Nick Cannon’s Teenage Dreams

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Asked whether Ms. Carey ever advised him on his various endeavors, Mr. Cannon said pillow talk between them rarely touches on work. “There’s so many other things to talk about,” he said. “When you’re at home you want to talk about anything but work. We try to have fun, even though the media tries to make up stuff—we just have the perfect relationship.”

Not that ever loses sight of his No. 1 goal. “I just want to be a part of great entertainment, at the end of the day, whatever aspect it could be,” he said. “Whether I’m on stage telling a joke, making a record, TV, acting, hosting, producing, starring in a film, I just love entertainment. You ever have a sports buff, who loves golf, and basketball, and loves going to horse races—you’re a sports enthusiast. I’m an entertainment enthusiast.”

And he’s not alone in that: Ryan Seacrest, for example, produces programming for E! while hosting American Idol and a nationwide radio show, and Andy Cohen juggles a gig managing Bravo’s programming with another as host of a late-night talk show. The Observer asked Mr. Cannon how he’d compare himself with the two, and he pondered for a moment. “People say I’m the hardest-working man in entertainment,” he began, whereupon Mr. Dawkins walked into his office.

“Like those shoes, man,” said Mr. Cannon.

“A little Cole Haan, actually,” said Mr. Dawkins. The two discussed the more fashionable choices the shoe company’s designers had been making of late.

“It’s funny, I was watching—with my wife—your stand-up on Showtime,” Mr. Dawkins noted, referring to Mr. Showbiz, a special from this year during which Mr. Cannon referred to Eminem as “Enema.” He said she was pleasantly surprised. “I think she has a certain lens on what Nick Cannon is, and she was like”—Mr. Dawkins feigned surprise—“‘this is funny!’”

“It’s so funny that people say that,” Mr. Cannon replied, aware that his reputation as a kiddie entertainer has created a certain perception. “I’m sorry you were thinking it would be not hilarious.” Mr. Dawkins said Mr. Cannon would need to prove himself continuously. “Andre 3000 said it best,” said Mr. Cannon. “You’re only funky as your last cut.”

We asked Mr. Cannon, again, how he’d compare himself with Mr. Seacrest and Mr. Cohen. “I think it’s a new kind of entertainer now,” he said, before reconsidering. “Actually it’s not a new kind of entertainer. You think about Bob Hope and Johnny Carson, Desi Arnaz—he was a great producer. It’s the same thing where—I call it an entrepretainer. It’s a businessman and an entertainer at the same time. That’s kind of what you have to be.”

ddaddario@observer.com :: @DPD_