I want you all to think back – way back – back into time. Back to the 1990s. It was a productive time for comedy not entirely unlike today; a bounty of venues, an large and open audience willing to pay, and plenty of comedians from both coasts able to perform. A man named Arsenio Hall was nipping at Carson’s heels, in his prime becoming what Jimmy Fallon is to late night now. Arsenio’s late night career ended in 1994 after his ratings collapsed and his contract with Paramount wasn’t renewed and sadly the dude faded into relative obscurity. Until now.
Arsenio Hall – after nearly 20 years – is back with an all new talk show. Yes, you read that correct. After what is probably (definitely?) one of the longest talk show hiatuses in history, he’s back and after watching a few clips it’s as if he never left.
While your correspondent here spent most of the early 90s in rural England (really, I basically grew up on a farm) and may not remember the heyday of Arsenio firsthand, Hall was enough of a cultural icon in his time – Bill Clinton playing the sax, Magic Johnson announcing he was HIV positive – to resonate around the world. And while some of the younger readers may not remember him, it’s great to see him back.
A funny opening sketch featuring Jay Leno officially kicked off the new show, and below are a couple of other clips from his premiere episode that are worth watching as well. Be sure to check out the interview he recently did with Esquire and the piece the New York Times did on his comeback while you’re at it.
First here’s the aforementioned opening sketch with Leno:
Fellow 90s superstar Paula Abdul stopped by…
Chris Tucker made an appearance…
And here’s Snoop Dogg as the musical guest…
I want more like this!
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