Arsenio Hall

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Arsenio Hall
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Alma materKent State University
  • Comedian
  • actor
  • talk show host
Years active1981–present[1][2]
PartnerCheryl Bonacci (1987–2002)[3]

Arsenio Hall (born February 12, 1956) is an American comedian, actor and talk show host. He hosted the late-night talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show,[4] from 1989 until 1994, and again from 2013 to 2014.

He has appeared in Martial Law, Coming to America (1988), Coming 2 America (2021), and Harlem Nights (1989). He was also the host of Star Search and appeared as Alan Thicke's sidekick on the talk show Thicke of the Night.

In 2012, he won

Celebrity Apprentice 5.[5]

Early years

Hall was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Fred and Annie Hall. His father is a Baptist minister.[6] Hall performed as a magician when he was a child. He graduated from Warrensville Heights High School in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, in 1973, after briefly attending John F. Kennedy High School. He later attended Ohio University[7] and Kent State University.[8]


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 appeared on five weeks of episodes of the short-lived NBC game show Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour from 1983 to 1984. He was also the original voice of Winston Zeddemore in the animated series The Real Ghostbusters from 1986 to 1987. In 1988, he co-starred in the comedy film Coming to America with Eddie Murphy. During his career, he set up Arsenio Hall Communications in 1987, and then he had signed a two-year, multi-picture agreement with Paramount Pictures to develop films for an exclusive agreement.[9]

Talk shows

In 1986, the

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. Relations between Rivers and network executives at Fox quickly eroded, and she left in 1987.[10] 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 immensely popular, leading to his being offered his own show in syndication.[11]

From January 2, 1989, to May 27, 1994, he had a Paramount contract to host a nationwide syndicated late night talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show. It was a breakout success, rating especially high among the coveted younger demographic, and known for its audience's distinctive alternative to applause in chanting, "Woof, woof, woof!" (which originated in the Cleveland Browns' Dawg Pound in the east end zone) while pumping their fists. The practice soon became such a ritual that by 1991 it had become a "pop culture stamp of approval"—one that Hall said had become "so popular it's getting on people's nerves".[12] The gesture was so well known that it appeared in films such as Pretty Woman, Passenger 57, Aladdin, and The Hard Way.[12]

He also had a rivalry with


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 public service announcement about the disease that aired in the early 1990s.[14]

Other television and radio work

Hall at the 1989 Emmy Awards

Between 1988 and 1991, Hall hosted the

MTV Video Music Awards.[15] 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 leading roles on television shows such as the short-lived sitcom Arsenio (1997) and Martial Law with Sammo Hung (1998–2000), and 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

TV One's 100 Greatest Black Power Moves.[18] He also appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher in May 2012, in a discussion commemorating the 1992 Los Angeles riots.[19]

Hall was considered the host of the syndicated version of

Deal or No Deal and filmed a pilot (there were six taped).[20][21] However, by the time the syndicated series began on September 8, 2008, Howie Mandel
was chosen as host.

Hall also appeared regularly on

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, he was chosen as the Celebrity Apprentice winner, being "hired" by 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 money for the tasks he and his team performed when he was a team leader.[30][31][32][33]

A revival of Hall's syndicated late-night talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show, premiered September 9, 2013, on

CBS Television Distribution.[34] It was canceled after one season due to low ratings. The last taping aired May 30, 2014.[35]

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. "I went on the Internet," he said, "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!'"[36]

Hall has one son, born in 1998.

ratings against his friend George Lopez).[39]

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 had also spiked her drink at a party at Eddie Murphy's house.[40] Hall dropped the lawsuit after O'Connor apologized and retracted her allegations.[41]




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
2017 Gilbert Himself
2017 Sandy Wexler Himself
2021 Coming 2 America Semmi, Morris, Reverend Brown, Baba (witch doctor), Extremely Ugly Girl (archival footage)


List of television performances
Year Title Role Notes Refs
1981, 1989 Soul Train Himself 2 episodes [43]
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 [44]
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 [45]
1985 New Love, American Style Actor [46]
The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Cleavon Episode titled Happy Birthday
air date March 23, 1986
1986–1987 The Real Ghostbusters Winston Zeddemore, Mooglie seasons 1-3
1987 Uptown Comedy Express Himself
1987 Comedy Club Himself
The Late Show
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 [47]
1992 The Jackie Thomas Show Himself Ep. "The Joke" [48]
1993 Blossom Himself
1994 Living Single Himself
1997 Arsenio Michael Atwood [49]
1997 Behind the Music Himself Ep. "MC Hammer: Behind the Music #2" [50]
1997 Muppets Tonight Guest
Intimate Portrait
1998–2000 Martial Law Terrell Parker 36 episodes
2000 The Norm Show Joe Episode titled Norm vs. the Kid
air date December 8, 2000
2002–2003 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
2009–2010 The Jay Leno Show Correspondent
2009 Brothers Himself
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 [51]
2017–2018 The Mayor Ocho Okoye Guest; 2 episodes
2018 All About the Washingtons Himself Guest; 2 episodes
List of biography television shows and specials
Year Title Episode Notes Refs
5 episodes
2001 E! True Hollywood Story
2008 Pioneers of Television (PBS)
2012 American Masters


