Arsenio Hall

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Arsenio Hall
Arsenio Hall (cropped).jpg
Hall at the 41st Primetime Emmy Awards in 1989
Born (1956-02-12) February 12, 1956 (age 63)
Alma mater Kent State University
OccupationComedian, talk show host, actor, writer, producer
Years active1984–present [1] [2]
Website Official website

Arsenio Hall (born February 12, 1956) is an American comedian, talk show host, actor, writer and producer. He is best known for hosting The Arsenio Hall Show , [3] a late-night talk show that ran from 1989 until 1994, and again from 2013 to 2014.

<i>The Arsenio Hall Show</i> American late-night talk show

The Arsenio Hall Show is an American syndicated late-night talk show created by and starring comedian Arsenio Hall.

Late-night talk show type of comedic talk show, airing late at night

A late-night talk show is a genre of talk show popular in the United States, where the format originated. It is generally structured around humorous monologues about the day's news, guest interviews, comedy sketches and music performances. The late-night talk show format was popularized, though not invented, by Johnny Carson with The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on NBC. Typically the show's host conducts interviews from behind a desk, while the guest is seated on a couch. Many late night talk shows feature a house band which generally performs cover songs for the studio audience during commercial breaks and occasionally will back up a guest artist.


Other television shows and films Hall has appeared in are Martial Law , Star Search (host), Coming to America (1988), and Harlem Nights (1989). Hall is also known for his appearance as Alan Thicke's sidekick on the talk show Thicke of the Night .

<i>Martial Law</i> (TV series) television series

Martial Law is an American/Canadian action adventure comedy series that aired on CBS from September 26, 1998 to May 13, 2000, and was created by Carlton Cuse. The title character, Sammo Law, is a Chinese law officer and martial arts expert who comes to Los Angeles in search of a colleague and remains in the US.

<i>Star Search</i> United States television series

Star Search is an American television show that was produced by T.P.E./Rysher Entertainment from 1983 to 1995, hosted by Ed McMahon, and created by Al Masini. A relaunch was produced by 2929 Productions from 2003 to 2004. On both versions of the show, contestants competed in several genres of entertainment. The show was originally filmed at the old Earl Carroll Theatre, at 6230 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood and later at the Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida.

<i>Coming to America</i> 1988 film by John Landis

Coming to America is a 1988 American romantic comedy film directed by John Landis and based on a story originally created by Eddie Murphy, who also starred in the lead role. The film also co-stars Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley, and John Amos. The film was released in the United States on June 29, 1988. Eddie Murphy plays Akeem Joffer, the crown prince of the fictional African nation of Zamunda, who travels to the United States in the hopes of finding a woman he can marry.

In 2012, Hall won NBC's reality-competition game show Celebrity Apprentice 5 . [4]

NBC American television and radio network

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial terrestrial television network that is a flagship property of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. The network is headquartered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, with additional major offices near Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. The network is one of the Big Three television networks. NBC is sometimes referred to as the "Peacock Network", in reference to its stylized peacock logo, introduced in 1956 to promote the company's innovations in early color broadcasting. It became the network's official emblem in 1979.

Game show Type of television or radio program where contestants compete for prizes

A game show is a type of radio, television, or stage show in which contestants, individually or as teams, play a game which involves answering questions or solving puzzles, usually for money or prizes. Alternatively, a gameshow can be a demonstrative program about a game [while usually retaining the spirit of an awards ceremony]. In the former, contestants may be invited from a pool of public applicants. Game shows often reward players with prizes such as cash, trips and goods and services provided by the show's sponsor prize suppliers.

