Nick Cannon has one of the biggest names in entertainment.
He has served in nearly every position you can hold in the entertainment industry.
Cannon’s work goes far beyond what he does on screen.
He was the youngest person to ever become a television executive and even has his own multi-media company.
Was Nick Cannon Born Rich?
No, Nick Cannon was not born rich.
He was raised by his paternal grandfather in Lincoln Park’s Bay Vista Housing Projects.
This district is infamously run by the gang known as the Bloods, making it a dangerous place for a young boy to grow up.
Although being part of a gang was something that was often glorified in the 1990s, Cannon has never glorified the childhood he had because of all the childhood friends that he lost to gang violence over the years.
Those of his friends who didn’t lose their lives to the gang violence lost their freedom after being arrested and sentenced to time in prison.
Cannon always considered himself lucky to have been able to get away from the violence and trouble.
When he got into entertainment, he decided that he wanted to leave all the trouble and turmoil behind him.
He decided that he was going to take the tragedies that he experienced throughout his early life and turn them into motivation to get people smiling and laughing.
From an early age, Cannon loved to grab people’s attention and make them laugh.
The first time that Nick performed a stand-up bit was on his father’s evangelical public access television show when he was only eight years old.
When Cannon got old enough to drive himself around, he began to perform at more and more local comedy hot spots until he knew he was ready to hit the road.
He soon made his way to Los Angeles where he’d perform at much larger and more famous venues such as The Improv, The Laugh Factory, and The Comedy Club.
It didn’t take Nick Cannon too long before he would be discovered by his manager and given the job that helped shoot him into stardom.
First Appearing On Nickelodeon
The first job that Nick Cannon’s manager got for the young comedian was opening for the 1990s comedy show called All That hosted “for kids and by kids”.
After seeing how popular Cannon was among fans, they added him to the cast in later seasons of the show.
While Cannon was performing on the comedy show, he starred alongside fellow Nickelodeon child actors such as Kenan Thompson, Amanda Bynes, Josh Server, Kel Mitchell, and Soup of Jurassic 5.
After seeing the success he had on one of their programs, Nickelodeon wanted to see how well Cannon would do hosting.
They started Cannon out by having him co-host the All That Music Festival and More Tour.
As the studio executives had thought, Cannon did exceptionally well, and then they had him co-host their other shows Snick House and TEENick in Concert.
To see how far his talent expanded, Nickelodeon even asked Nick Cannon to help them write for their new television shows Kenan and Kel, which starred his All That co-stars, and Cousin Skeeter.
Right after Cannon turned 21 years old, they decided to give him his own show that would be written and produced by him.
The daunting task was exciting for the young Nick Cannon who was excited to see where his career would take him.
The Nick Cannon Show followed Cannon as took over jobs that he believed he could “fix”, with his antics including becoming a math teacher at a local high school for the day or recreating baseball.
This show followed the trend that Nickelodeon was going on by creating individual comedy shows for many of their All That cast, including Kenan and Kel and The Amanda Show.
Although the show only lasted a single year, it was enough to get the ball rolling for Nick Cannon.
His Introduction To Music
Early in his career, Nick Cannon had managed to meet and befriend the popular rapper and actor Will Smith.
Smith saw a lot of his younger self in Cannon, which was the greatest compliment Cannon felt that he had ever been given.
By the time Nick Cannon had befriended Will Smith, Smith had already become a juggernaut in the entertainment industry.
This allowed Smith to open up many doors for Cannon, including offering him his first record deal.
At the time, Will Smith was working through Interscope and had just released the movie Men in Black and hit songs such as Gettin’ Jiggy With It and Miami.
He got Cannon signed with the same company after hearing about Cannon’s rap-comedy sketches.
Thanks to the connections that Will Smith had, he was able to get Cannon positions where he would be working directly with the best rappers and producers in the industry at the time.
Smith put Cannon through what Cannon would later describe as “hip hop school”.
Before Smith’s instructions, Cannon had known little to nothing about rapping or the way to structure a song.
It was Will Smith who taught him that you write 16 bars to a rap before ending the rap.
Cannon originally thought that you simply rapped until you got tired, with no regard to the number of bars.
During his music career, Nick Cannon has gone on to record three albums and two mixtapes.
His first album was released in 2003 and was titled Nick Cannon, which he announced at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.
Many of the songs were produced by Nick himself, but Cannon also had a slew of guests on the tracklist.
Guests such as Nivea, Biz Markie, and the Trackmasters were his teachers during the “hip hop school” that Will Smith created for Nick Cannon.
