When it comes to green living, Arsenio Hall, a single father, takes a cue from his 11-year-old son. "They learn stuff in school. He won't let me have Styrofoam. He asked me to get a ceramic Coffee Bean cup. I was the guy who packed stuff in Styrofoam peanuts when it didn't have to be. I don't do that anymore. I bought a Prius for his mom, I have the bins and separate stuff. I'm trying to get on board," says Hall, who adds that he's always conserved water and electricity. "I'm real good with that kind of stuff but it comes more from a Jack Benny place," he laughs, referencing the notoriously stingy comedian. "People think I'm green but I'm really Jack Benny!"
Hall grew up watching Benny and other iconic comics on Ed Sullivan's variety show, which is why he jumped at the opportunity to pay tribute to his heroes on PBS' "Ed Sullivan Comedy Special," airing Aug. 6, which showcases the best standup bits from the long-running variety show. "My show was heavily influenced by him because I, too, had no visible talent," says Hall, who describes himself as a standup who loves hosting. When he was on in late night, "Johnny [Carson] was the king and I got the children of his fans. If you didn't like Alan King, I had Bobby Brown for you. Now it's too crowded. You don't need a guy like me but that doesn't stop me from sitting at home and having a monologue joke and a guest I'd like to book," he admits, conceding that he'd like to do an updated format that incorporated behind the scenes and new-tech elements. He questions whether the field is too tight and fragmented to stage a comeback at 55, "but if they give me a little daylight," he says, "I'm going to slide into it."