Arsenio Hall

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Arsenio Hall
Arsenio Hall 2012 (cropped).jpg
Hall in July 2012
Born (1956-02-12) February 12, 1956 (age 64)
Alma materKent State University
OccupationComedian, talk show host, actor, writer, producer
Years active1984–present[1][2]
WebsiteOfficial 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.

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.

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

Early years[edit]

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]


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).

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.

Talk shows[edit]

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 interim hosts, including Ross Shafer, Suzanne Somers, Shawn Thompson, 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, Aladdin, 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[edit]

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, (convinced by the Swedish comedy director Saman Khadiri), 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 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[edit]

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
Year Title Role Notes
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 Himself Music 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
2019 A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Himself Uncredited cameo in archive footage
2020 Coming 2 America Semmi Post-production


List of television performances
Year Title Role Notes Refs
1981, 1989 Soul Train Himself 2 episodes [41]
1982 Madame's Place Himself
1982 Elvira's Movie Macabre Dr. Mustapha Abdul Raheem Jamaal X Muhammad, Tyrone
1983 The 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour Host [42]
1983–1984 Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour Celebrity panelist
1983–1984 Thicke of the Night Actor / Himself (1984)
1985 The Motown Revue Starring Smokey Robinson Regular [43]
1985 New Love, American Style Actor [44]
1986 The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents Cleavon
1986–87 The Real Ghostbusters Winston Zeddemore, Mooglie seasons 1-3
1987 Uptown Comedy Express Himself
1987 Comedy Club Himself
1987–88 The Late Show Host
1988 Solid Gold Himself
1989 Comic Relief III Himself
1989–1994 The Arsenio Hall Show Host Also writer and producer
1990 Doogie Howser, M.D. Himself
1990 Cheers Himself
1992 Ebony/Jet Showcase Himself [45]
1992 The Jackie Thomas Show Himself Ep. "The Joke" [46]
1993 Blossom Himself
1994 Living Single Himself
1997 Arsenio Michael Atwood [47]
1997 Behind the Music Himself Ep. "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
2003 Tinseltown TV Himself
2004 CBS Cares Himself PSA
2008–2009 The World's Funniest Moments Host
2009–10 The Jay Leno Show Correspondent
2009 Brothers Himself
2012 The Celebrity Apprentice 5 Contestant Winner of competition
2013–2014 The Arsenio Hall Show Host Also producer
2015 Real Husbands of Hollywood Himself - Guest star
2016 Greatest Hits Host [49]
2017–2018 The Mayor Ocho Okoye
List of biography television shows and specials
Year Title Episode Notes Refs
1996–2008 Biography 5 episodes
2001 E! True Hollywood Story
2008 Pioneers of Television (PBS)
2012 American Masters


As "Chunky A"[edit]

  • Large and in Charge (1989)


  1. ^ "Biography". Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  2. ^ Daly, Sean (February 14, 2012). "Back from the dad". New York Post. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  3. ^ Svetkey, Benjamin (December 28, 1990). "Arsenio Hall: One of 1990's great entertainers". Entertainment Weekly.
  4. ^ Chen, Joyce (May 21, 2012). "'Celebrity Apprentice' final recap: Arsenio Hall tops Clay Aiken". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  5. ^ "Arsenio Hall Biography (1955-)". 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2008.
  6. ^ Dawidziak, Mark (May 17, 2012). "Arsenio Hall and Clay Aiken are this season's 'Celebrity Apprentice' finalists". The Plain Dealer. Archived from the original on July 11, 2012. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  7. ^ Adams, Guy (October 23, 2010). "Joan Rivers: 'I'm the funniest person performing stand-up today'". The Independent. London. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
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  9. ^ a b Diana E. Lundin (April 3, 1991). "Crank It Up!". Los Angeles Daily News. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
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  16. ^ "Episode 247 of Real Time with Bill Maher".
  17. ^ Keller, Richard (December 11, 2006). "Howie says no deal to syndicated deal of Deal or no Deal". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
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  20. ^ " – TV Shows – Television Shows – very funny". Retrieved October 17, 2011.
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  27. ^ Ross, Dalton (May 14, 2012). "'Celebrity Apprentice': Aubrey O'Day talks controversial comments |". Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  28. ^ Vicki Hyman/The Star-Ledger. "'Celebrity Apprentice' recap: Aubrey O'Day won't be bullied (that's her job!)". Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  29. ^ "Aubrey O'Day: Arsenio Hall Called Me "a Whore"". April 4, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  30. ^ Lou Ferrigno (April 3, 2012). "She's Baaack! Celebrity Apprentice's "Evil" Aubrey O'Day Returns for "Unbelievably Brutal" Episodes". E! Online. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  31. ^ 65 days ago by Andy Swift. "Aubrey O'Day On 'Celebrity Apprentice' – Will She Win? Feud Details". Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  32. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 18, 2012). "It's Official: CBS TV Distribution To Do Late-Night Talk Show With Arsenio Hall; Show Cleared In 52% Of US Via Tribune Deal". Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  33. ^ 'The Arsenio Hall Show’ Canceled After One Season Variety. May 30, 2014
  34. ^ "Archives -". Retrieved January 26, 2017.
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  36. ^ "For Arsenio Hall, back is beautiful". CBS News. September 1, 2013.
  37. ^ Schneider, Michael (September 9, 2013). "Arsenio Hall on Carson, Leno and Why He's Coming Back to Late Night - Today's News: Our Take". Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  38. ^ "Arsenio Hall files a lawsuit after defamation". May 5, 2016. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  39. ^ "Arsenio Hall Drops Sinead O'Connor Lawsuit Over Prince Drug Comments". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  40. ^ "Arsenio Hall to get honorary doctorate". The Baltimore Sun. April 8, 1992. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  41. ^ "Soul Train History Book: 'Soul Train 25th Anniversary Hall of Fame' - Soul Train". Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  42. ^ Berry, S.T.; Berry, V.T. (2015). Historical Dictionary of African American Cinema. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 196. ISBN 9781442247024. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  43. ^ "Motown Revue' Smokin' Toward Television Series | News OK". Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  44. ^ "Arsenio Hall". Biography. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  45. ^ Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. p. 66. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  46. ^ "Watch The Jackie Thomas Show Season 1 Episode 5: The Joke |". Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  47. ^ Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. p. 54. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  48. ^ "Behind The Music News & Full Episode | S1, E2 - MC Hammer: Behind the Music #2 - | VH1". Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  49. ^ "ABC Orders Singing Show 'Greatest Hits' Hosted by Arsenio Hall & Kelsea Ballerini | Billboard". Retrieved January 26, 2017.

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