His Time In Film
When Will Smith had signed Nick Cannon to the record label, he also gave Cannon a movie deal on the same day.
This made Cannon feel like he was on top of the world, with a shining and gleaming future ahead of him.
The first time Nick Cannon ever appeared on film was when Smith had found a small background role for him in Men in Black II as a junior agent who was supposed to later go on and take Will Smith’s place.
For his first main role, Nick Cannon was going up against some incredible fellow actors for the lead role in Drumline.
To help Cannon along, Smith called the casting office ahead of time to let them know about the talent that Cannon had.
In 2003, Nick Cannon played the lead role of Alvin Johnson in Love Don’t Cost a Thing, which was a remake of the 1987 movie Can’t Buy Me Love.
The story follows a nerdy high school boy who pays one of the cheerleaders to be his girlfriend as a way to impress the other students at his school.
In the 2004 film Garfield starring Bill Murray, Nick Cannon took on the voice acting role for Louis.
Cannon’s wily and expressive voice made him nearly as perfect for the role as Bill Murray was for Garfield.
That same year, Cannon took on the role of Scott in the romantic comedy Shall We Dance, where he starred alongside Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere.
The fact that Cannon was popular on television and in movies made him an easy choice for casting directors.
Cannon’s next lead role was in Underclassman, which followed a young detective who is sent to a private school to break up a stolen car ring.
His First Adult Hosting Gig
When Nick Cannon was only 22 years old, he wanted to create a show that would ensure that he and his friends had consistent jobs while also acting as a stepping stone for greater things.
In the same way that Will Smith had given Cannon the chance to grow and shine, Cannon wanted to create a show that would do the same for his friends.
The young comedian and rapper gathered up all of his funniest friends and the funds necessary to create the pilot of a show where rappers would have to freestyle from an electric chair and get zapped every time they weren’t quick enough or stumbled.
Cannon gave the pilot episode to MTV who loved the idea of a rap-based game show.
Cannon knew that the fanbase he originally had on Nickelodeon was getting older and would love to see more mature content from him, which is exactly what Wild ‘N’ Out came to be.
It was easy for Cannon to make the switch from Nickelodeon to MTV because they were both owned by Viacom.
Being the youngest writer in Nickelodeon history helped Nick Cannon make a name for himself throughout the entire corporation.
It also helped that Nick Cannon filled in as a host for Total Request Live earlier that same year.
Cannon grew as both an on-screen personality and a behind-the-scenes director with experience in nearly every step in the production process.
From 2005 to 2007, Wild ‘N’ Out went off the air because of growing production costs and because Cannon wanted to step back to focus on his marriage with Maria Carey.
They wanted to start a family and Cannon needed the extra time to spend with his new family.
Wild ‘N’ Out was later brought back in 2013 but was put on MTV2.
Taking Hosting To A Whole New Level
Nick Cannon took on one of his most beloved and recognizable roles as the host for the talent competition show America’s Got Talent.
He began hosting the show in 2009, which had an array of judges including Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel.
Cannon was just as much an integral part of the show’s success as the judges or the talented competitors.
From the way he joked with the competitors to the way he would nervously join risky acts, Cannon was often the most entertaining part of the show.
To match his over-the-top personality, Cannon would wear outfits just as wild.
Nearly every week, he would wear shoes that were encrusted with diamonds and worth $2 million.
His time on America’s Got Talent showed just how good a host Cannon was and how well he was able to help the contestants shine just as brightly as his shoes.
Cannon would go on to host until 2017 when he made jokes about the creative differences between him, NBC, and America’s Got Talent.
However, NBC was not pleased about what Cannon said about the company, and they threatened to terminate him if he did it again.
At that point, Nick decided that he was done with his time on America’s Got Talent and would spend his time working on another show where he could host once more.
Cannon became the host of the mystery singing competition The Masked Singer.
Cannon found himself in hot water once more after making anti-Semitic comments and had to apologize and work on his behavior before he was allowed to come back to the show.
Cannon was also pulled away from the show when he contracted COVID-19 in order to give him time to recover and stop the spread.
He has since returned to the show.
Becoming Chairman Of Teen Nick
After becoming the youngest writer for Nickelodeon and producing multiple successful shows for Teen Nick, Nickelodeon wanted him to be the chairman of the channel.
It was clear that nobody understood what their audience wanted more than Nick Cannon.
Nickelodeon had been working with Nick Cannon since he was in high school, and they watched him grow to become a one-man studio team if he needed to be.
