Royce of harmonicas.

HM: Really. Not only can you show me how to play ... how do you open the box?

DJE: Okay. See, that's the first lesson.

HM: Okay. Right.

DJE: The key to this ... these are blues harps. So you want to bend the notes. You kind of manipulate the air as you suck, with your tongue ...

HM: Wow! [he blows air in and out, making noises] ... You going to hang out with us? You could jam with the band.

DJE: Yes!

HM: Yes? No? You can't? [looking offstage]

DJE: I'm not hanging out!

HM: Your publicist is saying you gotta go off and do your show.

DJE: I know. They're waiting for me. I'm supposed to be there right now.

HM: I want to thank you so much for being here. I wish you can stay. You gotta go back to work. David James Elliott!

DJE: Thanks.

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