Fall TV

Woof! Woof! Arsenio Hall Explains the Origins of His Late-Night Barks

Fall TV

After two decades, Arsenio Hall is returning to late-night television with a new syndicated show. And when his program debuts Sept. 9, the host hopes to be welcomed with the famous "Woof, woof, woof!" that his audiences greeted him with in the early '90s.

Hall sat down with Yahoo omg!'s "Yo Show" to preview his big comeback, and reminisce about the good old days. He revealed just how that barking came to be. 

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In Cleveland, Hall's hometown, die-hard fans of the local NFL team, the Browns, are known as "the dogs." And when they root for the team, they "woof."

"People from Cleveland either go and take their talents to South Beach, or they don't talk about it after they're famous," Hall noted. "I always wanted to talk about being from Cleveland. I'm proud of being from Cleveland. I took my bark with me."

When he hosted his first show, he encouraged his audience to bark for him. This time, he said, as he looked wistfully around his theater,"Hopefully, this place will be a kennel." 

Hall also reflected on the biggest moment of his career: hosting then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton on his show. He recalled all the extra security in place for the interview.

"I remember doing a joke, saying it's good to see the Democrats blowing something other than the election," Hall said. "And I remember at that moment, you could see laughter all over the room, except the guys in suits … they don't laugh." 

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At the time, many political pundits pooh-poohed Clinton's saxophone-playing appearance, criticizing it as undignified. Now, of course, it's a given that candidates stop by late-night shows.

"I still didn't know how important it was," Hall said of his major coup. "I still didn't know how it would change the methodology by which you run for the highest office in the land." 

"The Arsenio Hall Show," premieres Monday, Sept. 9. Check your local listings.

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