Early years

Hall was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Fred and Annie Hall. His father is a Baptist minister. [5] Hall performed as a magician when he was a child. He graduated from Warrensville Heights High School in Warrensville Heights, Ohio in 1973, after he briefly attended John F. Kennedy High School. He later attended college at Kent State University. [6]

Cleveland City in Ohio

Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio, and the county seat of Cuyahoga County. The city proper has a population of 383,793, making it the 52nd-largest city in the United States and the second-largest city in Ohio. Greater Cleveland is ranked as the 33rd-largest metropolitan area in the U.S., with 2,057,009 people in 2018. A Gamma + city, Cleveland anchors the Cleveland–Akron–Canton Combined Statistical Area, which had a population of 3,515,646 in 2010 and is ranked 15th in the United States.

Warrensville Heights High School

Warrensville Heights High School is a public high school located in Warrensville Heights, Ohio (USA), east of Cleveland. It is the only high school in the Warrensville Heights City School District and home of the Tigers. The current school building was built in 1964 and renovated in 2002.

Warrensville Heights, Ohio City in Ohio, United States

Warrensville Heights is a city located in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States. It is an East Side suburb of Cleveland. The population was 13,542 at the 2010 U.S. Census.


Hall later moved to Chicago, and then Los Angeles, to pursue a career in comedy, making a couple of appearances on Soul Train . In 1984, he was the announcer/sidekick for Alan Thicke during the short-lived talk show Thicke of the Night (a role for which he has on occasion noted his confusion with Monty Hall).

<i>Soul Train</i> American music show

Soul Train is an American music-dance television program which aired in syndication from October 2, 1971, to March 27, 2006. In its 35-year history, the show primarily featured performances by R&B, soul, dance/pop, and hip hop artists, although funk, jazz, disco, and gospel artists also appeared. The series was created by Don Cornelius, who also served as its first host and executive producer.

Alan Thicke Canadian actor

Alan Thicke was a Canadian actor, songwriter, comedian, game and talk show host. He is the father of singer Robin Thicke. In 2013, Thicke was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. Thicke was best known for playing Dr. Jason Seaver on the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains. Thicke died on December 13, 2016, in the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, U.S.

Thicke of the Night is an American late-night talk show starring Alan Thicke, produced by MGM Television in association with Metromedia, distributed in syndication by MGM/UA Television Distribution and broadcast in first-run syndication during the 1983–1984 TV season.

He was also the original voice of Winston Zeddemore in the cartoon The Real Ghostbusters from 1986 to 1987. In 1988, he co-starred in the comedy film Coming to America with Eddie Murphy.

Winston Zeddemore fictional character from the Ghostbusters franchise

Winston Zeddemore is a fictional character appearing in the Ghostbusters films, TV series, and video games. He was played by Ernie Hudson in both movies and was voiced by Arsenio Hall in the first two seasons of The Real Ghostbusters. Buster Jones provided Winston's voice in the remaining seasons, and he reprised the role in a cameo on Extreme Ghostbusters. Hudson returned to provide his appearance and voice to Zeddemore in 2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game.

<i>The Real Ghostbusters</i> television series

The Real Ghostbusters is an American animated television series, a spin-off/sequel of the 1984 comedy movie Ghostbusters. The series ran from September 13, 1986, to October 5, 1991, and was produced by Columbia Pictures Television, DIC Enterprises and Coca-Cola Telecommunications.

Eddie Murphy American stand-up comedian and actor

Edward Regan Murphy is an American actor, comedian, and singer. Murphy was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984. He has worked as a stand-up comedian and was ranked #10 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.

Talk shows

In 1986, the Fox network introduced The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers , created to directly challenge The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson . After a moderate start, ratings for the show sagged. Behind-the-scenes relations between Rivers and network executives at Fox quickly eroded, and Rivers left in 1987. [7] The series was subsequently renamed The Late Show, and featured several hosts, including Ross Shafer, Suzanne Somers, Richard Belzer and Robert Townsend before it was canceled in 1988. Hall was also chosen to host the show in the fall of 1987, and his stint proved to be immensely popular, developing a cult following which eventually led to Hall landing his own show in syndication. [8]

