The actor, comedian and television host opens up about fatherhood, “Wild’n Out” and why Chicago is his second home.
Nick Cannon has a striking resume. From his early days as a musician and songwriter to his flourishing hosting career —on display via “America’s Got Talent,” Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards and “Wild’n Out” — Cannon admits that he’s always been driven by a connection to his audience. “If I’m having fun, then that’s something I want to be a part of,” he says.
As the sketch comedy and hip-hop television series “Wild’n Out” enters its 12th season, featuring Chicago favorites like Chance the Rapper and Ludacris, Cannon continues to prioritize family life. The humble host and proud father of three reveals what keeps him coming back to the hosting stage – including, for the first time ever, a live “Wild’n Out tour,” where Chicago was its first stop last month.
You’ve done it all. How do you choose what’s important for you to take on? It’s really if I’m enjoying it. If it’s not fun, then I just don’t do it. I think that’s how I choose if I’m going to continue to be a part of something or not. If it’s fun, then I’m always there and that’s the perfect thing with “Wild’n Out,” because it’s always fun.
What do you love about performing in Chicago? Chicago’s like a second home to me. I’ve done over half a dozen movies in Chicago, everything from “Roll Bounce” to “Chiraq” to “Shall We Dance.” I recorded my first album there almost 15 years ago; I [have] family there. My friend Chance the Rapper [and] Kanye — so many people that I kind of came up with are from Chicago, so I just got love for Chicago.
Of your many jobs, which one is your favorite? I mean, l love music; I’m a musician at heart. I play several different instruments, I love playing the piano. I also just love writing, stand-up. It’s hard to pick one, but music was definitely my first love. No matter what, that’s kind of my heart and my passion.
What was the high point in your career, when you realized you made it? The success of “Wild’n Out” has been an extreme high. Getting a chance to watch something that started off as just an idea [and] now to be a global brand that discovered so many different talented people has been a high for me.
How do you stay grounded? My number one priority is to be the best father I can possibly be. Everything else falls in line after that. As long as I’m authentic, that’s what [matters].