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Why Howie Mandel Helped AGT Comedian After She Got Rejected By Simon Cowell

Lace Larrabee performing stand-up in America's Got Talent Season 17 qualifiers.
(Image credit: NBC)

Season 17 of America’s Got Talent celebrated its first night of qualifiers during the live episode earlier this week, and it included plenty of talented hopefuls aiming to make their mark. One would-be entertainer that took the stage was stand-up comic Lace Larrabee, whose act comprised stories about her marriage and her friends. Unfortunately, Simon Cowell buzzed her just three minutes in, which Larrabee later claimed was an unfair move. Luckily, she had the support of the other judges, including fellow stand-up vet Howie Mandel.

Following the live AGT episode, Mandel spoke to PEOPLE in support of Larrabee, whom he talked to after she'd exited the stage. He apparently gave the younger comedian some great advice that she will presumably keep close to her heart and mind for years to come. Here's how Mandel put it:

You are mentally naked out there, and you are vulnerable, and as I said to her after Simon gave her the buzzer, humor is subjective. I said to her, 'You're not playing to Simon, you're not playing to me, you're not even 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.

Getting rejected is never easy, and having Simon Cowell be the one to do the rejecting in front of millions of viewers AND an in-studio audience is even worse. Especially considering Lace Larrabee wasn’t even a wildcard for Season 17, meaning she already won over the judges initially. But even though she was a bit miffed by Cowell's actions, the fact that Howie Mandel offered some advice to Larrabee afterwards will hopefully keep her confidence high enough to keep on performing and creating. Maybe even for Mandel’s new game show?

Lace Larrabee even played it cool after Simon Cowell hit the buzzer, which was very red and very loud. She continued on with her routine and finished the story she was telling as the audience booed the judge and cheered her after she finished. You can check out her performance below!

Unfortunately, her composure and short-but-funny routine on Tuesday was not enough to put her through to the next round. Viewers voted following that episode, and it was revealed the next night that country musician Drake Milligan and saxophone player Avery Dixon were safe. Fingers crossed that this doesn’t mark the end of Larrabee’s comedic career because she already faced a tough critic with Simon Cowell and handled it with ease.

There is no word on where Lace Larrabee will show up next with her comedy, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the AGT appearance helped boost her rep a bit, considering she still made thousands of people laugh and smile. And who wouldn’t feel bette inspired after getting some solid advice from Howie Mandel? 

Meanwhile, there are still nine spots left for the America's Got Talent finals, so plenty of fan-favorite acts still have a chance. (Even if it’s not Ben Lapidus after his absurd parmesan cheese performance during night 1 of the Qualifiers.) It should be interesting to see what other performances will be done in the next few weeks and who will join Milligan and Dixon at the finals.

Don’t miss more of America’s Got Talent qualifiers on NBC on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST, with the result airing on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST. Check out CinemaBlend’s 2022 TV schedule to see what else to look forward to.

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.