From January 2, 1989 until May 27, 1994, he had a Paramount contract to host a nationwide syndicated late night talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show . The show became a breakout, late-night success, especially rating high among the coveted younger demographic and known for its audience's distinctive alternative to applause in chanting, "Roo, Roo, Roo! (The Cleveland Brown's Dawg Pound in the east end zone)," while pumping their fists. The practice soon became such a ritual that by 1991 had become a "pop culture stamp of approval" — one that Hall said had become "so popular it's getting on people's nerves." [9] The gesture was so well known that it appeared in films such as Pretty Woman and The Hard Way . [9]

He also had a rivalry with Jay Leno after the latter was named host of The Tonight Show , during which Hall said that he would "kick Jay's ass" in ratings. [10]

Hall used his fame during this period to help fight worldwide prejudice against HIV/AIDS after Magic Johnson contracted the virus. Hall and Johnson filmed a PSA about the disease that aired in the early 1990s. [11]

Other television and radio work

Between 1988 and 1991, Hall hosted the MTV Video Music Awards. [12] Over the years, he has appeared as a guest on numerous talk shows, in special features, as a voice actor, on game shows and other award shows. Since The Arsenio Hall Show ended, Hall had a leading role on television shows such as the short-lived sitcom Arsenio (1997) and Martial Law with Sammo Hung (1998–2000), as well as hosted the revival of Star Search (2003–2004). While hosting Star Search, he popularized the catchphrase "Hit me with the digits!".

Hall appeared as himself in Chappelle's Show in March 2004, when Chappelle was imagining "what Arsenio is doing right now" in a dinner scene. [13] Hall has guest co-hosted Wednesday evenings on The Tim Conway Jr. Show on KLSX 97.1 FM radio. [14] Hall also hosted MyNetworkTV's comedic web video show The World's Funniest Moments and TV One's 100 Greatest Black Power Moves. [15] Hall also appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher in May 2012, in a discussion commemorating the 1992 Los Angeles riots. [16] Hall also had a small part as a police officer on The Golden Girls season 1.[ citation needed ] Hall was considered to be the host of the syndicated version of Deal or No Deal and filmed a pilot (there were six taped). [17] [18] However, by the time the syndicated series began on September 8, 2008, Howie Mandel was chosen as the host.

He also appeared regularly on The Jay Leno Show , and was a guest on Lopez Tonight . [19] George Lopez credits Arsenio for being the reason he had a late night show; Lopez appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show more times than any other comedian. Lopez requested Hall be a co-host on Lopez Tonight (November 25, 2009) since he regarded Hall as his inspiration and the first "late night party show host". [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] Hall has filled-in as guest host for NBC's Access Hollywood Live (2011) and CNN's evening talk/interview program Piers Morgan Tonight in 2012.

In 2012, Hall was a contestant on the fifth edition of The Celebrity Apprentice , which began airing February 19, 2012. [25] Hall represented his charity, the Magic Johnson Foundation, which is dedicated to advancing economic and social equality by engaging minorities in every aspect of their communities; increasing academic and innovative achievement; and raising HIV/AIDS awareness, treatment and prevention. While Hall clashed with Aubrey O'Day, he befriended a majority of the cast. [26] [27] On May 20, 2012, in the live season finale, Hall was chosen as the Celebrity Apprentice winner, being "hired" by billionaire real estate investor and future President of the United States Donald Trump over the other celebrity finalist, singer Clay Aiken. For winning The Celebrity Apprentice, Hall won the $250,000 grand prize for his charity, in addition to any money he won for his charity for tasks he and his team won when he was a team leader on the show. [28] [29] [30] [31]

A revival of Hall's syndicated late-night talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show , premiered September 9, 2013 on Tribune owned stations and other networks via CBS Television Distribution. [32] It was canceled after one season due to low ratings. The last taping of the new show aired May 30, 2014. [33]

