‘America’s Got Talent’ Star Reveals How Howie Mandel Consoled Her After Simon Cowell’s ‘Unfair’ Rejection

by Samantha Whidden

Following her on-stage performance during “America’s Got Talent” Season 17’s live shows earlier this week, comedian contestant Lace Larabee recalled how Howie Mandel consoled her after Simon Cowell’s “unfair” rejection. 

PEOPLE reports that during Larabee’s performance, the “America’s Got Talent” judge hit his “X” buzzer in the middle of her set. Although the loud buzzer didn’t prevent her from finishing, she told the media outlet that she felt it was an “insanely unfair” move on. 

“It was shocking,” the “America’s Got Talent” contestant shared. “That’ll throw off anybody. As a stand-up comic, it’s already so difficult to compete against musical acts and animals and fire. I’ve just got to get up there with my little jokes, so it was very difficult.”

However, Cowell claims that he decided to hit the buzzer during the “America’s Got Talent” performance to help her. The TV show’s judge also said that he preferred her audience set over her live show performance. The other judges shut down Cowell’s comments. After the performance, Mandel went backstage to talk to Larabee. “[He] reminded me that I’m a professional and that it’s okay,” Larabee said. 

Mandel then told PEOPLE that he felt “compelled” to check on the “America’s Got Talent” contestant. This was due to his own experience as a long-time comedian. “You are mentally naked out there and you are vulnerable,” he explained. “And as I said to her after Simon gave her the buzzer, humor is subjective.”

He then offered her some words of wisdom.  I said to her, ‘You’re not playing to Simon, you’re not playing to me, you’re not playing to this audience – you’re playing to the millions of people out there and you delivered your humor seamlessly, professionally, wonderfully. And don’t let these little bumps in the road stop you.”

‘America’s Got Talent’ Judge Howie Mandel Said Comedian Contestant Handled Simon Cowell’s ‘Buzzer’ Well

“America’s Got Talent” judge Howie Mandel then shared the reason why he decided to go backstage to talk to Larabee about the performance. He spoke about her she handled Simon Cowell’s rejection buzzer. “She was pretty composed even when she heard the buzzer,” Mandel said. “So I just wanted to compliment her for that.”

The “America’s Got Talent” contestant further declared that she was proud of what she did on the TV show’s stage. “I know that I’m a professional and I’m thrilled that I got this far, but I think it was insanely unfair to throw me off when comedy is all about the build-up… he literally ruined the rest of the set. I thought it was wildly inappropriate, especially for what I’m doing. Give me a little bit more grace; whether you like the jokes or not, let me get through my act.”