St. Louis Has Talent

Early in the show, Howard said he'd just returned from the "America's Got Talent" auditions in St. Louis, a disarming high point. "The talent was the best we've seen so far," Howard said.

The best, though he wasn't passed through to the next round, was a karate master capable of punching his students 20 times a second. "So he starts to smack these guys around and they just stand there ... it was the funniest thing I'd seen since the 3 Stooges," Howard described. "I was in my hotel room all night laughing to myself."

Howard said host Nick Cannon intervened in the judges deliberations to defend a rapping contestant. Howard returned fire, but revealed he was cut off by "AGT" producers.

"I started to talk about Nick and they shut me up!" he said.

America's Got Emotions, Inspiration

Howard said many of the acts suffered emotional reactions to the judges' assessments, so the producers hired professional help. "There was a psychologist working backstage," Howard said. The auditions eventually touched him, as well. "Even I was emotional. One of the acts made me really emotional. Like, I thought about how great the country is. It just inspired me."