As "Chunky A"


  1. ^ "Biography". Arsenio Hall. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  2. ^ Daly, Sean (February 14, 2012). "Back from the dad". New York Post. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Svetkey, Benjamin (December 28, 1990). "Arsenio Hall: One of 1990's great entertainers". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  5. ^ Chen, Joyce (May 21, 2012). "'Celebrity Apprentice' final recap: Arsenio Hall tops Clay Aiken". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  6. ^ "Arsenio Hall Biography (1955-)". Film Reference. 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2008.
  7. ^ McIntyre, Michael K. (August 2, 2018). "Arsenio Hall comes home for Rocksino comedy show". The Plain-Dealer. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  8. ^ 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 June 9, 2022.
  9. ^ "Arsenio Hall inks picture pact at Par". Variety. December 9, 1987. p. 6.
  10. ^ Adams, Guy (October 23, 2010). "Joan Rivers: 'I'm the funniest person performing stand-up today'". The Independent. London. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  11. ^ 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 June 9, 2022.
  12. ^ a b Diana E. Lundin (April 3, 1991). "Crank It Up!". Los Angeles Daily News. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  13. ^ "Celebrity Quotes". Entertainment Weekly. February 24, 1995. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  14. ^ "Magic Johnson, Arsenio Team Up For Aids Video". Orlando Sentinel. April 19, 1992. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  15. ^ "1991 MTV Video Music Awards". MTV. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  16. ^ "Season 2, Episode 9". Chappelle's Show. March 24, 2004. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  17. ^ "Tim Conway and Friends". KLSX 97.1. 2008. Archived from the original on July 23, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2008.
  18. ^ Arsenio Hall Is Back with Two New Shows. November 9, 2008. Retrieved November 12, 2008.
  19. ^ "Episode 247 of Real Time with Bill Maher".
  20. ^ Keller, Richard (December 11, 2006). "Howie says no deal to syndicated deal of Deal or no Deal". HuffPost TV. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  21. ^ "Arsenio Hall". Archived from the original on March 5, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  22. ^ "Arsenio Hall: Credits". Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  23. ^ "George in His Own Words". Lopez Tonight. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  24. ^ Joshua Alston (October 28, 2009). "Wanda Sykes and Late Night TV's New Color Barrier". Newsweek. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  25. ^ Dave Walker (November 9, 2009). "'Lopez Tonight' aims for 'Arsenio' vibe". The Times Picayune. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  26. ^ "Turner Newsroom: Press Kits". Turner. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  27. ^ "'Celebrity Apprentice' cast includes Arsenio Hall, Clay Aiken". OTRC. Archived from the original on January 9, 2012. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  28. ^ "'Celebrity Apprentice' Finale: Who Got Hired?". HuffPost. May 21, 2012.
  29. ^ Ross, Dalton (May 14, 2012). "'Celebrity Apprentice': Aubrey O'Day talks controversial comments". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  30. ^ Vicki Hyman/The Star-Ledger. "'Celebrity Apprentice' recap: Aubrey O'Day won't be bullied (that's her job!)". NJ. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  31. ^ "Aubrey O'Day: Arsenio Hall Called Me "a Whore"". Us Weekly. April 4, 2012. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  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 9, 2022.
  33. ^ 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". Deadline. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  35. ^ 'The Arsenio Hall Show' Canceled After One Season Variety. May 30, 2014
  36. ^ "He Survived Hall Hell Arsenio Talks About His Down Times". Philly. Archived from the original on July 10, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  37. ^ "Arsenio Hall on Choosing Fatherhood Over Fame". Newsweek. June 11, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  38. ^ "For Arsenio Hall, back is beautiful". CBS News. September 1, 2013.
  39. ^ Schneider, Michael (September 9, 2013). "Arsenio Hall on Carson, Leno and Why He's Coming Back to Late Night". TV Guide. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  40. ^ "Arsenio Hall files a lawsuit after defamation". TMZ. May 5, 2016. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  41. ^ "Arsenio Hall Drops Sinead O'Connor Lawsuit Over Prince Drug Comments". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  42. ^ "Sally Jessy Raphael retreats from retreatTalk show..." The Baltimore Sun. April 8, 1992. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  43. ^ "Soul Train History Book: 'Soul Train 25th Anniversary Hall of Fame'". Soul Train. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  44. . Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  45. ^ "Motown Revue' Smokin' Toward Television Series". The Oklahoman. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  46. ^ "Arsenio Hall". Biography. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  47. ISSN 0021-5996
    . Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  48. ^ "Watch The Jackie Thomas Show Season 1 Episode 5: The Joke". TV Guide. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  49. ISSN 0021-5996
    . Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  50. ^ "Behind The Music: S1, E2 - MC Hammer". VH1. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  51. ^ "ABC Orders Singing Show 'Greatest Hits' Hosted by Arsenio Hall & Kelsea Ballerini". Billboard. Retrieved June 9, 2022.

Further reading

External links