Who Is Arsenio Hall, What Happened To His Talk Show and Why Do Fans Think He Is Gay?

He is one of the funniest beings to have graced the comedy constituent of the American entertainment industry. Arsenio Hall has a reputation for the rib-cracking disposition always portrayed in his comedy roles. He is not just a comedian; he is also an actor and a former talk show host for his popular show, The Arsenio Hall Show. The show ran for six years and became a staple of pop culture.

Since the show stopped airing, Arsenio’s popularity has waned. Still, he remains one of America’s most recognizable TV personalities, with plenty of fun details to learn about him, such as why his show left television.

Arsenio Hall Was Born an Entertainer

Hall was born on February 12, 1955, in Cleveland, Ohio to his Christian parents Fred and Anne Hall. For Arsenio, comedy has always been a way of life. As a child, he would put up shows and perform as a magician. However, that did not stop his parents from sending him to school.

Young Hall attended Warrensville Heights High School and also John F. Kennedy High School. For his tertiary education, he studied at Ohio University and then finished his education at Kent State University, where he continued to nurse his comedy inclination.

He finished school in 1973 and it was time to make a move to actualize his dreams. In 1984, Hall, who was in search of a headway, moved to places like Chicago and Los Angeles, where he found a little chink of platform and made few appearances in TV programs, kicking off his career.

Some of these opportunities were his small roles in American music-dance TV program, Soul Train, and a sidekick role for Alan Thicke in a talk show titled Thickie of the Night.

Here’s How The Arsenio Hall Show Started

His breakthrough came in 1987 when he replaced comedienne Joan Rivers on The Late Show in a revamp quest by Fox network. Hall was employed to take the show to the next level after disappointing episodes of poor ratings.

His unparalleled and unique approach met the expectations of Fox network executives as well as the general public, projecting his image in the industry.

Arsenio soon utilized this public affection and created his eponymous show, The Arsenio Hall Show. The show, which became famous for the Woof! Woof! chant had a lot of notable guests, including Bill Clinton, Paula Abdul, En Vogue, and Diana Ross.

The show ran for one hour and spanned 1,406 episodes across six seasons. Beyond its guests and Hall’s talents, the show created several pop culture moments. A running gag on the show, ‘things that make you go hmmm…’, inspired a 1991 chart-topping song titled Things That Make You Go Hmmm… The song peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play and #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Arsenio and the show also won a series of awards during their run. They including NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Talk Series and Outstanding Variety Series. The show also won two Emmy Awards.

Declining Ratings Led to The End of His Popular Show

Nothing lasts forever, especially when it comes to primetime programs on American television. Arsenio Hall’s show was popular for the first five years of its existence, well into 1993. But as the year grew on, the show’s ratings began to decline.

He started losing viewers, all thanks to the growing popularity of MTV’s The Jon Stewart Show and Last Show with David Letterman. Despite several attempts to get back his audience, including featuring controversial Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, Arsenio was unable to regain his place as the leader of the late-night TV talk show.

Although Paramount Television never canceled the show officially, Arsenio announced his exist in April 1994, and the last episode aired on May 27, 1994.

The Return of The Show In 1993

The show made a temporary return in 2013, nineteen years after the original left TV. It had a strong debut ratings-wise, among a similar target audience as its first run. However, despite an impressive debut week, the show was unable to hold on to its audience and dwindled consistently in ratings.

CBS, which aired and distributed the show, renewed it for a second season in February 2014. However, the company reversed the decision and canceled the show in May 2014.

The show was just one of his many endeavors as an entertainer. Arsenio featured in many movies including Coming to America, where he played the sidekick to Eddie Murphy. He also starred in Amazon Women on the Moon. For one of his notable movie roles, he won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor. Hall made several other appearances in live programs, including the MTV Video Music Awards.

Arsenio Hall
Arsenio in Coming to America: image source

Hall has appeared as himself in so many other TV shows. Some of these include Chelsea Lately, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Sharon Osbourne Show, Chappelle’s Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Inside Edition, and The Wendy Williams Show.

See Also: 10 Comedy Shows Today That Will Stand The Test Of Time

The Truth About His Sexuality

For a celebrity who has not had many female lovers or gone public about his relationships, it is only expected of the media to sniff around for more information. Hall’s staunchly private life gave rise to rumors and speculations about his sexuality. Many of them went as far as calling him gay.

However, those rumors have died, thanks to few details about his relationship history. The comedian has been in a few relationships, all involving women, proving that he is not gay.

Arsenio Doesn’t Believe In Marriage

Arsenio Hall might not be gay, but he has never been married, a lifestyle more commonly associated with gay people. However, in the case of Arsenio, it is because he doesn’t see any need for it.

The comedian has spoken of his willingness to be in long term relationships but sees no reason why he should get married. As such, despite being in a few long-term relationships, including a famous one with Paula Abdul, he has never walked down the aisle. He is however a father to Arsenio Hall Jr.

Arsenio Hall
Arsenio with his son, Arsenio Jr.: image source

Hall Jnr, who was born in 1999, is a product of his relationship with his ex-girlfriend and former personal manager, Cheryl Bonacci. The two split after being together for fifteen years, between 1987 and 2002.

Other People He Dated

Because he keeps his personal life private, it is hard to accurately determine the women who have graced Arsenio Hall’s life. However, we do know that he dated the 80s singer Paula Abdul in the late 1980s. How or why their relationship ended remains a mystery. But the two have maintained an affection for each other since they parted ways.

Arsenio Hall
Arsenio with Paula Abdul: image source

Other notable exes include Emma Samms (1983 – 1984), Pamela Anderson (1995), and Mary Frann. Since he dropped out of the spotlight, there is little detail about his relationship status. As at the time of writing this, Arsenio Hall is considered single.


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