DALLAS — A quarter-century ago, he broke the late-night color barrier, but in many ways his show was refreshingly color-blind. Inclusiveness is his goal again.
"I became 'the black show' before because the other shows were really, really not," he said. "But now (ABC late-night host Jimmy) Kimmel's MUCH blacker than me: He is juiced in to everybody from Kobe (Bryant) to (rapper) Rick Ross."
Besides, talk shows traffic in many of the same guests, Hall observed. What distinguishes one show from the next is its host and how he interacts with those guests.
With opening night just around the corner, Hall will be receiving his first guests soon and staking his new claim in late night.
"I don't even know if I can live through that first minute," he said excitedly. "You come out there, back after a billion years, there's gonna be all kind of animal noises and people screaming. What do you say? 'It was a long doggone hiatus'?"
But he used a stronger word than "doggone," then burst into laughter.