Arsenio Hall Tells THR He Was Originally Supposed To Be In “Bad Boys,” And That His Talk Show Wasn’t Canceled–He Resigned
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Arsenio Hall decided to set the record straight about his past, including why he claims his famous talk show wasn’t canceled, and explains how he was supposed to play alongside Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys, not Will Smith. I know, I couldn’t imagine him in such a role either.
At one point in the interview, writer Alex Ben Block asks Hall why his show was canceled in ’94, but he was quick to clarify that it wasn’t canceled per se, but that he chose to walk away from it after five years on air–and some lagging ratings. He also elaborated on why he felt the need to step away:
It wasn’t canceled. I resigned. Sure, there was an erosion of the numbers (audience ratings) as shows tend to do in year five or six. You are a little lower this year than last year. But the show never stopped making money, never stopped being profitable for Paramount…I actually thought I needed changes in my life and I need to try other things. I wanted to do things professionally, like stand-up, and try some acting. I felt my whole life needed broadening. I didn’t have a family. Everything I had done was a gamble because I felt if I missed it as some point, I could get back in. I could still walk into a comedy club and make people laugh every night. That’s what I do. And I could be home in the morning to make breakfast and take my kid to school. What I was confused about was that when you go from being on every night to just being a stand-up, your visibility is on a whole different level.
Hall was also asked why he seemingly disappeared off of the face of the planet for years after his time with The Arsenio Hall Show and didn’t jump back into acting like that. He claimed that the business is just not as easy as it looks. And on top of that, he had just made some questionable decisions…like turning down Bad Boys:
It was one of those things I tried to pursue after I left late-night. I wanted to study and take it seriously and not just be the talk show host who is popular so he gets a role. But I wasn’t able to crack that nut the way I wanted. It’s a tough racket. Sometimes I made bad choices. I remember there was a time I decided not to do more stand-up or go on the road. I turned down a movie called Bad Boys where it would have been me and Martin (Lawrence) instead of Will (Smith) and Martin. You look back and say, It wasn’t a bad decision because I’m happy with my life. I’m a daddy or whatever. But then you realize, that’s not where I’m supposed to be. One day you really miss it.
So after taking his stint as a TV host for granted, Hall realized that he wanted to get back in where he fit in. So he’s of course coming back with a revival of The Arsenio Hall Show on CBS this fall. What can we expect from it? And who is he trying to reach this time around?
There’s probably some marketing person saying it’s a party. It’s a spirited show. It is targeted for a younger demographic. The bottom line is yes it’s a party, just as the powers that be will say it is…The audience we had the first time around is about 40 now. From the (research) we have crunched, I think the audience that will embrace the show is an interesting cross-demographic. That guy has kids now. I think they will both watch.
Well all right. Can’t say I will be thirsty to tune in myself, but I’m all about black folks making good money doing what they’re good at. You can check out the full interview, including an explanation of when Hall realized he was going to try to get back on late night television and how that involves Snoop Dogg, if you click over to The Hollywood Reporter.