Cannon was able to keep tabs on what teenagers would be interested in by deejaying at nightclubs and surfing the internet.
This made Nick Cannon the youngest television executive ever with more responsibility than most executives.
In addition to doing all the office and behind-the-scenes work, Cannon was also set to appear onscreen
Although it may have seemed like a public relations stunt to welcome in Teen Nick as a replacement for their less successful nighttime television The N, Cannon and fellow Viacom insiders took his role incredibly seriously.
Cannon was expected to be at meetings, prepared with spreadsheets for his latest show and budget proposals.
He came into the meetings not as the goofy comedian most know him as, but rather as a serious businessman.
At the Teen Nick office, Cannon had a corner office, brought in the best people he knew for each of his projects, and spent his time at the office doing everything he could to cement a brand identity for Teen Nick in the minds of consumers and fellow executives.
Cannon became close with many of his fellow executives, who were glad to teach the eager Cannon whatever he wanted to know over the decade that he served as an executive.
He still sends Cyma Zarghami, a former head of Nickelodeon, flowers every year on her birthday.
With what he learned at Teen Nick, he created NCredible Entertainment.
Starting NCredible Entertainment
After his time with Teen Nick was over, Nick Cannon wanted to create something like what Nickelodeon had.
The only difference is that his multi-media company would focus on black creators, actors, and musicians.
The company has its hand in nearly every creative industry, including radio, book publishing, and filmmaking.
One of the first projects that Cannon announced was being worked on by NCredible Entertainment was School Gyrls, a movie about three very different girls who find a common interest in singing.
Cannon even discussed how his multi-media company was working alongside Simon and Schuster to create a children’s book series to go with the movie.
His company was also working with Archie Comics to create a brand-new comic book series around the movie as well.
In the crossover comic with Archie Comics, the School Gyrls’ tour bus breaks down in Archie’s part of town, and it’s up to both gangs to work together to get the School Gyrls back on the road.
Cannon’s characters appeared in Archie #607.
In 2013, Nick Cannon made the switch from Nickelodeon to Cartoon Network by having NCredible studios release Incredible Crew on the children’s television channel.
The show is based on a combination of Cannon’s previous work.
The show stars Shauna Case, Shameik Moore, Tristan Pasterick, Jeremy Shada, Brandon Soo Hoo, and Chanelle Peloso.
Incredible Crew consists of outlandish comedy sketches, comedy music videos, and even some prank videos.
Releasing His Comedy Special
In 2017, Nick Cannon released his first comedy special called Stand Up, Don’t Shoot.
Those who only knew Cannon from his hosting gigs were shocked at the type of language he used, but longtime fans of Cannon knew exactly what to expect.
Even his fans agree that Stand Up, Don’t Shoot wasn’t his best work.
Although Cannon managed to keep his spirits high during the comedy set, not many of his jokes seemed to land as well as he had hoped they would.
While the first part of the special was the best part, the special took an odd turn in the middle.
Cannon was trying to perk the audience back up by dropping catchphrases, but it didn’t seem to help the situation.
For the final part of his comedy special, Nick Cannon decided to focus on the ending of his marriage with pop star Maria Carey.
However, the jokes came off more like gossip than an actual, structured joke.
This was the comedy special where Cannon made the jokes about NBC and America’s Got Talent that ended up causing the disagreement between Cannon and NBC.
This is what led him to quit hosting the competitive talent show.
Becoming A Radio And Podcast Host
In Los Angeles, Nick Cannon hosts a radio show called Nick Cannon Mornings on the channel Power 106, a popular hip-hop radio station.
The show was a hit until Nick Cannon released a podcast episode with Professor Griffin, who already had an extremely controversial past.
During the episode of his podcast Cannon’s Class, Cannon began making bold anti-Semitic claims alongside Professor Griffin.
This caused Cannon to temporarily lose many of his current jobs at the time.
What ended up saving Nick Cannon from completely losing his jobs was his willingness to learn why he was wrong for saying what he did from Jewish leaders around him.
After learning the reasons that he shouldn’t have been allowing those types of influences to harm his perception of Jewish people, he issued an apology and was able to go back to hosting his radio show and The Masked Singer.
Cannon was excited to be able to return to his morning radio talk show where he could go back to uplifting his viewers through difficult times.
The multi-media mogul was grateful to be given the chance to learn from his mistakes and grow to be better.
Although Nick Cannon has had a rocky few years recently, he hasn’t let that stop him from creating the project he wanted to see become a reality and supporting others in the same way that older entertainers once supported him.