The Emmy Award-winning Arsenio Hall Show made its debut 30 years ago. Virtually overnight, Arsenio changed the face of late night television by captivating young viewers across the country, subsequently making him a household name. During his successful five-year run as executive producer, Arsenio provided a forum for cutting edge comedy, politics and the television debut of such pop superstars as Mariah Carey, Snoop Dogg, Boyz II Men, and countless others. The Arsenio Hall Show ran from 1989 until 1994, and again from 2013 to 2014. Hall returned to stand-up comedy and was in attendance this past weekend at Zanies in Music City. In short, he was spectacular, touching on an array of topics throughout his stint—from Nashville hot chicken to, of course, Donald Trump.
A Cleveland native, the versatile actor, comedian, host, writer and producer first became involved in the arts at ‘The Cleveland Playhouse,’ and continued to hone his craft through his Kent State University years. In 1979, Hall moved from Ohio to Chicago, trying his hand at stand-up comedy. He was discovered by Jazz singer Nancy Wilson. In the following years, Arsenio toured, opening for major headliners such as Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, and Stevie Wonder. Shortly thereafter, Hall attempted to diversify his career by making numerous appearances on television shows.
In 1987, Arsenio was asked to replace Joan Rivers on the Fox Network series The Late Show. On the strength of his work as interim host, he was signed to a film and television deal with Paramount Pictures, which subsequently led to the opportunity to co-write and co-star in the hit comedy Coming to America. Hall confirmed this past weekend that there will indeed, be a sequel to the 1988 classic film.
In 2012, Arsenio was crowned the ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ for Season 5 of Donald Trump’s hit reality show on NBC, where he competed for his charity, The Magic Johnson Foundation.
Hall has been featured in a number of films, including Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals, The Battle For Late Night, and The Announcement, where he shares his insight and experience surrounding the day of November 7, 1991, when Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson announced he was HIV-positive and would be immediately retiring from basketball.
The next visit to the Volunteer state from Arsenio Hall is unknown. However, if you want a brief hilarious escape from everyday life, it would be wise to catch him live and in the flesh, whenever and wherever that may be.