America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannon announced this morning that he’s quitting the show after NBC executives supposedly threatened to fire him over a joke he made in his recent Showtime comedy special Stand Up, Don’t Shoot. As explained in a Decider post on the special, the joke was that Cannon says he’s not allowed to use the n-word when he’s hosting America’s Got Talent on NBC, but he wanted his Showtime special to be so raw and real that NBC might as well stand for “N***** Better Come on, cause n*****rs be cussing. So n***** be careful.”
As it turns out, NBC wasn’t too happy about this, and word of the joke reached the network before the special had aired. NBC executives suggested that Cannon could be fired from his America’s Got Talent gig for disparaging the NBC brand, but even though TMZ says the executives ultimately decided that it wasn’t worth firing him over, Cannon was so incensed by the mere possibility of it that he decided to quit anyway. Interestingly, he even thought this might happen last week, telling Howard Stern (via TMZ) that he would sue the network if it fired him over a joke.
Cannon posted a lengthy wall of text on his Facebook page explaining his decision to step away from the show, noting that it “hurts tremendously” and that hosting America’s Got Talent was “nothing but a joy.” You can see his full statement below.