Nick Cannon is candid about his unexpected departure from America’s Got Talent.
The 36-year-old comedian recently went down with ET’s Kevin Frazier during the filming of “Wild ‘N Out: Live in Times Square, where he opened up about not wanting to be “defined” by his work, whether as the host of a hugely popular reality TV show, a musician, a producer or a stand-up comedian.
“The entertainment industry [can] compartmentalize you,” Cannon shared. “[People] are caught in a sentence like: ‘You should be happy to be here”, or ” it’s the dream job. Things like this are not for everyone.” But things like that do not define me.”
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Canon announced in February that he wanted to quit as host of the hit NBC competition series after he was allegedly “threatened with termination” by the jokes he told in his Showtime stand-up special, Stand-Up, don’t Shoot, that he says that some members of the NBC top brass probably thought, “elevated their brand.”
As Cannon wrote in a long statement posted on Instagram at the time, “This is not the first time leaders have tried to ‘put me in my place’ for the so-called unruly actions.”
“I will not go. My moral principles are easy to walk away from the millions of dollars that they hang above my head,” he continued. “It’s never been about the money for me, what is difficult to walk away from the fans.”
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According to Cannon, who served as the show host for eight seasons, he understands “that within a system,” but the feeling that he did not “have an employee’s mentality.”
“When people start to agree on my creativity, as an artist, I have to stand on my square and stand for something,” Cannon explained to ET. “I’ve never be used for monetary gain. Money is not one of the things that moves me or inspires me.”
“I love [the money]. I love the way everyone on this planet, but I don’t make decisions based off of it,” he said, adding that his decision to quit was not emotional.
“Everything I do is calculated,” Cannon said.
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The outspoken entertainer — who is currently expanding his MTV improv comedy series, “Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out,” with the “So you Wanna Wild Out” talent search — it says that “at the end of the day, I don’t have the guilt of everyone.”
“I have a feeling change is growth,” he said. “I wish everyone the best. I wish all the new people involved are the best. I wish the brand to continue to flourish. I have love for the network, I have the love for the production, and I feel like I’ve grown as an artist and as a human being, on to bigger and better things.”
And as for ‘ Wild ‘N Out” — that Cannon made his debut in 2005 and is now in his eighth season after being revived on MTV2 — the comedian says the groundbreaking series is still “near and dear to my heart.”
“When I made it, this was before anyone knew who Kevin Hart was, knew who Kat Williams was, knew who Mikey Day and all these people who now with great career [were],” Cannon recalled. “I feel like I was an integral part of the build, and when I look back at the things that inspired me as a young person, of “Def Comedy Jam” and “In Living Color,” this generation is inspired in the same way by a ‘ Wild ‘N Out” and it continues to grow.”
“I’m the diversification of the activities in the sense that it began as a TV show, and now we are a digital component,” he added. “We are a game component, we open the “Wild ‘N Out” sports bars and comedy clubs around the country, tapping with different sports teams and just really taking that brand that I myself and Viacom built and opportunity to expand.”
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Outside of his many professional pursuits, Cannon was also a father of three. Last month, he welcomed a new son, Golden “Sagon” Gun, with ex-girlfriend Brittany Bell, and he shares the 5-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe with wife Mariah Carey.
While Cannon and Carey called it quits in 2014, the actor has shown nothing but respect and appreciation for his ex-wife, with whom he shares an amiable co-parenting relationship, he says, is on the basis of “unconditional love” for both Carey and their children.
“That woman is a woman,” Cannon said of “I don’t” singer, adding, “She is a wonderful mother.”
“I have nothing but respect and admiration for that woman,” he claimed. “I will never be a bad thing, a negative thing to say about her.”
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Cannon says that he and his ex-wife have “such respect for the other,” that you can ” see in the children. You can see how happy they are, you can see that she is loved unconditionally. At the end of the day, that is our number one priority.”