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First off,a bit late coming but here's to the 20th anniversary of the
show. (01/03/1989). Why 20 years of Simpsons and not this I wonder?
On May 27th,1994 The Arsenio Hall Show aired it's last segment. It will be (almost unbelievably) 15 years this coming May. It really seems like a few days ago to me but then again, used to record the show. (Not all of them but more-so depending who was the musical guest). The sad thing in seeing them now is realizing all the guests that are now gone. To see Luther Vandross then and then remind one's self he's not with us anymore,makes it bittersweet.
I was viewing some of the shows the other night for the first time in a great while and still found it funny and entertaining. The serious points of the show....some are still very relevant. There is still gang violence in the street,there is still AIDS and despite having an African-American as President,there are still race issues. ..but I'm not here to get political.
I've read the reviews here and some seem to take this just a little too seriously and one reviewer just made some things up to make their review seem factual.
Example : Saying the OJ Simpson car chase or trial happened while Arsenio was on the air. This happened June 12th,1994 nearly 3 weeks after Arsenio's last show. This has nothing to do with it's cancellation at all nd is an outright ignorant statement.
The important thing to remember about the show if you really loved watching it was that it was a breath of fresh air in late night TV. 1989 especially,which was one of the worst years in TV and music history. America,not to mention America's youth,needed something that wasn't the same old thing in late night or even TV itself.
I loved Johnny Carson's show too but it's no secret that The Tonight Show and Letterman tended to shy away from having the hip-hop culture on their shows. Arsenio gave a forum to these acts and to other kinds of culture as well.
I don't understand why people call Arsenio being congenial with his guests "*** kissing". It's a late night talk show people. Johnny,Jay,Dave & all the others did the exact same lip service,so how was Arsenio's dealing with his guests any different. If you wanted something deeper with celebs,then that's why you watch Oprah.
Now,I'm no fan of hip-hop but it was still interesting to watch and at least try to understand more about it. This is something else Arsenio highlighted on his show was,not just being the kind off talk show for celebrities to talk about their movie or upcoming album,but also to talk about relevant issues in our country. Being recorded in L.A. in the early 90s,it would've been a poor choice to act like nothing was happening.
Arsenio had great talents on in the short run of his show,not just the acts of the day but the long established acts like Sammy Davis Jr. , James Brown,Mary Wilson,Stevie Wonder,The Temptations and more. I know a lot of critics and Paramount themselves told him "Arsenio,your show is too black." A great demonstration of ignorance on their part.
This is what really sets the stage for the ultimate cancellation of his show. Being that the show was syndicated,local TV stations could put it on when they chose to,so he got pushed back the the early A.M. hours. The other factor is that Paramount never really expected him to succeed as a talk show host.
On the final show Whoopi Goldbeg reads from show business trade magazine,an ad in which Paramount says about Arsenio's end,"We are speechless". As if they find it a surprise he's going off the air,since they are the one's who set it in motion. They wanted his show to end. It's an easy thing to do to say "Oh,his show is losing ratings". You put a show on at 1 or 2 in the morning,just how many people will stay up for it?
The last show is great,you have Whoopi,James Brown many celebrates in the audience and some quick-flashback clips of the craziest & most serious moments. Topped off at the end by James singing, "Say it Loud,I'm black and I'm proud".
I'm not black but I do know that Arsenio wore that credo like a badge of honor. It would have been simply wrong for him to do any less. Here's to hoping those 6 seasons gets out on DVD. Woof-woof Mr. Hall! (End)
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
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.
The generation today probably doesn't know who this man is. Though everybody remembers him as Eddie Murphy's sidekick in the 1988 movie "Coming to America". A few months later he had his own late night talk show. The first 2 years Arsenio was at his best and after that the show became boring and dry. He started having the same usual guest like Bill Cosby,MC Hammer,and Eddie Murphy to name a few. In 1994 maybe a week before his show was canceled he interviewed Minister Louis Farrakhan,and the plug was pulled. Recently he been the host of the newly Star Search,but today many people think this man's show never existed. This is probably because he didn't leave the audience when some interesting and overwhelming interviews with his guest and everything was sugar-coated and a** kissing. Naturally Arsenio Hall seem like a warm-hearted man who just can't cut staying in the limelight.
I just finished reading some of the comments here about Arsenio's show,
and while I agree with some, I heavily disagree with others. First of
all, there was no "hip hop backlash" around the time that grunge rock
became popular. At the time hip hop began to reach it's commercial peak
as well. Furthermore, Arsenio frequently had grunge and rock performers
on his show; from Poison to Nirvana to Red Hot Chili Peppers to
Radiohead. Many are quick to associate Arsenio's show with hip hop,
simply because he is a black man and was the first to really showcase
it, but that is not all he ever had on. His musical guests were a mixed
bag: pop, urban, country, rock, etc.
