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Is Arsenio Hall ready to return to late night TV? – Clacking in Color

Award winning comedian Arsenio Hall wants to return to late night television ... but can he hold a candle to Leno and Letterman? In this week's 'Clacking in Color,' the cool column celebrating diversity on TV, writer Jaylen Christie examines Hall's talents to see if he has what it takes to make it!

Many individuals have told me that I am a kid at heart … but with an old man’s soul. Quite frankly, I don’t know what this means, but the latter may be factual. I like my seventies soul jams. I read the newspaper like it’s never going out of style. I also frequently find myself in bed before midnight, which of course means that I miss the late night television programs. I guess that means I’m not hip.

However, it does mean I stay handsome though. Ten points for me!

At any rate, I can’t say that I find late night talk shows compelling enough for me to stay up. Don’t get it twisted — I think Conan O’Brien is all kinds of awesome. I follow that dude on Twitter. Still, all of the late night shows seem the same to me. I kind of believe they follow the same routine. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. This certainly doesn’t make them less entertaining for some people. On the contrary, if ratings are any indication, David Letterman and Jay Leno have it going on … and then some.

And so did Arsenio Hall … well, at least at one point.

It was recently reported — and by recently I don’t mean yesterday — that Hall wants to return to the nightly airwaves. I think that’s fantastic. Before winning NBC’s hit Celebrity Apprentice, Hall was actually known for being a pretty good comedian, actor and late night talk show host. Does anyone remember The Arsenio Hall Show? I certainly do. For those of you that don’t, let’s make like the late great Minnie Riperton and take a trip back down memory lane. One of my readers, Otto66, pointed out that I use the DeLorean quite a bit as a time-traveling metaphor, so this time we’ll borrow The Tardis from Dr. Who as our mode of fictitious transportation.

From January 1989 to May 1994, The Arsenio Hall Show aired on FOX and was produced by Paramount. Just like my homie Conan O’Brien, Hall’s show was a variety program and featured a number of guests including Eddie Murphy, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Hulk Hogan and even Bill Clinton. Tragedy struck towards the end of his run when Hall was forced to compete with Letterman, and well, his viewers seemed to fade.

Ratings can be a real pain, right? It’s a shame really because Hall seemed to be a real breath of fresh air in late night TV … not only because he had the gift of gab, but because he was of a darker complexion. This was a rarity. Tell me, how many minorities had their own late night talk show back in the early nineties? Try not to use Google. In my opinion, it was nice to see a brother trying to hold it down against Letterman and Leno. Five years on the air isn’t exactly a bad thing, folks. My only complaint is that after Hall vanished, late night television became rather, well, colorless.

Anyone who knows me knows that I believe variety is the spice of life. I like diversity almost as much as I like two-for-one mango margaritas at Chili’s … almost. That’s a joke, folks. I know it takes more than having a person of color to host a late night talk show. It takes talent. Just take The MoNique Show for example. Look, I’m not trying to knock the sister, but, um, well, I wasn’t a fan. She may have an Academy Award, but that doesn’t mean she’s a good interviewer. Her nightly program was pulled after just two seasons on BET. I can’t say the same thing about George Lopez though. His show — Lopez Tonight – was pretty good and I watched it regularly … back in my college days when my bones weren’t so brittle, but then TBS pulled the plug in favor of Conan O’Brien. I’d let out a sigh … but I like Conan. That man is cooler than a polar bear’s backside.

So, with Hall possibly heading back to TV, the question remains — can he compete and will he last? I wish I knew the answer. Sadly, I don’t. Still, I’d be interested in your thoughts. Feel free to let me know what you think about Hall’s possible upcoming return. Will he be able to make it? Will he be as funny as before?

Perchance we can just hop in that time-traveling Tardis and find out for ourselves!

Photo Credit: NBC

Categories: | Clacking in Color | Columns | General | News |

17 Responses to “Is Arsenio Hall ready to return to late night TV? – Clacking in Color”

July 24, 2012 at 2:31 PM

The answer to this weeks question is, yes.
Arsenio Hall doing a show Monday-Friday at 10:00pm on a cable network would shake things up. Much as I’ve enjoyed Dave and Conan and Craig over the years, Arsenio did a show that was different from theirs. And, he had guests that wouldn’t go on those other shows. Bill Clinton in shades with sax? An election winning appearance.

July 24, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Cool beans! Also, I retired the DeLoreon this week. Did you notice? lol I think it’ll be back next week though. In regards to Arsenio, I don’t know if I like the idea of him every night at 10. Remember Leno tried that a few years ago and it didn’t work out so well. However, I’d like to see Arsenio a bit later than 10. Maybe 11 or 12. I think it’s going to be hard though. The competition is heavy!

