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Thesps on the rise: Nick Cannon

At 16, Nick Cannon became a regular at the Comedy Store and the Improv in Hollywood, where he caught the attention of Nickelodeon talent scouts. Soon thereafter he started performing warm-up routines for Nick shows, and wrote five episodes for the series “Cousin Skeeter” and one for “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

A few of Will Smith’s reps noticed Cannon, setting up a meeting between the two. Cannon pitched a pilot idea to Smith who sold it to Warner Bros.

“Even though the show didn’t get picked up, the relationship between me and Will is tight. He’s like my acting coach,” says Cannon.

Now 21, he is star and producer of “The Nick Cannon Show,” which he describes as “me taking over a bunch of different stuff, almost how Leno and Letterman do their man-on-the-street bits.” He also is about to begin filming “Drumline,” from Fox 2000, co-starring Orlando Jones.

Cannon attributes his early showbiz success to his father, who conditioned him to write down all of his comedic ideas.

“It all boils down to my writing, whether it’s a joke, song, or screenplay,” says Cannon. “Get your ideas down in writing when you’re excited about them.”

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