It’s hard to be unfamiliar with Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out seeing that it’s been on MTV since 2005 and is one of the few, if only, regular improv shows to feature almost exclusively comedic rap. Having concluded in the 2007, MTV2 announced that the series would be returning in 2013 after a six-year hiatus. Bringing back cast members from previous seasons, the revamped show brought on a number of new faces, including out comedians Chaunte Wayans and Lauren Flans.
The premiere episode of Season 5 acquired 1.1 million total viewers making it the highest rated telecast in MTV2 history, thanks in no small part to Chaunte, a member of the notoriously hilarious Wayans’ family, and rap aficionado Lauren, who’s already put out a rap EP.
AfterEllen.com: Seems Wild ‘N Out helped to make improv rap it’s own comedic genre. How did you discover you have a talent for rapping?
Chaunte Wayans: Well you know I would like to say that it’s my forte, however it’s like nursery rhymes, you just gotta put something together as long as you have fun and, you know, try to get a joke in there. It doesn’t have to sound the best, I’m not trying to be a rapper, I just want to have fun with it.
Lauren Flans: I worked for three and a half years at an improv and sketch comedy theater in Amsterdam called Boom Chicago and the way we use to close out the shows was we’d interview someone from the audience and then we would freestyle rap to them. That was how we’d close this entire two-hour show. So it had to be big and flashy and funny; it was what the audience left with and it was their final impression. What I learned in doing it for a little while was that oh, I’m pretty good at this. I started to get more interested in it and I started to listening to a little more rap, because I found that it helped me. It was one of those things that was trial by fire. I had to learn how to do it pretty quickly and I would do it any chance I got.
AE: Did you study improv?
CW: I actually took a few classes, but no, not really. My main thing was just doing stand up comedy — I was doing that for a few years. I guess it was a little bit of practice on that stage, you know you have to act stuff out and be in the moment.
AE: Had you been a fan of Wild ‘N Out before making it to the show?
CW: Yes, yes, yes! I use to watch it all the time. They had Katt Williams and Mikey Day — I use to love that show. I never thought I’d be on it, which was very random but, you know, as I grew with stand up, and wanted to get out there, I realized it was my calling.
LF: I totally was! When I was living in Amsterdam, MTV was one of the biggest English language networks, so I would watch Wild ‘N Out while I was learning how to do this rap stuff for the show so it was like the perfect combination of getting to watch people do something I was really trying to really quickly become good at. I use to watch it a lot out there and, this is so cheesy, but I would be like, my dream job would be to move back home and be on this show and it happened so that’s really cool.
AE: How did you end up auditioning?
CW: I found out about the audition and it was funny because, like I said, I never really knew the improv game. I had my aunt Kim help me out with characters and stuff like that, which is pretty fun. I just went in and it was nerve wracking because you didn’t know what to expect for the first time. But I got there and it turned out pretty sweet!
LF: What’s funny is that by the time I moved back the show was off the air. I moved back during the six-year hiatus and I was like, my dreams are dashed. Instead, I started doing this group, a sketch comedy music group called Lost Moon Radio, and in the shows I would rap. It was also my first experience with writing rap. At one of the shows, an agent was in the audience. When Wild ‘N Out came back on the air he wrote me out of the blue and asked if he could submit me for it and I was like, YES, DO THAT! I was lucky enough to get a call back and I booked it.
AE: I read an interview where Chaunte was described as the more “traditionally, or obviously gay” cast member—
CW: (Laughs) Yes I am! I am very proud of that, thank you.
AE: I was going to ask if you agreed with that statement! Was there a specific joke that outted you on the show?
CW: I figure the joke I did with Rasika, when I did the “my box” joke. It was just a moment of me, I don’t know, trying to be me and figuring out what was going to set me apart from everyone else. I wanted to push that forward the most because that would definitely stand out.
LF: In the callbacks for my first season, I went off on a cast member and did three rhymes in a row that ended with “I’m gay too and you’re making me gayer.” They aired that clip from callbacks on the casting special that aired before the episodes of the show started airing. I had no idea because it had never come up in the entire time we had shot all the episodes of the show. Then I was at home watching the casting special and was like, Oh, well that’s out there now. It came up way more this season! The answer is, I outted myself.
AE: What’s been your most memorable moment on the show? Which celebrity guest were you most excited to meet?
CW: All of them! Everyone was real cool. Nick Cannon was cool in general. I mean, I never really listened to his music but I use to see him on TV all the time, and in Drumline, I just thought he was really talented, and then to meet him? Talking to him was exciting.
LF: You know who ended up being my favorite one this season was Chrissy Teigen. At the time that we shot she was just a really famous model, and then a little after we shot she got the cover of Sports Illustrated and became a really famous model. In researching her I found out she had a huge Twitter following and found out she was really funny. She came on and was awesome, and so fun and really cool to work with.
AE: Most important question of the day, have you finished watching OITNB yet?
CW: Did I? I watched it as soon as it came on Netflix. I was in the house for 13 hours.
LF: Dude, oh my god, I’m so glad you said that. Here’s the thing. I have not been able to see any of Season 2 yet because I’m doing the Fringe show which is taking all of my time, so don’t say a word, but I do want to go on record and say that it is my current favorite show and as soon as my show ends this weekend I’m locking myself in my apartment and watching the entire show.
AE: Aside fangirling on OITNB and Wild ‘N Out, what else do you have going on?
CW: I’m currently on tour with my solo show “Unknown Wayans Tour.” Other than that, I’m actually writing a show with my cousins and just continuing to work on my craft.
LF: The bulk of my comedy stuff is with the group I mentioned earlier, Lost Moon Radio. Right now we’re doing the Hollywood Fringe Festival and on July 18th we’re doing this really cool rap and monologue show.
AE: And you’re going to watch Orange is the New Black?
LF: You have no idea. And Wild ‘N Out premieres Wednesday!