If you ask different people where they first saw Arsenio Hall, you’d probably get a number of different answers. But, it was the success of his Emmy Award-winning late night talk show “The Arsenio Hall Show” that made Arsenio a household name. The versatile actor, comedian and producer first became involved in the arts at “The Cleveland Playhouse” and continued to hone his craft through his Kent State University years.
In 1979, Hall moved from Ohio to Chicago, Illinois where he tried his hand at stand-up comedy and was discovered by Jazz singer Nancy Wilson. In the following few years Arsenio toured, opening for twenty major headliners including Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder. A short time later, Arsenio attempted to diversify his career by making numerous appearances on television shows such as “Solid Gold” and “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”…and doing his first film cameo in “Amazon Women on the Moon,” directed by John Landis.
In 1987, Arsenio was asked to replace Joan Rivers on the Fox Network series “The Late Show.” On the strength of his work as interim host, he was signed to a film and television deal with Paramount Pictures, which subsequently led to the opportunity to co-write and co-star in the hit (Paramount) comedy “Coming to America.”
On January 3, 1989, “The Arsenio Hall Show” made its debut. Virtually overnight, Arsenio changed the face of late night television by captivating young viewers across the country. During his successful five-year run as Executive Producer, Arsenio provided a forum for cutting edge comedy, politics and the television debut of such pop superstars as Mariah Carey, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Boyz II Men, and countless others. In 1994, Arsenio was again ready to grow and diversify. He resigned from the late night gabfest to pursue other personal and professional interests.
In 1998, Arsenio joined the cast of the CBS dramedy “Martial Law,” playing “Terrell Parker,” a streetwise L.A.P.D. detective, for two years. He followed this up with a two season stint as Host of the new “Star Search” (CBS). And then, taking on his most challenging task to date, he returned to stand-up comedy and toured for the first time in over a decade.