Nick Cannon talks the return of WIld ‘N Out on MTV2

Wild ‘N Out returns to the MTV airwaves after a six-year absence, resurfacing on MTV2 on July 9, 2013, with host Nick Cannon, several of his original improv comedy battlers and special guest Kevin Hart.

Two teams of comedians and rappers play short games forcing them to ad-lib songs based off of audience suggestions (for a game called “R & Beef”), drop insults on things everybody loves (for a game called “Hate On It”) and other topics. In the season premiere, Cannon even manages to make a lip-sync joke while “hating” on his wife, Mariah Carey — who was just accused of lip-syncing during last weekend’s BET Awards.

Of course, Cannon’s joke is not at Carey’s expense. Instead, he said, while describing his own lavish wedding reception: “Then you gonna come out with a microphone and start singing live, hitting high notes. You could’ve just lip-synced that shit like Beyonce did at the inauguration.”

Why bring the show back now after six years? “Just ’cause everybody was just asking me about it, saying ‘That was my favorite show!'” Cannon told The Comic’s Comic. “I didn’t feel like I had enough time.”

But the busier he found himself, he eventually realized that Wild ‘N Out represented one opportunity that balanced out everything else. “The show is so much fun. It feels like a vacation for me. To hang out with my friends.” Friends like Kevin Hart, who competes in the season premiere next week as head of the crew that battles Cannon’s crew.

No problem getting Hart to come back since he’s gotten so big-time in the past couple of years (Hart’s newest stand-up concert film hits movie theaters this week)? “We were doing his show, Real Husbands of Hollywood, that was so much fun. We figured out how to do that in our schedules to do that. We figured we could work this out, too.” Cannon said in the past, he’d look on TV and see guys like Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller carve out time to work on each other’s projects. Why not him and Hart? “We have the opportunity to do it. Not just put on our favorite new comics, but just do it, too. Have a good time…It’s all about favors. I also directed a movie, that I made him do that for having me do his Real Husbands show. So I probably owe him now.”

Cannon also managed to bring back several of the comedians who improvised jokes, rap and hip-hop lyrics on the past version of the show, such as Corey Holcomb and Mikey Day, but not Taran Killam, who’s now a star on Saturday Night Live. You can see some clips of Killam and others on old Wild ‘N Outs to reminisce, though.

“Originally what I was going to do was have the O.G.’s against the young bucks. That was how the two squads were going to be: Me, Kevin, DeRay Davis, Mikey Day, Holcomb all on one squad. But once we got the crews together, we thought, why not mix them up and go from there. It worked out much better that way. It was fun to see the new cast mingle and learn from the veterans who did the show together.”

“Taran is killing it on SNL. Mikey Day is lighting it up. DeRay Davis has been in crazy movies. Affion Crockett is another one who had network TV shows. It’s amazing to see all of the people do their thing and take their career to the next level.”

Cannon said this new edition includes performers, too, such as Timothy DeLaGhetto, Conceited, and a young stand-up you might not expect to be wild enough for the show — but whom has grown much under Cannon’s wing.

“Jacob Wiliams, that’s my guy. He opened for me on my first stand-up special in Vegas. He actually won a contest, on my website, to do it,” Cannon said. “His comedy is so unorthodox. I fell in love with his style of comedy, he’s so quirky. And then after that he got on America’s Got Talent and made the top 15.” And now here. “Everybody tried to fight me against it. This show is grimy and New York City. But the crowd loved him every episode.”

“There’s another kid I found, Pete Davidson. I found him on Staten Island when he was 16. I started doing stand-up when I was a teenager. Pete was killing it with well-written material.” Davidson now is 18 and on another MTV2 series, Guy Code.

One comedian you won’t see returning to Wild ‘N Out, at least not this summer, is Katt Williams.

Williams blew up as a stand-up since then, and then some would say his career imploded, then recovered. Not that that’s why he’s missing this time around.

Cannon explains of Williams’s absence: “Katt? We tried! Katt said he wanted to do it. We sent the plane ticket and everything. I actually got him in my new movie I’m doing for Lionsgate. I think it was just a scheduling thing.” Cannon said Williams was in L.A. and the show taped in NYC. “Hopefully we can get Katt next season.”

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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