Nick Cannon Talks Wild ‘N Out’s Return, Battling With Kevin Hart & His Relationship With Mariah Carey

Nick Cannon is bringing “Wild ‘N Out” back to television tonight on MTV2.

The returning series, which last aired on MTV back in 2007, pits two teams against each other as they face off in battle raps, comedy-flavored R&B songs and more.

In the first episode back (premiering tonight at 11 PM on MTV2), host Nick Cannon leads one team and his pal, Kevin Hart (who appeared on the show previously), captains the other, as they toss out lyrics at each other.

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And nothing is off limits on the show, which is officially titled “Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out.” There are plenty of references to Nick’s wife, Mariah Carey, and jokes about Kevin’s height. There’s even a few barbs about one of the silver jackets Nick’s team wears in one of the battle rounds, but he loves the clothing item all the same.

“I think that jacket is fly. I got that jacket custom made,” he told

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Nick also chatted with Access about reviving the show, why he’s all right with comedians bringing up his wife in the battle rounds and how he got the very busy Kevin on board for the show’s season premiere. How excited are you to bring this show back?

Nick Cannon: I’m thrilled just ‘cause it’s so much fun and the opportunity to give new talent a kind of stage to get out there – I’m excited about that. I feel like I’m at a point in my career where I’ve kind of done everything I ever wanted to do, so now I get joy out of seeing younger people kind of come up… and launch their careers. ‘Wild ‘N Out’ did that for so many people the first time around, whether it was Kevin Hart, Katt Williams, Taran Killam, Affion Crockett – all those people who are having amazing careers right now. And we found some great talent again.

Access: You also found some great outfits.

Nick Cannon: Thank you. Yeah. Yeah, you know me – I’m always on some crazy style stuff.

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Access: Teams change their wardrobes on this show for each round. Did you help with wardrobe too?

Nick: When it comes to ‘Wild N’ Out,’ that’s my baby. I’m involved in everything – from the casting to the catering — so definitely what everyone had on and the new design of the T-shirts. When we had to put on costumes or whatever, I kind of was involved in all of that. It’s just because it means so much to me. It’s the longest running comedy on MTV — ever, in MTV history, and to be able to continue that legacy has been good.

Access: Kevin Hart is the other team captain in the premiere. I’m guessing you made the call to bring him back? How did that go?

Nick: We’re best friends and we’re both in a place in our careers where all we do is call each other and ask each other for favors. … He called me and asked me to do the ‘Real Husbands of Hollywood.’ So I was like, ‘Alright, if I do that then you better make sure you’re on ‘Wild ‘N Out’ when we do it this time around.’ … That’s all we do. We just favor each other to death. But it’s kind of cool to see somebody that you came up in the game with be so successful, and you guys can share success together. It’s really cool.

Access: Does it make it easier to battle rap with each other because you know each other so well? Or does it make it harder because you don’t want to reveal stuff that isn’t public?

Nick: Nah, because we’re the type of comedians that nothing is off limits. Even when we’re not on television, we just say any and everything about each other. So he’s heard every short joke I could ever come up with. I’ve heard every Mariah joke that he could come up with. … When you’re best friends, that’s what you do with your best friend – [you] can say anything to that person and you know it’s all love.

Access: He brings up Mariah in the premiere and references to Mariah are peppered throughout the first episode. Why are you so cool with all that? So many celebrity couples don’t even want to talk about their significant other, or they do so in general terms. But you guys seem really cool with any of that kind of stuff.

Nick: Because we’re real, normal people. [We’re] not hiding anything. You know what I mean? That’s the beauty of it. It’s not a facade. It’s not fake. … When you don’t take yourself seriously, it’s like, ‘Hey! This is fun. This is silly,’ and that’s kind of how we approach everything. At the end of the day, we’re so solid in everything that we [have] that we can joke about it. It’s interesting, though, because it’s actually two extremes because me — I’m like a big mouth, say anything, kind of [guy and] sometimes where there’s interviews or something, kind of cross the line and then my wife is so private and kind of so classy with how she handles everything. … But it works because we are always so honest, no matter what it is, we’re just honest about it so, I think that’s why we don’t have a problem ever talking about it.

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Access: Other than Kevin, what other guests are you bringing in this season?

Nick: We’ve got a lot of fun people. Everyone from Amar’e Stoudemire from the New York Knicks… And everyone from Macklemore… 2 Chainz… It’s a great, great ensemble that we kind of put together this season.

Access: What’s your advice to them before each episode begins? To come up with a great R&B comedy song on the spot – that’s not easy.

Nick: No, it’s not and that’s the thing too. People see it and think ‘Oh, I can do that, that’s easy,’ but you gotta have some talented individuals that can be that talented and witty and comfortable in front of a crowd, especially a New York crowd. But I think we found some amazingly talented people and they make it look easy.

“Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out” premieres on July 9 at 11 PM on MTV2.

-- Jolie Lash

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