At 24, Nick Cannon has established himself as a stand-up comedian, actor, writer and musician.

Nick Cannon is

The comedian, writer, actor and
musician has big career goals

The next time someone makes the comment that kids in their 20s are nothing but a bunch of slackers, mention the name Nick Cannon.

Fire it up

Featuring 112 with special guest Nick Cannon

Where: Kapono's, Aloha Tower Marketplace

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Tickets: $20

Call: 536-2161

At just 24 years of age, the Southern California native already enjoys a budding career in music and movies after establishing himself as a talented stand-up comedian and television actor and writer. It's all part of the master plan for Cannon, who considers the career of friend and mentor Will Smith as the blueprint for his own success.

"I'm trying to create a conglomerate," he said last Wednesday by phone from Los Angeles after spending time with Smith in New York City the day before. "If there's any career that I want to pattern mine after, it would be his. He's done everything right."

AMERICA GOT its first glimpse of Cannon in 1995, when he made his television debut on "Soul Train" as one of the show's dancers.

"I used to do public access before that, but my first national exposure ... was dancing on 'Soul Train' at 15," he said. "I was sneaking on the set, since I wasn't even supposed to be in there!"

Around the same time, he began to get noticed as a performer in local comedy clubs for being one of the youngest to get on stage. His knack for coming up with funny material got him a job as a writer for Nickelodeon's "Keenan and Kel" as a 17-year-old, and he was hired a year later as a regular cast member on "All That."

Cannon's involvement with Nickelodeon would continue to grow, culminating with a starring role in "The Nick Cannon Show" and the launch of his musical career in 2001. His first release was alongside Lil' Romeo and 3LW as they re-recorded his mentor's 1988 breakout hit, "Parents Just Don't Understand."

Over the next two years, Cannon made the jump from children's television to mainstream audiences, starring in the movie "Drumline" in 2002 and releasing his self-titled solo debut album in 2003. He's quick to point out that it's his young fans who helped make the transition an easy one.

"We're kind of right at the same age group," he said. "I'm growing up with them, you know what I mean?"

AFTER A few days of rest and relaxation in conjunction with his performance at Kapono's this weekend, it's back to work for Cannon.

Over the next three months, his main focus will be to promote new television and music projects, along with another major motion picture that he both wrote and stars in.

First up is "Wild'n Out," a sketch comedy show set to air on MTV starting July 13.

"I created the whole thing, took it from an idea in the comedy club one night to actually being a full-on show," said Cannon, who compares the program to "In Living Color" and "Def Comedy Jam" in terms of format and target audience. "It was perfect to do something that hasn't been on television in a long time ... we wanted to bring comedy back to the urban community."

In August, he'll follow with the release of a new album in record stores ("Changes") and a new film in movie theaters ("The Underclassman"). When asked if he prefers singing over acting, Cannon returns to his previously mentioned plans of attaining mogul status by his 30th birthday.

"I definitely want to have a long, strong career, but ... it's always been in me to work behind the scenes and produce," he said. "I love creating."

If everything goes as planned, expect the television and music projects to give way to more lucrative movie deals in Hollywood.

He's already signed to co-star with Lindsey Lohan in an upcoming flick, and recently sold another script that will be produced by Smith.

But like any good mogul, Cannon also plans to give a little back to those less fortunate.

"I come from a family of ministers," he explained. "(So) I want to get involved in humanitarian work and public speaking and possibly even ministry and stuff like that.

"I'm trying to use my career now to be able to fund that when it's time."

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