Some view him as one of the hardest working men in showbiz but he would tell you he is trying to be the smartest working man in showbiz. Nick Cannon’s emerging empire is undeniably a testament to his unmatched work ethic, immense talent, awe-inspiring personality, and amazing business acumen. The actor, comedian, rapper, director, writer, producer, and television host is now a number one rated radio host as well.
As the morning show host of LA’s Power 106, the entertainment mogul has now partnered with Skyview Networks and Meruelo Media to develop Nick Cannon Radio for afternoon syndication starting January 27, 2020 and Nick Cannon Weekends debuting February 2020. With goals of chasing media maven, Oprah – Nick is one step closer to his global takeover. The San Diego born icon talked to Radio Facts about his many accomplishments, future goals, standing up for what he believes in, and being proud of the fact he does it all while being 100% his authentic self.
RADIO FACTS: Hey, Nick how you doing today man?
NICK: Hey, how are you?
I'm wonderful, thank you for asking sir. So I know you're a very busy man, so I won't keep you too long. I do appreciate you for this time though.
No problem I appreciate your world.
All right well let's get started, first and foremost man, I'd just like to say happy belated or happy birthday to your grandmother, I believe she just turned 100 years old?
Yes, she turned- -what do they call it? That legacy age and it’s beautiful.
How does it feel to be living alongside your grandmother and to be around somebody who's been on the planet for a century? How has that type of foundation helped you to become the person you are?
Knowing that my grandmother is still around and living is great. It's not like she is a struggling hundred, she still drives selling Avon, and doing everything. Just to know that we come from that type of stock, you got to keep that legacy going.
Okay and absolutely and you're originally a West Coast guy, you grew up in San Diego and now you're making the return back to LA and radio. How has the transition been for you?
I mean I love it man, I mean radio is the most intimate form of entertainment to me where you really connect with the community in a sincere way and you feel like you're a part of the community, that is my whole purpose of even jumping back into radio so I could touch as many communities as possible in an authentic way.
That's awesome and then so you used to do radio in New York and now you are on the West Coast, do you feel like there's a difference in the markets and how you have to connect with the people or is it all the same?
I think I just have tomaintain myself, there is not any difference in that sense of really just being real, it's not about like where you are from? or how you approach each market.Oh, I am on the West Coast or I am on the East coast I feel like I want people that I connect to. I've lived on the West Coast to East Coast down south.
I've lived in every city that I've been on the radio in and it just feels like long as you stay true to yourself the people will definitely connect with you in that way.
That’s awesome. Nick speaking of staying true to who you are, I really feel like you are a person who really does really stay true to who you are and I think in every facet of everything you do you are truly yourself. I'm looking at your Instagram or stuff that you just say in the media or stuff that you say on the radio and I feel like you're like literally a hundred percent authentic. Has that ever been an issue for you in the industry being a hundred percent authentic?
Like for instance in the case of when you were on America's Got Talent and the way that ended, was that an issue for you?
No, I think that's the thing about being you, true and you live your truth, you're not really concerned with what other people think or how they move or how they react to it because you're living your truth .
Whether it's being able to walk away from millions of dollars or standing firm on my beliefs, everything from wearing a turban and saying whatever I want to say like this is who I am, I'm not living my life for anybody else or anybody else and that’s a blessing. I get to just be myself.
So I think I've never tried to be something that I'm not. I've never pretended to live a lifestyle that I didn't live. I've never tried to be something that I'm not or never professed to having something that I didn't have, never been one of those dudes that have a history full of like fakeness and secrets. I don't have none of that stuff. I am just me.
I think that's kind of why I can stand and move and operate the way that I do.
Okay and then again going back to being yourself, you're a guy that I've literally witnessed you stand up for Colin Kaepernick, I saw you stand up for Kevin Hart when he was going through the issue with the Oscars and everything like that.
