As a fan of stand up through the ‘80s comedy boom and the show America’s Got Talent, I was ecstatic to meet Howie Mandel at a recent Young Presidents Organization soirée in Miami. Hosted at the LIV Nightclub in the lavish Fontainebleau Resort on Miami Beach, the YPO event was an exclusive evening for helping successful vineyard executives network and get inspired by various speakers.
One of those “speakers” was me! Well, you could call it entertainment, but I tried to work an inspirational angle within as I always do during corporate engagements.
Another guest entertainer/presenter was Howie Mandel. Depending on the generation you are from, you may know and love him from his stand up, his ‘80s hospital drama St. Elsewhere, the Fox Saturday morning cartoon Bobby’s World, or the more recent game shows Deal or No Deal and America’s Got Talent.
After we both had our turns, I got a rare chance to perform some of my favorite effects with him in private and elicit his trademark delighted reaction to illusions. The experience was great, and it was truly flattering to interact with someone I had admired professionally over the years.
A Delightful Evening Made Even More Special
The Young Presidents Organization is a prestigious international group designed to help connect and inspire young, successful CEOs. This particular event focused on the business of vineyards and wine distribution. About 500 people were invited, representing dozens of vineyards and vendor companies. They closed down the entire club for the occasion, making it quite an intimate affair.
I was tasked with keeping the room lively during a lull in presentations, something I believe I excelled at quite ably! Using a combination of close-up magic and mentalism, I worked the crowds with interactive effects and feats that astounded them.
At about nine p.m., they introduced Howie to the stage for a 45 minute stand up comedy routine, during which time I of course took a break from entertaining and also watched.
When he was done, there was a meet and greet held in a separate room for invited guests. After that point, my YPO contact at the event asked Howie if he wanted to see some great magic since they happened to have a magician there that night. Being a fan of magic, he said he would love to! So, I was able to showcase three of my favorite effects: the floating dollar, card to wallet, and a mind reading routine I do with a pair of dice in a somewhat private performance for Mr. Mandel.
Mio Performing His Trademark Mentalism in Miami on TV?
After I was done showing him my three feats, Howie was absolutely floored and delighted. He asked: “Why aren’t you on America’s Got Talent?”
I didn’t know what to say!
In truth: I had actually been approached by the show about five years ago. After a private audition, I was actually accepted and went to a taping at a theatre that included a full rehearsal with Nick Cannon and everything.
Unfortunately, they had weather problems in Chicago, causing several other acts to be flown into Miami for taping, to make a long story short, the roster was overbooked. About a half dozen performers, myself included, were told: “Sorry, but we won’t be able to get to you…”
And that was that. However, being a little star struck, instead of relating this whole story to Howie, I just lamely answered, “I don’t know.” Perhaps now that he is familiar with my work, things will work out a little differently next time. If you cross your fingers, there just may be a Mio sighting on America’s Got Talent next season!