What killed Arsenio was that he over time just simply wore thin. In retrospect, it is very true that Arsenio's show was very "1989," and he had a hard time moving forward from that. His interviewing skills were often lacking, and his opening monologues were at times poor. Everything wrong with the show starting out that people dismissed because he was young, hip and someone *new* to watch on late night continued to haunt him, and over time people started to not dismiss it anymore.
Toward 1993-1994, his show became dreadfully stale, painfully slow moving, and annoyingly unfunny. In the meantime, all the hoopla surrounding the Jay/Dave fight over the Tonight Show didn't help matters because it led late night audiences (and sponsors) to focus on them rather than Arsenio.
When Johnny Carson went off the air, in part because younger viewers
were leaving NBC for The Arsenio Hall Show (1989), two networks decided
to launch new late night show:
1. CBS-David Letterman, including in his contract the 12:30 am time slot for his production company take over.
2. Fox-Chevy Chase for a brief 13 week run.
Before these new shows, The Arsenio Hall Show was found on approximately 100 CBS affiliates around the country at 11:30 pm. Those time slots were now unavailable to Hall. Less known, is that 70+ Fox affiliates were also running the Arsenio Hall Show at 11:00 pm. Here they had to move him to the midnight hour, were there are less viewers and less ad revenue, or drop this syndicated show all together.
Combine that with the controversies surrounding this show-documented else where-it was just a matter of time.
I have a question: If Hall's success had not quickened Carson's retirement would he have lasted longer?
I admit I have fond memories of the Arsenio Hall show and was a devout
viewer, but that was when he first came out and skyrocketed to instant
popularity. He was a major hype of the times, an icon for bringing a
new, hip and refreshing format to the talk show industry, and checking
out his show seemed like the "in" thing to do.
There were funny and memorable moments, like the time Kurt Russell was a guest and a song from an album he recorded as a child star suddenly started blaring on the studio speakers. There were also Arsenio's merciless digs at Roseanne Barr during his opening monologue, most of which were pretty funny. There was also Madonna's hyped up and much publicized appearance (back when she was at a superstar zenith), and after the applause died down and the 'talk' began, all she basically did was throw questions back at him about his alleged romance with Paula Abdul.
Arsenio seemed to revel in his own success too, like showing a clip from "Ghost" where Whoopi Goldberg mentions to two co-stars that his show was on. Or taking note of the news item where a guy got outraged and violent after other people in his household wouldn't let him watch the show.
Yeah, The Arsenio Hall show was a product of the times, unfortunately time wasn't too kind and before long, the fad started to wear out. My interest started to wane in '91 when things weren't making such an impact anymore. Even another appearance from Madonna didn't liven things up. She, looking pale and curiously waxen faced, merely sat quietly while her then-friend Rosie O'Donnell obnoxiously hogged up all the attention.
Yes, Arsenio was a great show, but only at the beginning, afterwards, it became a passing fancy, much like the "Help, I've fallen and can't get up!" commercial and the "Twin Peaks" TV series.
It seems that no one can talk about The Arsenio Hall Show without talking
about how quickly the American public lost interest in the program, and
making several jokes about the said talkshow host. I guess it's because a
lot of it is true. Arsenio did die a sudden death, that is something
everyone can agree on. One night he became the hottest thing the world
seen, then before you knew it he became yesterday's news.
People are right about the good years for this show, it was 1989 and 1990. Although Arsenio and many of his ardent defenders may accuse The Tonight Show's Helen Kushnick of threatening a boycott on Arsenio's potential guests if they turned up on his show before Jay Leno's, that was just part of the reason he faded away like he did. The man was just a downright terrible interviewer, possessing next to zero skills on how to correctly and intelligently interview a guest. And too many times his opening monologue seemed like a rip off of one of Eddie Murphy's early 80's Saturday Night Live sketches. Arsenio tended to pander to White society's expectations of a Black man, i.e. always trash talkingly funny and smart-mouthed. But he's not the only one guilty of picking up the mantle of Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy and looking like a one note joke. Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, and Bernie Mac have all fallen into this trap.
During the 1991-'94 part of the show, it was never the same and the pop culture was changing, leaving Arsenio behind. I think the bulk of the problem is what others have already said here, Arsenio Hall was firmly grounded in a late 80's style, but he was trying to do his show in the 1990's. He could get away with it in 1990, but the further he got into the 90's, the more he seemed like yesterday's news and just a total has been what with him still talking about Paula Abdul and the New Kids on the Block. But Arsenio's reign in 1989 and 1990 was cool while it lasted, too bad he couldn't keep up with the changing times.