Personal life

In 1997, after being out of the public eye for three years, Hall gave an interview to dispel rumors regarding what had driven him off stage stating, "I went on the Internet and read I was in detox at Betty Ford, I got online under a fake name and typed in, 'I know Arsenio better than anyone else and he's not in detox, you idiots!'" [34]

Hall has one son, born in 1998. [35] Since the child's birth, Hall mostly took time off to raise his son before resuming The Arsenio Hall Show in 2013. [36] Hall had an interest in returning to the business eventually, but his decision was not confirmed until he appeared on Lopez Tonight in 2009 (although he initially considered a weekend show because he didn't want to compete in ratings against his friend George Lopez). [37]

On May 5, 2016, Hall filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit against Sinéad O'Connor after she claimed he had fueled Prince's drug habit and also had spiked her drink during a party at Eddie Murphy's house. [38] Hall dropped the lawsuit after O'Connor apologized and retracted her allegation that he had supplied Prince with drugs. [39]




List of film performances
1987 Amazon Women on the Moon Apartment Victim
1988 Coming to America Semmi, Extremely Ugly Girl, Morris, Reverend Brown
1989 Harlem Nights Reggie (The Crying Man)
1989 Paula Abdul: Straight Up HimselfMusic video
1992Time Out: The Truth About HIV, AIDS, and YouHimself – Host(Video)
1994 Blankman Himself
2005 The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie Himself
2005 The Proud Family Movie Dr. Carver, Bobby Proud
2006 Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy! Captain Crothers
2007 Heckler Himself
2008 Igor Carl Cristall
2009 Black Dynamite Tasty Freeze
2011The Vote-OffHimselfShort
2017 Sandy Wexler Himself
2020 Coming 2 America SemmiFilming


List of television performances
1981, 1989 Soul Train Himself2 episodes [41]
1982 Madame's Place Himself
1982 Elvira's Movie Macabre Dr. Mustapha Abdul Raheem Jamaal X Muhammad, Tyrone
1983The 1/2 Hour Comedy HourHost [42]
1983–1984 Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour Celebrity panelist
1983–1984 Thicke of the Night Actor / Himself (1984)
1985The Motown Revue Starring Smokey RobinsonRegular [43]
1985 New Love, American Style Actor [44]
1986 The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents Cleavon
1986–87 The Real Ghostbusters Winston Zeddemore, Mooglieseasons 1-3
1987Uptown Comedy ExpressHimself
1987Comedy ClubHimself
1987–88 The Late Show Host
1988 Solid Gold Himself
1989 Comic Relief III Himself
1989–1994 The Arsenio Hall Show HostAlso writer and producer
1990 Doogie Howser, M.D. Himself
1990 Cheers Himself
1992Ebony/Jet ShowcaseHimself [45]
1992 The Jackie Thomas Show HimselfEp. "The Joke" [46]
1993 Blossom Himself
1994 Living Single Himself
1997 Arsenio Michael Atwood [47]
1997 Behind the Music HimselfEp. "MC Hammer: Behind the Music #2" [48]
1997 Muppets Tonight Guest
1998 Intimate Portrait Narrator
1998–2000 Martial Law Terrell Parker
2000 The Norm Show Joe
2002–03 Hollywood Squares Celebrity panel
2003–2004 Star Search Host
2003Tinseltown TVHimself
2004 CBS Cares HimselfPSA
2008–2009 The World's Funniest Moments Host
2009–10 The Jay Leno Show Correspondent
2009 Brothers Himself
2012 The Celebrity Apprentice 5 ContestantWinner of competition
2013–2014 The Arsenio Hall Show HostAlso producer
2015 Real Husbands of Hollywood Himself - Guest star
2016Greatest HitsHost

2017 "The Mayor" Reverend

List of biography television shows and specials
1996–2008 Biography 5 episodes
2001 E! True Hollywood Story
2008Pioneers of Television (PBS)
2012 American Masters


As "Chunky A"

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Further reading