Arsenio Hall is every bit the definition of an icon, and the legendary entertainer is currently on his way to star in the Coming to America sequel. But first he's making a stop in Nashville for a series of stand-up shows.
The former late night host has enjoyed a long an illustrious career, but now he's going back to where it all began and serving up laughs in local comedy clubs.
While in conversation with PopCulture.com earlier this week, Hall opened up about just why it is that he feels he's "better and happier in the smaller venues."
"I love to point to someone and zone in on a specific smile or a couple's acknowledgment of something," Hall confessed. "When a lady turns to her man and says, "Honey you do that! Exactly what he said, you do that!" And I like that intimacy. And it's probably how I started out."
"I went [with] Dave Chappelle recently to celebrate how many years he had been in show business, he did a big month of comedy at Radio City Hall and he brought all his friends in every weekend. And one night me and Chris Rock and Jeffrey Ross, Russell Peters, we all flew in and did one of them," he went on to share, recounting a recent experience he had doing stand-up in a major theater with some heavy-hitter peers.
"As cool as it is to be standing in Radio City I would rather ... and this is just me, I would rather be at Zanies in Nashville," Hall continued, "There's something about it."
While more intimate venues are great for connecting better with your fans, Hall's "first big gig" was something that will likely be tough to top, as it was "opening for Stevie Wonder at the Rose Bowl."
Even though he confesses that he "loved it," a true stand-up comedian he noticed how disconnected it is to play stadiums and arenas, saying that "the laughter takes a moment to circle the place and come back to you," and then adding, "there's a whole delay type of situation and sometimes."
Hall reconciles this feeling by recalling a Steve Martin quote he once read where Martin "found himself in a 20,000-seater and he looked and thought to himself, 'I think I'm cheating.' He says, 'I can't even see the people that bought tickets.' "
"So I think a lot of comics sometimes love the intimacy," Hall sums it up by saying. "Sure, the bigger bag, the bigger room, all that kind of stuff, but if it's just about stand-up, take me to the Laugh Factory."
Hall will be performing at Zanies in Nashville, Tennessee on Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20, with two shows each night at 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Tickets can be purchased directly from Zanies here.
Photo Credit: Getty / Michael S. Schwartz