Arsenio Hall

Arsenio Hall

Hall at the 41st Primetime Emmy Awards, 1989
Born Arsenio Hall
(1955-02-12) February 12, 1955 or (1956-02-12) February 12, 1956 (sources vary)
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Alma mater Kent State University
Occupation Comedian, talk show host, actor
Years active


Website Official website

Arsenio Hall (born February 12, 1955[3][4] or February 12, 1956)[5] (sources vary) is an American comedian, actor, and talk show host. He is best known for hosting The Arsenio Hall Show,[6] a late-night talk show that ran from 1989 until 1994, and a revival of the same show 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.[7]

Early years

Arsenio was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Fred and Anne Hall. His father is a Baptist minister.[4] 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.[8] After he graduated, he attended Ohio University, where he was on the speech team with Nancy Cartwright. He then transferred to and graduated from Kent State University in 1977.


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

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.[9] 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 cancelled 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.[10]

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: chanting "Roo, Roo, Roo!," 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."[11] The gesture made it into films of the time: the title character played by Julia Roberts did it in a polo scene in Pretty Woman (1990), and characters played by Penny Marshall and Michael J. Fox did it in The Hard Way.[11] In Disney's Aladdin (1992), the Genie character voiced by Robin Williams performs the gesture while mimicking the physical appearance of Hall. This popular gesture can also be found in the 1993 Mel Brooks' comedy, Robin Hood: Men in Tights. It was also seen in the movie Passenger 57, in which an old woman confuses the character played by Wesley Snipes with Arsenio Hall. After saving the day, the passengers on the hijacked plane do the gesture toward the protagonist.

He also had a rivalry with Jay Leno, after the latter was named host of The Tonight Show, during which time Hall said that he would "kick Jay's ass" in ratings.[12]

Hall used his fame during this period to help fight worldwide prejudice against HIV/AIDS, after Magic Johnson contracted the disease. Hall and Johnson filmed a PSA about the disease that aired in the early 1990s.[13]

Other television and radio work

Between 1988–1991, Hall hosted the MTV Video Music Awards.[14] 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 (1999–2000), 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.[15] Hall has guest co-hosted Wednesday evenings on The Tim Conway Jr. Show on KLSX 97.1 FM radio.[16] Hall also hosted MyNetworkTV's comedic web video show The World's Funniest Moments and TV One's 100 Greatest Black Power Moves.[17] Hall also appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher in May 2012, in a discussion commemorating the 1992 Los Angeles riots.[18]

Hall was considered to be the host of the syndicated version of Deal or No Deal and filmed a pilot (there were six taped).[19][20] However, by the time the syndicated series began on September 8, 2008, Howie Mandel was chosen as the host.

Arsenio Hall in 2008

He also appeared regularly on The Jay Leno Show, and was a guest on Lopez Tonight.[21] 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".[22][23][24][25][26] 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.[27] 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.[28][29] On May 20, 2012, in the live season finale, Hall was chosen as the Celebrity Apprentice winner, being "hired" by billionaire real estate investor 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.[30][31][32][33]

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.[34] It was cancelled after one season due to low ratings. The last taping of the new Arsenio Hall Show aired May 30, 2014.[35]

Personal life

In 1997, after being out of the public eye for three years, Hall took 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 on line under a fake name and typed in, "I know Arsenio better than anyone else and he's not in detox, you idiots!"[36]

Hall has one son, born in 1999.[37] Since his birth, Hall mostly took time off to raise his son before resuming The Arsenio Hall Show in 2013.[38] Hall had an interest in returning to the business eventually, but his decision wasn't 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).[39]

On September 4, 2014, Hall had lost legendary comedienne, mentor and longtime friend Joan Rivers to anoxic encephalopathy. Prior to her death, he said it was her that "put me on The Tonight Show first! And it was her apprentice victory, that motivated me to give it one hundred!"[40]

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.[41]

in July 2016, Hall became the host of the ABC television program Greatest Hits.[42] As of that same month, he is scheduled to appear in the telefilm Sandy Wexler.[43]




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 Crying Man
1989 Paula Abdul: Straight Up Himself Music video
1992 Time Out: The Truth About HIV, AIDS, and You Himself – 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
2011 The Vote-Off Himself Short
2017 Sandy Wexler


List of television performances
Year Title Role Notes Refs
1981, 1989 Soul Train Himself 2 episodes [45]
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 [46]
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 [47]
1985 New Love, American Style Actor [48]
1986 The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents Cleavon
1986–87 The Real Ghostbusters Winston Zeddemore seasons 1-3
1987 Uptown Comedy Express Himself
1987 Comedy Club Himself
198788 The Late Show Host
1988 Solid Gold Himself
1989 Comic Relief III Himself
1989–1994 The Arsenio Hall Show Host
1990 Doogie Howser, M.D. Himself
1990 Cheers Himself
1992 Ebony/Jet Showcase Himself [49]
1992 The Jackie Thomas Show Himself Ep. "The Joke" [50]
1993 Blossom Himself
1994 Living Single Himself
1997 Arsenio Michael Atwood [51]
1997 Behind the Music Himself Ep. "MC Hammer: Behind the Music #2" [52]
1997 Muppets Tonight Guest
1998 Intimate Portrait Narrator
1998–2000 Martial Law Terrell Parker
2000 The Norm Show Joe
200203 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
2015 Real Husbands of Hollywood Himself - Guest star
2016 Greatest Hits Host [53]
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"


