Following the lead of hip-hop’s warm embrace of comedy—from rappers’ enthusiastic references of bits from comics like Eddie Murphy, Katt Williams, Dave Chappelle and Kevin Hart, to hip-hop/comedy fusion shows like Def Comedy Jam—Nick Cannon capitalized on the early 2000s with his hilarious live battle show Wild ‘N Out. The show, which ran from 2005-2009 on MTV, was a staple for hip-hop audiences, in large part because of special guest appearances by the game’s biggest rappers, who would come on to freestyle battle and show off their comedy chops before performing for the studio audience at the end of the show. It was always a party, but after four years on the air, Cannon hung up the comedy mic for endeavors like America’s Got Talent and his radio show on 92.3 NOW.
Now, after a five-year hiatus, the always-busy Cannon has partnered with the more youth-centric MTV2 network to bring back Wild ‘N Out, but this time it’ll be a bit different. In watching the first few episodes, it’s clear that the new season will be a bit edgier and more in-your-face, but don’t get us wrong—it still looks as fun as ever.
In anticipation of the July 9th premiere of the new season, XXL has partnered with MTV2 to bring you a series of interviews with standout cast-members from the show. For our first installment, we spoke to New York battle rapper Conceited, which you can find here. This time around, we talked to improv comic Jacob Williams, who has a surprising history with Cannon. In a phone conversation with Williams (who was in Chicago at the time), he told us about his improv education, getting to meet some of his favorite musicians on the show and how he performed with Nick Cannon while still in college.