Jack of all trades Nick Cannon has tackled movies (Drumline), TV (America’s Got Talent) and music (Nick Cannon). But now the multihyphenate is returning to stand-up comedy, the skill that initially led to him being discovered at a young age. Cannon is starring in his first stand-up special, Mr. Showbiz, which premieres this Saturday on Showtime at 9pm ET and was taped weeks ago at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas. “I’m so excited,” says Cannon. “I’ve never done a stand up special and I’ve been doing this ever since I was 11 years old.” EW talked to Cannon about the hour-long special, his wife Mariah Carey, and the pair’s recently born twins, Moroccan and Monroe.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You were discovered doing stand up. Why did you wanna go back to this?
NICK CANNON: Really it’s my foundation. I never stopped doing it. I mean I started when I was a pre-teen. My other endeavors may have overshadowed my actual passion and my actual craft as a comic. At the core, I’m a stand-up comedian.
Who are your targets in this special?
Oh man I target everything. Superstars like Denzel Washington and Kanye West.
What do you say about them?
Just my experiences with them. I try to take the everyday guy approach and the craziness of it. I deal with everything from homophobia to the N-word to my own personal things, whether it’s the so-called beef with Eminem or being married to one of the most famous people in the world. All of that — it’s there. It’s me! You hear it from the horse’s mouth. I kind of took everything they talk about in the tabloids and on the blogs and just put it all out there and was 100 percent honest with it and unapologetic and not afraid to just attack any topic.
Before you went out on stage and talked about Mariah, did you discuss it with her?
Uh, a little bit. Some of it was just freestylin’. But she has such a great sense of humor that I would run stuff by her all the time and just say, “Yo what do you think about this?” She’s a great punch up writer!
Are there jokes about fatherhood?
Yeah there are definitely jokes about fatherhood and really speaking about my fears about being a father. I even talk about my twins being born any day now. All of that’s there.
Is this special dirty?
I wouldn’t say it’s a dirtier Nick Cannon — I’d say it’s a realer Nick Cannon though. It’s definitely not PG. But I mean it’s a 30-year old Nick Cannon, so you’ll get the reality of what’s going on.
Yeah, I make fun of it and how silly it was. I kinda take it from the approach of like how my grandfather felt about it. The whole thing was silly in the first place.
Do you think you’ll do more of these specials?
Oh yeah, I’m already on to my next one. I’m ready to go!
Now that you are a father, you’re probably getting great material from the twins.
Yeah I got tons of jokes already. Ready to hit the stage ASAP.
How is it being a father?
Ah, man, it’s amazing. It’s surreal. Probably the most beautiful thing that’s ever happened to me is to be able to have a family and to be able to just live in that moment as long as you possibly can.
The names Moroccan and Monroe have gotten a lot of attention. Did you two anticipate that?
I had no idea it was gonna get that much attention. We don’t sit around and like calculate what we’re gonna do. These are things that we really feel. We’re creative and eccentric people, so clearly a lot of people are gonna have opinions about the deicisions we make. But we don’t really care at the end of the day. They’re meaningful names to us and they’re special to us. I guess that’s the purpose of having a name: for people to take notice. So we’re off to a good start.
Who do they look most like?
A lot of people [say] they look like me. It’s funny, we have our own baby pictures in the room, and we’re like holding them to the baby and like, “Wel l, he kinda has your head and my eyes.” I would say it’s a mixture of both right now.