  1. "Biography". Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  2. Daly, Sean (February 14, 2012). "Back from the dad". New York Post. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  3. "Arsenio Hall". Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  4. 1 2 "Arsenio Hall Biography (1955-)". 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2008.
  5. "Arsenio Hall Biography: Talk Show Host, Film Actor, Television Actor, Comedian (1956–)". (FYI / A&E Networks. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  6. Svetkey, Benjamin (December 28, 1990). "Arsenio Hall: One of 1990's great entertainers". Entertainment Weekly.
  7. Chen, Joyce (May 21, 2012). "'Celebrity Apprentice' final recap: Arsenio Hall tops Clay Aiken". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  8. Dawidziak, Mark (May 17, 2012). "Arsenio Hall and Clay Aiken are this season's 'Celebrity Apprentice' finalists". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  9. Adams, Guy (October 23, 2010). "Joan Rivers: 'I'm the funniest person performing stand-up today'". The Independent. London. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  10. Njeri, Itabari (April 16, 1989). "Fresh Talk: 'We Be Havin' a Ball,' Says Arsenio Hall. But Can the Talk-Show Host's Hip New Style Succeed on Late-Night TV?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  11. 1 2 Diana E. Lundin (April 3, 1991). "Crank It Up!". Los Angeles Daily News. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  12. "Celebrity Quotes". Entertainment Weekly. February 24, 1995. Retrieved July 17, 2008.
  13. "Magic Johnson, Arsenio Team Up For Aids Video". Orlando Sentinel. April 19, 1992. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
  14. "1991 MTV Video Music Awards | Highlights, Winners, Performers and Photos from the 1991 MTV VMAs". Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  15. "Season 2, Episode 9". Chappelle's Show. March 24, 2004. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  16. "Tim Conway and Friends". KLSX 97.1. 2008. Archived from the original on July 23, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2008.
  17. Arsenio Hall Is Back with Two New Shows. November 9, 2008. Retrieved on November 12, 2008.
  18. "Episode 247 of Real Time with Bill Maher".
  19. Keller, Richard (December 11, 2006). "Howie says no deal to syndicated deal of Deal or no Deal". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  20. "Arsenio Hall". Archived from the original on March 5, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  21. "Arsenio Hall: Credits". Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  22. " – TV Shows – Television Shows – very funny". Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  23. Joshua Alston (October 28, 2009). "Wanda Sykes and Late Night TV's New Color Barrier – The Daily Beast". Newsweek. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  24. "Topic Galleries – South Florida". Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  25. TBS (November 9, 2009). "'Lopez Tonight' aims for 'Arsenio' vibe". Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  26. "Turner Newsroom: Press Kits:". Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  27. "'Celebrity Apprentice' cast includes Arsenio Hall, Clay Aiken". OTRC.
  28. "'Celebrity Apprentice' Finale: Who Got Hired?". Huffington Post. May 21, 2012.
  29. Ross, Dalton (2012-05-14). "'Celebrity Apprentice': Aubrey O'Day talks controversial comments |". Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  30. Vicki Hyman/The Star-Ledger. "'Celebrity Apprentice' recap: Aubrey O'Day won't be bullied (that's her job!)". Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  31. "Aubrey O'Day: Arsenio Hall Called Me "a Whore"". April 4, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  32. 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.
  33. 65 days ago by Andy Swift. "Aubrey O'Day On 'Celebrity Apprentice' – Will She Win? Feud Details". Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  34. 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 19 June 2012.
  35. ‘The Arsenio Hall Show’ Canceled After One Season Variety. May 30, 2014
  37. Arsenio Hall on Choosing Fatherhood Over Fame
  38. "For Arsenio Hall, back is beautiful". CBS News. September 1, 2013.
  39. Schneider, Michael (2013-09-09). "Arsenio Hall on Carson, Leno and Why He's Coming Back to Late Night - Today's News: Our Take". Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  40. "Stars React to the Death of Joan Rivers". September 5, 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  41. "Arsenio Hall files a lawsuit after defamation". May 5, 2016. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  42. "Arsenio Hall".
  43. Ford, Rebecca; Kit, Borys (July 26, 2016). "Kevin James, Terry Crews, Rob Schneider Join Adam Sandler's 'Sandy Wexler' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on July 29, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  44. "Arsenio Hall to get honorary doctorate". The Baltimore Sun. April 8, 1992. Retrieved May 22, 2012.

Further reading

External links

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