Howard came on the show when Monk’s original helper, Sharona (Bitty Schram), left. "I was naive when I took on this part,” Howard says. "I didn’t realize the cult following of the show and Sharona. I didn’t know it was such a big deal. So being naive worked in my favor. It wasn’t until the press stuff started coming out that I realized, ‘Gosh, I hope it goes OK.’
"They took a big risk to make that sort of transition at that time,” she says.
Howard says she toiled for years before she realized she was an actress. At first she worked in advertising but casually auditioned for a commercial one day when her boyfriend did. Eventually she hawked beer, cereal, cat litter, cars and gum. "Then I started getting little comedic commercials, and it started to pique my interest in other things.”
The "other things” included an acting class with Joanne Baron. "I took one class and sort of got the bug. Then I got a show called ‘Boston Common,’ and I’ve been working ever since.”