I have to agree with everyone else that the first two years (1989 & 1990)
were Arsenio's prime years. I used to watch it when I was younger and got a
huge kick out of it. I actually have many of the wrestling interviews on
tape he did (The ones with Ted DiBiase and Bobby Heenan stick out in my
mind). But of course there was the constant brownnosing on the guests.
Arsenio had a great interview technique, he just did too much kissing up.
It's a bad habit that has followed him into other shows. It only appealed to
a certain populi of the United States (Older people watched Carson, college
kids watched Dave, people in the know watched Nightline, etc.). Then came
1992 when New Jack Swing was dying down and grunge was being to take form.
Jay Leno took over The Tonight Show and made it hipper (and of course you
had his agent, Helen Kushnick underbooking Arsenio's guests). Times were
just changing and people started to forget about Arsenio.
There were a couple of positives that stood out though. His house band was really kickin'. He would always center certain members of the band out (There was Michael Wolfe of course, You had the "John B. Williams Poetry Moment", and Starr Parodi's one woman band jams). He was funny some of the time. And there is also the fact that a syndicated talk show went as long it did without network backing. But it was only a matter of time when the show got the death knell.
Arsenio Hall's show contained a wide range of ups and downs during its five
and a half-year history. There is much to comment, so LET'S GET
Firstly, let's focus on the good.
1) This show had a Black person with his own late night talk show. 2) While Carson and Letterman appealed to Whites, Arsenio appealed to the urban sector. 3) Arsenio dressed really well. 4) Arsenio would have guests on his show that appealed to urban culture, but were not considered mainstream enough to appear on Carson or Letterman. 5) Arsenio had an ethnically diverse band. 6) There were several memorable moments in the guest category: · Muhammad Ali was on the show and Sugar Ray Leonard and Mike Tyson made a surprise visit. · Miles Davis' appearance. · Sammy Davis JR's appearance. · Louis Farrakhan's appearance (memorable only because of all the controversy it created). · His shows after the Rodney King acquittals, and riots. · The video collages commemorating highlights of the show. · Bill Clinton playing the saxophone. · Andrew Dice Clay weeping openly to the sympathetic public. · MC Hammer (or Hammer depending on your mindset) and his performances. There are other moments to recognize, but I have to stop here due to space constraints.
Now, let's focus on the bad, which led to its premature cancellation:
1) The constant ass kissing while giving interviews. No one liked that. 2) More often than not, he would have guests on the show that appeared so frequently that they became stale and boring to watch. One popular example was George Wallace. 3) The monologues were terrible. Naturally, some jokes don't work at times. When Arsenio delivered jokes that died, he would attempt to keep it going to make it funny. It didn't work. The material was poorly written, and poorly delivered. 4) The perpetuation of ethnic stereotypes associated with hip-hop culture. Many times, he overdid it to the point that it looked clownish. 5) The fact that he had to maintain his "high-top fade" to let people know that he was still "Black" appeared to be very plastic after awhile. 6) His filler guests. For a little while, there was a show which came on right after Arsenio called "The Party Machine", hosted by Nia Peeples. Why do you need to have Nia Peeples as a guest on Arsenio (at the end of the hour program, in fact), when she is hosting the next program? Filler! 7) The "Master Impressionist" routine. It got old after the first time! Some you could not figure out.
The program got so bad that his guest stars were of greater interest than he was. Towards the end of the series run, I would only watch the beginning of the telecast to see who his guests were and what he was wearing. I would then either turn the channel or turn the TV off.
His timing was very lacking. The audience hollering "WOOF WOOF WOOF" was going to get played out eventually. Though Johnny Carson's approach was conservative, it remained lively enough to last 30 years. Arsenio was not going to last a third of that. He did not keep up. He thought that the same antics were going to keep him on the air. It didn't.
Arsenio originally had a 6-year contract to do his show. That means that his 6 year anniversary would have come in December, 1994. However, his show ended in May, 1994. His show ended 6 months early. Why is that? It's because Paramount wanted to pull the plug. They probably bought out the last 6 months of his contract and ended it. Thank goodness. Thank goodness for Arsenio's sake.
Arsenio's style and format led to an attempt at shows that tried to duplicate his formula: "Vibe", "The Keenan Ivory Wayans Show". "The Chris Rock Show" on HBO was the best.
Arsenio was extremely overrated as a comedian, as a celebrity. There has to be more to him than being a former friend of Eddie Murphy to have a career. Too bad his career is gone. See you in 5,000 hours!
