“I was a huge fan of the show,” says Arsenio Hall about The Celebrity Apprentice, but he turned down the offer to participate when he was asked before. He didn’t want to be separated from his son. Now, his son, 12, encouraged him to go to New York and Hall wanted the chance to raise money for the Magic Johnson Foundation. “I was on the ground floor with Magic when he started it,” he says. But regardless of everything he knew about the show, “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve never given birth, but this seems like it’s harder,” speculates Hall, who dreaded facing Donald Trump in the boardroom.
“I hated to go in there. I’d walk in there and start sweating, get anxiety and a stomach ache. People are hating each other and mistreating each other. I tried to stay out of it,” says Hall, adding that he found out how tough it was to hit friends up for money. “I don’t have as many friends as I thought I did,” he confides, though he did make a few new ones on the show, including Lou Ferrigno and Penn Gillette. “I’m glad I did it. I think Magic is very proud of what I was able to do,” he says, but indicates that his run was brief. “Let me put it like this: Please watch the first episode!”
Otherwise, Hall has a few other projects in the works. He’ll voice a crayon in the animated movie The Hero of Color City, and has shot a few episodes of a series for Cartoon Network based on the Black exploitation movie spoof Black Dynamite. He misses doing interviews like he did on his talk show, but what he’d really like to do is improvised comedy like Curb Your Enthusiasm. “If I had a choice, I’d like to be the Black Larry David.”
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