Nick Cannon is stuck in traffic, but he doesn’t mind.
He’s making his way south on the freeway to his native San Diego from his Los Angeles home in his 2004 Range Rover, rolling on Pirelli Scorpion Zero rubber and 23-inch Antera Type 325 SUV rims.
It’s a trek he makes several times a week to keep his mind right. The rounds are pretty much the same—the recording studio, church with his grandmother and of course indulging in some of his mother’s home cooking. “It’s a cool two hour drive,” Cannon explains. “That’s where I come up with the best ideas.”
Time alone in the car is essential to Cannon, who has pretty much been bombarded with nonstop attention since his leading roll in the movie “Drumline” and the “Nick Cannon Show” that aired on Nickelodeon. “That’s what I like about driving. In the car, that’s when I get time with me. I like riding with me. As soon as I get out the car there’s a lot of people around me all the time.”
The rise of attention is warranted. The 24-year old is about as high profile as they come, with a hit song, “Can I Live,” holding steady on the charts, a long list of film credits and his new movie “Underclassman.” His pet project, the television series “Wild ‘N Out” is airing in its inaugural season on MTV, “We’ve got a cast of about ten comedians. And then we have a DJ and a musical performance.”
Despite his young age, Cannon’s been grinding like this for some time, and his San Diego commute is telling of the miles he’s traveled. He discovered sketch comedy when he was 11. By the time he turned 16, he was ready to pursue the elusive Hollywood world. Thanks to his mother’s 1987 BMW 325 hand-me-down, he had the means to get himself to L.A.’s stand-up comic haunts including The Improv and the Comedy Store. “The car was ten years old, but I guess I always had a little taste. My mom started me off right,” he jokes. “I used to roll by myself. I used to hop in the Bimmer and go. [My mom] wasn’t having it either, driving two hours to another city to do God knows what. But, all my other friends were doing nothing, just partying. And I was like, I’m going to be an adult.”Not to say he wasn’t up to a little teenage mischief. He remembers joyriding with his friend in his friend’s parent’s new Infiniti around the block before they were licensed drivers. “We ended up ripping the car door off of the two-week old Infiniti. I didn’t go over to his house for a long time,” he reminisces.
Cannon made good on his entertainment aspirations, finishing high school at 16 and moving to L.A. “I was still pretty much living out of my BMW. I had 300,000 miles on it and I was sleeping on couches.” Comedians grab their material from their lives and Cannon’s car struggles wove their way into his standup routine. “I used to write about gas money. At 17, that was the only thing that was on my mind, was getting gas. I did a whole 20 minute set about gas, the ways I would hustle to get it, like taking money out of the collection plate at church,” he laughs at the memory.
Though Cannon has jokes, he had a solid foundation, dividing his childhood years between California and North Carolina, where his father lived and taught him to drive. “My dad let me learn how to drive when I was 12. I would take him back and forth to church.” In California, his first backseat memory is riding in his mom’s 1983 Buick Regal.
His strong family foundation proved to be a good base for sticking to his plans as a young man trying to make it in Hollywood. “I was doing stand up for almost five or six years and that’s when I started at Nickelodeon doing writing. That’s when stuff started taking off and I got a house and a Range Rover.”