If someone were to come up to you on the street and asked you this
question.......Who is Arsenio Hall?
At one time this man had one of the hippest and brightest talk show in the history of late night television and also to make a point here that he was the ONLY African-American entertainer to accomplished such a feat during a period between the 1980's and 1990's when Johnny Carson was the undisputed ruler of the "late night talk-show circuit",and to put in this same category David Lettermen and also Ted Koppel,who had a news magazine show during the late-night hour.
Say what you want about Arsenio Hall,since his show was a not to be missed and for one "The Arsenio Hall Show"(Syndicated:1989-1994)was the coolest show ever made,and righteously so. I remember watching Arsenio Hall when it first premiered in 1989 and from the first episode it really took off since at the time "The Arsenio Hall Show" debuted after "The Joan Rivers Show",and "Late Night Starring Chevy Chase" were dismal failures. For the six years that it ran in syndication,Arsenio Hall was riding the wave of popularity and the explosion of "hip-hop" culture and "trends" was about to follow. He did however struck a chord with the youth of America since Arsenio show was just about as good as it got and then some. However,a large percentage that were watching the show were younger people since for the first two seasons(between the years 1989 and 1991),"The Arsenio Hall Show" was the hottest show on the planet and within its first season(1989-1990)it dethroned Johnny Carson off the top spot of the late night supermacy. It was during the first two seasons the show was akin to that of the first years of Saturday Night Live. People stopped everything to what they were doing and watch--there were parties centered around the show and there was excitement in the air as well since the next day people would gather around the water cooler to discuss about last night's show and to eventually think about what Arsenio will do next or for matter something in between. A prime example of one episode I do recall was when Arsenio had a special guest or mystery guest to surprise the crowd and then something else would come in and really get the crowd jumping! It was between the years of 1989 and 1991 that were the best Arsenio Hall had since he was the Number One late night talk show in America. Then the unexpected happen. Let's face it,Arsenio Hall did what Johnny Carson,David Lettermen,Jay Leno,and even Conan O'Brien couldn't do...bring a hip audience with hip appeal to the youth of America! And secondly,history was being made too since Arsenio Hall became the ONLY black entertainer to successfully host his own weekly late-night talk show,and his own program which was something other African-Americans did as well like Keenan Ivory-Wayans,Flip Wilson or to an lesser extent Nat King Cole!
The show took chances that NO ONE else dared to do but Arsenio Hall! Several moments were excellent here including a daring saxophone player who was the governor of Arkansas who went on to become the President Of The United States(William Jefferson Clinton). Bill Clinton won the presidency in 1992 because he dethroned Bush and kept it real and keeping in touch with the youth of America thanks to Arsenio Hall!!! The other? When The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,Leader Of The Nation Of Islam came on Arsenio's show when no one else dared to get him for an interview and eventually appeared on national television!! The same can be said for Reverend Jesse Jackson and also for Reverend and activist Al Sharpton. The show was a launching pad for up and coming comedians as well including George Wallace and Bernie Mac not to mention Chris Rock and others that became famous thanks to Arsenio Hall! Not to mention on the same category aspiring actors and actresses who would go on to much bigger and better thanks to Arsenio Hall! There were some funny moments as well too.
As far as music was concerned,it was so much that "The Arsenio Hall Show" did for entertainers on a URBAN scale and it featured some of the best R&B acts and not to mention "hip-hop" acts of all time! He also had other acts as well that consisted of many musical fields including several bands that made their appearances of his show when the "grunge" era of rock music was about to explode upon the youth of America. Many of these performers were on Arsenio Hall's show when NO ONE else like The Tonight Show,David Lettermen or Conan O'Brien wouldn't let them in the door! Nor for that manner wouldn't have them!
During the years 1991 to 1994,the show suffered a decline and in the ratings as well since the pop culture was changing at a rapid pace leaving Arsenio Hall behind. America quickly lost interest in the program and other shows of the time were making jokes about Arsenio which to this day he doesn't like. The show was also a political hotbed for topics and issues which killed the show's good ratings. The ratings really started to slip during the O.J. Simpson trial and not to mention the wake of the riots that engulf Los Angeles,California during the show's 1992-1993 season. During that time Arsenio turned his show into a "Phil Donahue" type forum on inner city problems,and I do recalled that one episode of his show during an discussing of this got really ugly and it was during a taping with a live audience. This is when the show got worst and from their his audience was deserting him. Because of this,the show was pushed back into a later time slot and from there the final episode of "The Arsenio Hall Show" came to an end in May of 1994,after an astounding six year run in syndication.
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