The appearance of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan was highly controversial due to remarks by Farrakhan that many felt were anti-Semitic and homophobic. Protests from Jewish and gay groups pressured Hall to cancel Farrakhan's appearance but Hall adamantly refused. Hall agreed to feature pre-taped segments featuring opposing viewpoints but he did not air any of them. Some affiliates put a disclaimer before the episode warning viewers. The furor over this episode was a major reason why Hall and Paramount decided not to renew his contract. See more »
I remember watching Arsenio Hall when the show first came on in 1989. Lots of kids these days probably don't remember Arsenio and this show, but back in '89 when I was 13, this was considered the coolest show EVER. People would talk about nearly every show the next day. I remember how everyone in my school were talking about his verbal sparring with Madonna(which always seemed staged to me) back in early 1990.
Unfortunately, only 1989 and 1990 were good to poor Arsenio. The guy and his show stayed true to the old adage, "the quicker you burn, the faster you fade away". The blush went off the rose very quickly, and from 1991-'94, Arsenio limped along with his lame jokes and Eddie Murphy wannabe routines. I remember I stopped watching when I was 15 or 16 sometime in 1991 anyway. During the shows run during the rest of the '90s, people wondered when Arsenio would finally get cancelled, instead of talking about each show like it was an event. I'm not sure, but I think that like M.C. Hammer, Arsenio became very "1989". When the show finally went off the air in 1994, I don't think anyone even cared. I also think this show only receiving only 3 or 4 comments speaks volumes about Arsenio and his show, people have forgotten completely about him. Nevertheless, during 1989 and 1990, Arsenio Hall was a household name.
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