July 24, 2012 at 10:30 PM

Tardis or WayBack machine, how ever you choose to move us thru time is fine. As to the NBC 10 o’clock experiment, it had the wrong host. Arsenio shook things up once, he can do it again. WOOF, WOOF, WOOF.

July 25, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Let’s keep our fingers crossed, buddy! :-)

July 24, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Good topic. I loved the Arsenio Hall show when I was younger. I loved rolliung my fist while barking! That was classic! I want that to be popular again!
I can’t exactly remember all of the iconic guests or moments on the show but I certaintly remember watching it with my older brother and sister. I normally don’t catch the late night shows now, not beucase I’m not up but because it never really interested me. And now, I guess late night shows do seem a bit white washed now…Remember the Keanan Ivory Wayans show or Magic Johnson? All added they’re same kind of flair.

July 24, 2012 at 3:58 PM

wow. As a fellow writer, I must correct my use of “their.” Sheesh. And I also meant to say that both added a unique flair to the late night line up. I say give Arsenio another go!

July 24, 2012 at 5:57 PM

I was so young when Arsenio was on. I may have been in first or second grade when it was airing. Still, my parents recorded it and I was able to watch it at an older age. Arsenio was awesome! I’m so glad you remembered that Keenan Ivory Wayans had a show… I completely forgot about that! Good memory, man!

July 24, 2012 at 5:23 PM

I think Arsenio will do great,it will be like he never left Late night T.V. He will be bigger then all the late night Host,give him another chance to do what he does best.Have a GREAT comeback Arsenio !!! tha world LOVES YOU. :o

July 24, 2012 at 5:52 PM

It’s nice to see that people still like Arsenio after all of these years. I think it’ll be a bit of a challenge though, but I’ll support him all the way!

July 25, 2012 at 8:29 AM

I would love to see Arsenio have a show again. I watch late night tv every now and then because I have to be up early for work. Currently I still do love Letterman and I watch Bravo’s Andy Cohen do “What what Happens Live” alot.
The thing I loved about Arsenio’s show was that you saw a totally different side of a guest. Other shows, they would just hawk their latest project. But Arsenio was you saw them relax and tell stories that you wouldn’t normally hear from them. Nowadays you do see that on Andy Cohen’s show and also on Jimmy Fallon.Alot of competition out there today but I would definitely give him a shot.

July 25, 2012 at 12:17 PM

My sister watches Andy Cohen and she got me into a few of his episodes. He’s a good TV host. I liked the episode when he interviewed Regina King and Jackee’! Now THAT was some hilarious stuff right there! LOL I’m looking forward to Arsenio returning. I’m glad that everyone seems to be supportive of him wanting to return to late night TV. This is good.

July 25, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Yes. I think Arsenio will make it again in late night television. The time slot for his show will be good and I am ready to watch!!! I thoroughly enjoyed watching him years ago. He was very funny and had very good guests to appear on the show. During that time, Eddie Murphy was his best friend and he use to say that all the time just as Ophrah says about Gail.

Jay, thanks for doing what you do because you do it well!!! Keep on clacking.

July 25, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Yes! Bring the brother back. The show was great and it would shake things up.

July 25, 2012 at 11:59 AM

I think America’s ready to revisit the Dog Pound! I heard Ricki Lake was also coming back to daytime TV with her talk show this September (thanks to her successful stint on Dancing with the Stars). I am curious to see how both do, as I have been feeling nostalgic for the ’90s lol

July 25, 2012 at 12:14 PM

It’s so funny that everyone seems to remember this apparent barking that Arsenio did on his show when I can’t seem to recall it at all. LOL Yeah, I heard about Ricki Lake too! I can still remember the theme song to her show. It’s now stuck in my head. Thanks, Kim! :-)

July 25, 2012 at 12:41 PM

I can’t believe you don’t remember the dog pound and the barking. That was all he and his audience did. He used to rile up his audience and at the beginning-the end- and every guest in between that was all you heard! lol
I really thought he would use that on the Apprentice..especially at that party that he hosted. It seemed like it was going to start a few times but then you didn’t hear more.

July 29, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Yeah, that barking and rolling of the fist was pop culture. lol. I did that so much at school when I was a kid. It was just so catchy and simple–how could one resist or even forget. So when he does comeback, he dare not open or close without doing so. It would seem weird not to and everyone would be secretly waiting for it, if not doing it when he steps on stage. Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof!! Loved that! You just don’t get antics or signature moves like that from late night hosts. Of course you have the opening jokes and the gesture toward the musician wearing the shades in the band and whatnot but that dag-gum barkin’ was the hit, man! LOL.

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