Christopher Noll, the self-styled ”hip-hop nanny” who delighted American Idol viewers Wednesday night with his rhymes about the Idol judges (and his nerdy attire — black-rimmed specs, orange and green rugby shirt, pants hiked up to his chest), may have earned himself a bit of William Hung-style notoriety, but he’s also no stranger to fame. You may know him better as Chris Wylde, host of Comedy Central’s short-lived late-night talkfest The Chris Wylde Show and the old TNN game show Taboo.
He’s also earned a rep as a reality prankster, playing a faux movie director who dupes real actors on AMC’s Filmfakers, getting the Trading Spaces designers to renovate his Hollywood apartment, and now, getting a segment on Idol.
Actually, Wylde insists, he wasn’t out to dupe anyone. For one thing, he really is a part-time nanny to two girls. ”’Don’t quit your day job’ was some great advice I received early in my career,” he told EW.com on Wednesday, calling from the set of a Cinnamon Toast Crunch commercial where he also puts his rhyme skills to use. And while Idol requires its contestants to be non-professionals who don’t have talent agents, Wylde says he was without representation in October when the San Francisco audition was held. Wylde says he really does want to be ”a pop sensation.” So he auditioned under his real name, Noll, informing producers of his few professional credits as Noll (like his presence as part of the choir that backed Carly Simon on ”Let the River Run” from Working Girl back in 1988), though he did not mention his more extensive résumé as Wylde. He says no one at Idol recognized him. (A Fox spokesperson told EW.com she didn’t know if anyone at Fox was aware of Noll’s background before the show aired, but the recap of the show posted Thursday on the Idol website, written by ”the Jaded Journalist,” notes that Noll is Wylde, then disses his performance.)
Wylde says he knew he could get on camera by rapping lyrics about Randy, Paula, and Simon, but he says he freestyled the lines about guest judge Brandy on the spot. ”Freestyle rap is what I do,” he says. ”They could have brought in LL Cool J and lowered Louie Anderson from the ceiling, and I would have had lyrics about both of them.” Also improvised: his profanity-laced, much-bleeped tirade after the judges rejected him, though he says that, too, was a ploy for more camera time.
Still, Wylde says he’s pleased with the response he’s received so far. ”I could not be happier with the way it worked out,” he says, noting that he’s already been booked on Fox’s Good Day Live and will get a few more seconds of fame when Access Hollywood does a report about him. Ultimately, if his Idol appearance doesn’t launch him into William Hung-style musical stardom (”I can dance better than P. Diddy,” he says, ”and I can also rap about 20 billion times better”), he’ll settle for a network sitcom deal. Launching into his rap act, he says, ”NBC, forget Joey Tribbiani/What you need is the hip-hop nanny.”