By Caroline Fontein
As an entertainer Nick Cannon wears many hats. He’s an actor, rapper, radio and television personality and a stand-up comedian. Not only does he do all these things, but he’s successful at them, having been cited by People Magazine as one of the “Top Ten most successful young people in Hollywood.” He was also featured on the cover of Black Enterprises’ 40 Under 40. Audiences in Vegas will get to see Cannon the comedian at his March 5 show at the Palms. The performance is being filmed in part for Cannon’s first comedy special.
The multitalented entertainer started performing when he was 8 years old. The son of a televangelist, Cannon landed a spot performing stand-up comedy on his father’s cable access program when he was 11. Cannon continued performing throughout his adolescence and by the time he was 15 the budding comedian moved to Hollywood to pursue his dreams. His catchy comedy routine landed him spots performing at various comedy clubs including The Improv, The Laugh Factory and the Comedy Store. He shared the stage with big-name comedy headliners including Chris Tucker, Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock.
The young entertainer landed his first television gig as an audience warm-up for the hit Nickelodeon show “All That.” His on-camera personality was a hit with audiences and he soon became a regular on the show as well as a writer for it. His work on “All That” evolved into the creation of “The Nick Cannon” show, which he starred in, directed and produced.
In 2002 Cannon made his big screen debut in the movie “Men in Black II” starring Will Smith. That same year he appeared in the starring role for the film “Drumline.” In the fall of 2006, Cannon was featured in the Emilio Estevez written and directed film “Bobby,” a fictionalized account of the hours leading up to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. Cannon shared the screen with stars such as Harry Belafonte, Demi Moore, Laurence Fishburne, Anthony Hopkins and Sharon Stone, among many others. His performance earned him a 2007 SAG nomination for “Outstanding Performance” in addition to becoming the first African American actor in history to be honored at the world renowned Cannes Film Festival with the “Breakthrough Actor of the Year” award. Along with his acting credits Cannon has released a self-titled album and several singles including “Gigolo” featuring R. Kelly.
His improv comedy show “Nick Cannon Presents Wild N Out” debuted on MTV in 2005. It became one of the network’s highest rated shows and aired for four seasons. He has continued to appear in films as well as on television and as a radio host. In 2009 and 2010 Cannon appeared as the host for the NBC hit show “America’s Got Talent.” He currently hosts a morning radio show in New York.
In addition to all this Cannon created his own multimedia company called NCredible Entertainment, which has several TV shows and films in development, and he has his own record label. He’s also on his way to being a father. The 30-year-old entertainer is expecting twins with his wife, music superstar Mariah Carey.
Cannon set aside some time to speak with VEGAS.com about his upcoming show in Vegas and his thoughts on parenthood.
Q. You started performing at a very early age. What was it that made you want to be an entertainer?
A. “It had to be a mix between seeing Michael Jackson and seeing my dad preach.”
As a multifaceted performer with success as an actor, comedian, television host, radio host, and recording artist, what do you enjoy doing the most?
“I’d have to say stand-up comedy. Honestly, that’s the thing… making people laugh is my favorite thing.”
You started off as a comedian, but it’s not what you’re known for, what made you decide to return to doing stand-up comedy now?
“I never really left. Once you’re a stand-up (comedian) you kind of always just do it to kind of keep yourself sharp, but this is my first time jumping out there and really saying, ‘Look you may not have seen me in this fashion before,’ and accomplishing one of my dreams by filming an actual special.”
We just received information about your partnership with Audition Booth and how you’re letting people audition to perform as your opening act. What sparked that idea?
“I just thought it was cool. I’m a person that’s always looking for talent. So I was like, hey you can give somebody the opportunity to open up. That could be pretty cool.”
When you’re writing your material what do you look for to be funny?
“Real life situations. People love when you put reality in their face and say this is what’s going on. That to me is always the funniest stuff.”
What can people expect to see from you at your upcoming show in Vegas?
“All the drama, all the gossip that you hear about in the tabloids and on the internet. You get to hear it first hand from the horse’s mouth. So I’m just telling the truth, keeping it real, and having fun with it.”
Is there anything different that you do with your show when you perform in Vegas?
“Vegas is a place of showmen so I’m there to show and prove I’m there to be the best showman I possibly can be.”
Do you like to go out to any of the other shows when you’re in Vegas?
“Not really. I mean when I’m in Vegas most of the time I’m out there working so I think it’s a great town for entertainers. Whenever I’m out there I’m trying to entertain in some kind of way.”
How are you feeling about being a father?
“It’s an amazing journey, taking it one day at a time, but it’s the most outstanding thing that’s ever happened to me.”
What is it like for you going through process of being a new parent with all the media attention?
“I take it with a grain of salt. I know that people are entertained by a lot of this in the same way they’re entertained by our art so you kind of got to take the good with the bad. We’ve invited them in and everybody’s going to want to know so there’s no problem with it with me.”
Have you given any thought as to whether or not you want your children to go into show business?
“I personally don’t. I want them to shoot higher than entertainment. I want some astrophysicists. I want some astronauts you know or somebody that’s a neurosurgeon.”
What other upcoming projects are you working on?
“I’m producing a couple new shows for MTV right now. I have my album. Part of it will be filmed and recorded that night at the Palms on March 5, getting all of that stuff going. It’s something new every day; my radio show. Tons of things”
To our facebook followers, here are Nick Cannon’s answers to some of the questions that you posted on our wall.
Who was his favorite character to play? Who would he love to play?
“My favorite character to play, I wouldn’t say thus far that I’ve had a character that was my favorite. I know I’m looking forward to Arthur Ash, he’s such a great man and I feel like his story definitely needs to be told.”
What was your most memorable experience on “America’s Got Talent?”
“Probably when my wife came and performed on the show. That was a good one.”
How’s Mariah feeling? Are you excited to be having twins?
“She’s feeling great and pregnant. I’m excited. I’m thrilled.”
What happened to “Wild N Out?” Is there going to be more from that show?
“Yeah we’re bringing it back in a big way this year so stay tuned… We don’t have a specific date yet but it will be this year.”
Did you learn to play drums for the movie “Drumline”?
“Yeah I did. We were training everyday two months before the movie for six hours every day.”
Any advice for teaching one of our facebook follower’s six-year-old-son how to play the drums?
“Just stay focused and have fun.”
What does it feel like to be a black man who can deliver across the line in today’s entertainment field?
“I don’t really see it like that, but when I step back and do look at it — it’s an honor to see how many people have come before me and paved the way. It’s almost like continuing to carry on the responsibility of putting out good entertainment.”