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Equating the likeable Nick Cannon with a roast style improv show probably doesn’t sound very compatible, but such a show has been around for 15 years. Wild N’Out was created by Cannon and hosted by him starting back in 2005 on MTV, even before he was married to Mariah Carey.

The show became an immediate hit because it combined the improv comedy of Whose Line is it Anyway? with musical guests.

While the original incarnation of the show lasted for two seasons, Cannon temporarily moved on due to a burgeoning music and acting career, not including hosting America’s Got Talent for years. MTV renewed Wild N’Out, though, starting in 2013, again hosted by Cannon.

After one more break, it’s been back again the last few years with its creator as host. Since its return, one participant accused it of being too much like a roast than family-friendly improv.

Has roast comedy become the norm?

Nick Cannon
Nick Cannon | FOX via Getty Images

While the comedy format of Wild N’Out allows for a lot of free-form comedy with celebrity guests, it wasn’t quite so much like a roast in the beginning. Over the years, roasting has become more of a mainstream comedy style, mostly due to the White House Correspondents Dinner and mainstream celebrity roasts airing on cable.

Of course, roasts were a big part of celebrity culture going back multiple decades. Dean Martin started the TV versions of them, even though they were extremely edited to make them suitable for network broadcast.

All roasts shown on cable nowadays go all out and let the celeb participants say…well, anything. The things said during those are not for the faint of heart, almost as if participants down a bucket of truth serum beforehand.

On a show like Wild N’Out, most fans still find this style funny, yet others who’ve appeared there haven’t.

Azealia Banks called the show out for allowing racist jokes

Everyone knows Hip-Hop star Azealia Banks isn’t exactly afraid to speak her mind about everything, including subjects related to race. When she appeared on Wild N’Out in 2018, the participants doing the improv went all out on her and made jokes about her skin color as just starters.

Banks went on Instagram afterward to call the show out for going too far in their roasts. Even if this is where America is in terms of comedy nowadays, there really does have to be a line drawn before someone says something that offends someone.

Some comedians might just thumb their nose at Banks’ concern when brazen, honest comedy broaches difficult subjects in public forums. For Banks, she felt like the jokes were pre-planned and became ambushed with racist behavior.

Whether she was right or not, it seems fans of the show still find it hilarious. Nick Cannon felt for her since he’s been long connected to more family-friendly programming thanks to AGT.

Honest comedy may end up enduring

If some might say Banks got a taste of her own medicine after her own racist jokes on social media the last few years, she was brought to tears at the racist jokes aimed at her.

One can argue going this route in an improv show is taking things too far to the edge. Then again, the brazenness of comedy in today’s times is arguably helping us understand the reality of our society. So many things have been tucked away, making roast-style comedy a chance to create somewhat of a family therapy session.

Saying brutally honest things in the guise of comedy might be the only way to nurture bonds between people so everyone’s always on the same page. However, if Wild N’Out is trying to evolve this, it might take a lot longer to get everyone on board.