Arsenio Hall is celebrating his 58th birthday in style on Wednesday (Feb. 12). He’s back on TV with a late night talk show and returning to greatness. After the first version of “The Arsenio Hall Show” went off the air in 1994, it was almost two decades until it returned in 2013.
What many might not remember is just how important many of Hall’s interviews were on the original show. From Magic Johnson’s first public appearance after announcing he was HIV-positive, to Vanilla Ice defending himself against detractors, Hall wasn’t afraid to talk about the controversial topics the public was curious about. And, of course, he got then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton to play the saxophone on TV.
He was also the rare host that didn’t mind treating his guests in a slightly hostile manner to get to the root of an issue, if that was needed. To celebrate Hall’s birthday, take a little trip down memory lane with some of those more memorable interviews.
Johnson’s first public discussion after revealing his HIV diagnosis. In the interview he reassures the audience he isn’t gay and pints out that homosexuals aren’t the only ones who contract the disease, which is a theory that more people believed than you’d expect.
Ice defends himself about badmouthing M.C. Hammer and rappers looking down on him. He also trots out Flavor Flav to prove he has a black friend.
Shakur’s interview is widely remembered for his claim that Janet Jackson demanded he get an HIV test before they kissed in a movie.
‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage
At the time of this interview, Savage was WWF Champion and openly addressed allegations of steroid use in the professional wrestling industry, which was in the headlines.
Turner more or less admitted to abusing his former longtime wife, Tina Turner, during his interview on the show. It was a very uncomfortable moment.
Rosie O’Donnell and Madonna
There’s nothing all that controversial about Madonna and O’Donnell’s appearance on the show. They just became great friends during filming of “A League of Their Own” and wanted to promote it together. They’re a funny duo and the video is a crazy look back another of Madonna’s past phases.