Do you feel like it's your duty or obligation or actually do you think more black entertainers need to be more vocal about sticking up for each other in the industry and beyond the industry?
Yes man, I do. Like I mean I learned from individuals like Dick Gregory, Harry Belafonte, I feel like we come from like a time where there was community, they spoke out for each other, for the greater good of our people and that's ultimately where if you do see me speak out I kind of just try to step up and say like it is not about who is right, it is about what's right.
So let's just focus on trying to be right as humans and operate in a way where we are slow to judge and quicker to love and all this stuff, that is what ultimately life is.
Got you and then to just going back for a quick second to the America's Got Talent, Gabrielle Union recently just spoke up to about at least how she felt she was treated on the show and then I noticed that like right around that same time, I think you posted on Instagram saying, “while are we talking about it,” you posted from your standup comedy, “Niggas be careful” in reference to NBC. Was that like your way of addressing that without just coming out directly and saying it?
I always post my stand-up like and always like stuff that I feel like is relevant to the moment and clearly that's kind of what that was. Gabby is a dear friend of mine, we talk all the time and even during her time on AGT we would talk.
I'm not the , “I-told-you-so” type of guy to anybody and so that was kind of my way to be like this is the type of cultural insensitivity from these higher powers and networks and corporations, it's been going on for years, there's really nothing new, the least we could do is just acknowledge it.
I mean in a situation like what was going with Gabby we ought to stand behind her and support her a 100% even way more than people have been. I think is so important.
You touched on your stand up man and I think that's actually powerful that stuff you touched on a while back is actually still relevant and still going on. It’s a testament to you that you can go back to that moment and say, “Oh let me post this because this is going on, oh let me post this because that is going on.”
And earlier in the conversation you said how you felt radio was like the most intimate form of connecting with the people but do you feel like your comedy is also a way like that because you are face to face with the people when you are in that moment?
Yeah, comedy is different, comedy is the most intimate type of like you say something and you get the laugh or you don't get the laugh because they're right there but it's still a planned show. Radio it’s your call and there are no bells and whistles. I mean you're just yourself if you're not having a good day you got to know you're not having a good day.
If you have got to use the bathroom, you have to use the bathroom. When you are on stage doing standup, you're performing a show. Radio, you’re being yourself every day. You're vulnerable, you're open, you are outspoken so that's the only reason why I say radio is more intimate than standup. With standup there is that instant gratification or not depending on how well of a comedian you are.
Right and speaking on this whole thing of being yourself when I look at the show Wild ‘N Out, I also feel- – I mean I know that's a show and you're there to entertain but I do feel like it's one of the most free shows I've seen on television in a sense.
For instance I like it when you guys are doing what you do, like the “Plead the Fifth,” challenge you all do – like that's you all really coming at each other about real stuff. Do you feel the same way about Wild ‘N Out because that's your show, that's your baby so do you feel like you had to represent like a 100% of yourself when putting that show out?
Yeah, yeah that show I built that show, I created that show specifically a show that entertainers or anybody you don't have to take yourself that seriously, you can have fun even if you're going through something in life.
If we just say look, like we all have got to step back and just laugh, you know what I mean – there are cultural differences and everything. So I would say Wild ‘N Out is probably the most progressive show on television and it doesn't get the credit for it because there's no other place that you could see someone who's from the transgender community go up against someone who's completely homophobic and they're going at each other and saying stereotypical homophobic type of jargon and stuff toward each other and at the end of the day they hug it out because it's all said in fun.
I mean there's no hate involved or you could get someone from two different communities, somebody from a Middle Eastern community going up against someone from a Jewish community and they're like going at each other and at the end of the day you realize that they're friends like it's like where else can you see that anywhere in history?
I mean and we do that on every single episode so I think we have been kind of been flying under the radar for a long time but I feel like the story that will be told later, it that we broke barriers. We are able to just put people just from different walks of life who normally would never get along become friends and actually deal with issues through comedy and it's like it never gets that credit.
