HOLLYWOOD — Late-night talk show host Arsenio Hall is back in action after 19 years away. But there's a big difference. This time he has an app, joining chat show brethren Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and others with the latest digital addition to watching late-night TV, as he told us in a recent interview at his studio here.
ARSENIO HALL UPCLOSE APP
The app (free; Apple, Android) features clips from the Arsenio Hall Show and behind-the-scenes footage. It "puts you in the guts of Stage 6 and allows you to do things you couldn't do without it. It gives you a backstage access ... that a fan couldn't have dreamed about 25 years ago. If you had come to the (original) show (1989-94) (as a studio guest), there's no way I would have you let you mess with the guests and the makeup room."
On the old show, pop music and TV stars dominated the chat. Now, it's all about digital technology and photo and video apps like Vine and Instagram. "It's amazing how things have changed. When (supermodel) Tyra Banks was here, we did a Vine on air. I did an Instagram with (Modern Family actor) Eric Stonestreet. I'm the one playing Ping-Pong on Vine, just because I can."
When we last interviewed Hall in 2012, he described himself as a "Twitter Freak" who had little use for Facebook. But with a late-night show to promote, he has hipped himself to the world's largest social network, where he has over 100,000 likes. He regularly posts photos and jokes from the show to get folks to tune in.
A year ago, he had his publicist pen his Facebook posts. Now, he still has the job outsourced, but the photos posted are all generated by Hall, and the Facebook posting is overseen and dictated by him, because, he says, "I didn't want anyone talking for me."
Arsenio Hall talks about the role the smartphone plays in running his new talk show on Talking Your Tech.
SMARTPHONES AND THE MODERN TALK-SHOW HOST
"This is the most important tool I have. You can find the name of Kelsey Grammar's ex-wife for your joke, find a stat, sit while you're getting a haircut and do research. I could call Magic (Johnson) at Dodger Stadium, Bluetooth to the booth and do (Apple) Facetime and find out what's going on with the Dodgers. This thing, (the phone) makes my life a lot easier."
LIVING WITHOUT A PHONE
He left his iPhone 5 at home by accident one day, and "it was the worst day of my life ... just horrible. I'm frightened about how important this is to me. My whole day was messed up."
Arsenio Hall can't live without his phone | Talking Your Tech
KIDS AND SMARTPHONES
"I remember telling my son (Arsenio Jr., 14) he couldn't have a phone. I thought it was unnecessary. `I'm there to drive you there and pick you up. What do you need a cellphone for?' I realized it was more for me than him. When he loses his phone, I'm mad. Now it's so important to call and say, `I'm on the freeway, I'm on the way.' It helps me parent."
Follow Jefferson Graham on Twitter @jeffersongraham.