“This is fun. I’m wearing pants—pants with a zipper,” deadpanned Hall. “This is one of my first times out of the house. I take Covid very seriously.”
During his opening monologue, Hall of course paid tribute to his own late-night talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show, which originally aired between 1989 and 1994.
He repeatedly joked about viewers who might wonder, “What? Who are you?
“‘Honey, I think that’s the owner of The Weather Channel,'” he imagined someone in the audience saying, referencing Byron Allen.
Hall then went on to reinvent a segment from his series, which returned in the form of a short-lived CBS revival between 2013 and 2014.
“Back on my old show, I used to do a thing called ‘Things that make you go Hmmm…’ [These things] were thoughts, like stand-up thoughts,” he explained. “Times are crazier now, and I’ve got to step it up. So I want to introduce a new version, and we’re going to call this…’Things that make you go, What the f**k?’”
“I hope Jimmy’s not watching. I’m getting ready to lose another job,” the guest host joked, before launching into a headline-based bit, as part of the segment.
“This might be one of the weirdest headlines I’ve ever seen: ‘Meth Pollution In the Waterways Turns Trout Into Junkies,'” he said, referencing a recent piece out of Smithsonian Magazine. “That’s right. Apparently areas where people smoke meth, it gets into the water, and the fish start to behave like meth heads. They lose their teeth; they move to Riverside. I guess they get their stuff from Walter Whitefish.”
He then cut to a graphic illustrating his fish-themed Breaking Bad pun, adding: “That’s one of those pictures that makes you say, ‘What the f**k?’”
Hall is one of a number of prominent entertainment figures filling in for Kimmel during his summer break. Others include Wanda Sykes, Nick Kroll, David Spade, Anthony Mackie, Sarah Silverman, Julie Bowen, Maren Morris, Phoebe Robinson and Niall Horan.
For more from the one-time late-night host’s Kimmel monologue, click on the video above.