That’s what I love about the show. It really is groundbreaking. I was recently watching Netflix and I think they did like a Def Jam comedy 25 year anniversary type of thing and I remember when I was looking at it and I was thinking back to Def Jam, about how groundbreaking that show was. I love Def Jam and I felt like it put a lot of black comedians on and I think Wild ‘N Out does the same thing but I think Wild ‘N Out is even more progressive in the sense of what you actually just said.
So 20 years from now or 25 years from now when people are talking about Wild ‘N Out do you feel like it will get its props then? As you stated your show has put on many artists of color, different races, different lifestyles, etcetera, do you feel like it will get that recognition at that point?
I mean I hope so and I pray that my people, my family on the show continues to strive and become as successful as possible so we can have that type of legacy. I mean there will be no Def Jam if there was no the Martins, the Chris Tucker's, the Hardens, the Bill Bellamy's all the Dave Chappelle's all other people who graced that stage.
So the more people that could come up through the Wild ‘N Out ranks and become stars and be successful and do for themselves, man I encourage it and I want it. I'm looking for new talent each and every season that could become that next big star because I want to create that same type of legacy that Def Jam did.
Absolutely and speaking of Wild ‘N Out, the whole premise of it is the art of freestyle right and I remember on one of the episodes, I believe Method Man- – or no I think RZA was on the episode but in your freestyle you say, “How come Method Man is doing the same thing for that white man?”
So my question is, talking about how we grew up, how we freestyled on the corner, we did it in the school, we did it in the hallway and now you created a platform where we're making money off of it but there are others creating that same platform basically doing what we do and they are making money off of it. Do you have any feelings about that whatsoever?
Now I know in the Freestyle you're just doing a freestyle but do you really have any opinions about others are doing with freestyle culture?
Yeah I said there is two sides to jest, you don't be like that's the best kind of humor when you're like, “Oh yeah he's not lying thought, right.” I talk to Meth about that. We had a conversation about it so I would have said it to his face if he would have been there. It’s all comedy and we're joking around but at the same time you got to love the fact that our culture is growing so big that people are comfortable to take something that we've been doing for years and put it on their platforms.
I love what James Corden is doing all that stuff but at least you got to acknowledge where you got it and that's all I’m saying. Everybody just has to pay homage, give respect that's all I encourage.
I can't act like I created it either. Like you said, look at Def Jam, Uptown comedy club, and all those things that we grew up watching. The wild style movie – the first hip-hop movie ever created – I pull from all of those things from the culture, when I created Wild ‘N Out.
Let’s get back into radio because I want to be respectful of your time. How does it feel to be going into syndication and launching a new show?
I'm excited man, I mean my goal is just to connect with every community I possibly can going into 2020 where we've been so successful and number one in in LA already and now you take it across the nation, hopefully globally.
I mean everything from our podcasting to my new syndicated daily talk show as well like I'm really trying to have my global footprint just be as massive as possible. I always tell people I've been chasing Oprah for a while so we making moves in 2020. You know, I'm on her heels, from radio, TV, digital, movies, music, comedy- I'm trying to do something nobody has ever done before.
And that's obvious and this will be my last question because I definitely do not want to keep you from your meeting which may be about all that stuff you listed. You got a new movie, “She Ball” coming, you’re a dad, and all of these things you are doing, how do you find the balance of being this amazing entrepreneur, being a dad and staying healthy with the past issues that you've had with your lupus and everything?
It's time management really but it's really protecting your energy at the end of the day. it sounds like work but these are the things that actually drive me and motivate me.
These are the things that are waking me up in the morning and give me a will to live. I want to affect our culture and do for our people the best thing I possibly can. So that's what drives me, that's what keeps me going and you have a team around you that actually manages everything which allows us to accomplish all the goals and all things that I set out to do.
That is what we are doing. It’ not about being the hardest-working man in showbiz but I'm trying to be the smartest working man in showbiz.