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Piers Morgan Live

Interview with Arsenio Hall; '12 Years a Slave'

Aired February 12, 2014 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: This is Piers Morgan Live welcome to our viewer in the United States and around world.

It isn't often that a star steps down on the very top of his game whether it's broadcasting, sports, or politic. But tonight, I talk to a man who did just that. Arsenio Hall and now he's back. I'll get his take on Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon and the late night wars.

Also, Michael Sam sought NFL prospect to review that he's gay. And some surprising comments on race from a Supreme Court Justice.

Plus, in "12 Years a Slave", Steve Mcqueen and the it-girl of this Oscar season Lupita Nyong'o.


STEVE MCQUEEN, BEST DIRECTOR NOMINEE FOR "12 YEARS A SLAVE": A star is born and I mean , you know, you seem a little -- forgive me

MORGAN: I'm sure you don't mind being called a star then Lupita?

MCQUEEN: But no, a star is born.


MORGAN: Also, this is the most interesting man in the world, he's royalty, a German pop star and he's skiing in Sochi for Mexico.

I want to begin thought with breaking news. Another vicious winter storm pounding the East coast tonight, Chad Myers is in the Severe Weather Center. With more, Chad never award the appropriate name but the Severe Weather Center Weather is looking pretty severe. Tell me what's going on?

CHAD MYERS, METEOROLOGIST : It is snowing from New Jersey to Alabama, and just on the eastern side of the snow it's freezing rain and sleet. It is just a mess out there in so many states and now moving even into New York City as we speak. And it's going to continue to be that way, all night long.

In fact, it's going to snow, it's going to sleet in Atlanta and Charlotte, it's going to go all the way through the midnight hour, we're going to see very heavy snow around daybreak in D.C., New York City and even starts as snow in Boston around 8 AM. But it changes over to actually rain for a while because the low closing up that it brings in some of warm air.

But by noon, very heavy snow D.C., New York City, we could see two three inches of snow per hour and could even be a place where there would be thunder snow. There's lightning in the clouds. There's thunder coming down it's snowing so heavy. We don't see it a lot but this is one item and that I think could happen tomorrow because this is such a vicious storm.

It's finally gone by Thursday night. Literally, it's out to see and Friday it's all gone. But we already have almost 4,000 canceled flights for tomorrow already. We only have 3,500 or so today. So, more cancels because going to bigger cities, going to bigger airports. That was a live shot at D.C., snowing heavily there now.

MORGAN: Yeah, a big mess. Chad Myers, thank you very much indeed. We go live to Gary Tuchman now. He's in Atlanta, who've already suffered a barrage of all this a couple of weeks ago. What's it like there now, Gary? What's going on?

GARY TUCHMAN, NATIONAL CORESPONDENT: Piers, what a difference two week makes. There are about 150,000 homes without power here in Georgia, and lots of power lines down, lots of trees though.

I heard two weeks ago, huge difference in the highways, in the streets. Do you remember two weeks ago when the Atlanta area got hit by storm, people were stuck in traffic, I mean my own daughter, I live in Atlanta, I had to wait six hours for her to come up from school, and the people have to wait for up to 20 hours for their loved one to come home.

But people took it very seriously today. Everyone from politicians to parents of children and everyone in between, people did not hit road, they knew this is going to be a big a storm. The main highway through the center of Atlanta interstate 75 and 85 almost completely empty for most of the day and the roads within the city almost quickly empty, people took it seriously and they were literally almost no problems here in the city of Atlanta and prepared it two weeks, a sign of relief for many. Piers.

MORGAN: Well, it is a relief to see them getting their act together finally down there. Thank you very much indeed Gary Tuchman.

Now, we're going to have Arsenio Hall live in about 10 minutes but before that let me turn to"12 years a slave". Seriously one of those powerful movies that I've seen for many, many years, it's being jolting up all sorts of action before the Oscars, it's -- in Screen Actor's Guild Awards, Golden Globe nomination, and to mention nine Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress.

Here's the Best Director Nominee Steve Mcqueen and Best Supporting Actress Nominee Lupita Nyong'o. Welcome to both of you.


MCQUEEN: Thank you. MORGAN: Now, Lupita, let's start with you because I've got a theory about you. You've arrived out of nowhere, you're getting all these nominations and probably with loads of award and you killed every red carpet I've seen you on.

And you've done it again here and it's not even a red carpet in my studio but these dresses you're wearing, the fashion you're bringing in the sense of fun and precise in color. Where is this coming from? Where have you been?

NYONG'O: Wow, I've been in Kenya, you know, basking in the sun and getting ready for this.

MORGAN: Getting ready, preparing for the onslaught?

NYONG'O: Yeah.

MORGAN: Steve, I want to take you back to the moment that you've done thousand auditions for the role of Patsey. It's a searingly powerful movie. I've not felt like I did coming out of a movie since probably Schindler's List in terms of the impact it had on me and on the audience. Some of them were in tears when they came out, others in total silence. Amazing.

But you needed to have someone for this key role. And in walks this young woman that you don't know much about, you've seen a thousand people and it's a eureka moment. Why?

STEVE MCQUEEN, BEST DIRECTOR NOMINEE FOR "12 YEARS A SLAVE": At first, I mean when I first Lupita on tape and at first I thought it was a mirage in a way. I was rubbing my eyes, was I seeing what I was seeing and I brought my daughter, and I brought my wife. And then they confirmed to me I was looking at a great actress. And then I got on the phone to my agent and I said that we need to see this woman immediately. And it was one of those moments where I - you kind of just quiver and sort of tremble because you know this is something big.

MORGAN: You said she had the kind of impact on you over young Grace Jones.

MCQUEEN: Yeah. I mean at first because just looking at her ...

MORGAN: I knew what you meant.

MCQUEEN: Yeah. Absolutely. But, you know, this is the person who is an epitome though. She's an individual away from that. And it's just one of those things where a star is born. I mean, you know, you see a little, forgive me. By the way she's ...

MORGAN: I'm sure you don't mind being called the star then Lupita?

MCQUEEN: But no, a star is born. She has that quality.

MORGAN: And when she did the audition did she exceed every expectation you've seen on the tape? Was it like a real moment? MCQUEEN: Beyond. I mean, you know, the tape was kind of intriguing that latch (ph) on it interesting. Then I saw her again and went beyond and, you know, it went to a place where, you know, you want acts to go. You want her to surprise you.

MORGAN: Lupita, for you, it's an amazing sequence of events. It's all happening very quickly. When you finished the audition did you think to yourself, "I've got this." or you didn't have a clue?

NYONG'O: No. I was so exhausted. At the end of the audition, you know.

MORGAN: Did you gave your everything?

NYONG'O: Yeah, and, you know, Patsey -- whenever Patsey speaks it's from a place of extremist. It's a match of life and death. So, doing it for an hour was exhausting and finding new ones in, you know, and trying to take every take as it's the first time. It was all very exhausting. So, you know ...

MORGAN: So, where, where you when you got the call from this man that was going to change your life?

NYONG'O: I was on my way out of my apartment in New Haven. I just landed from Louisiana and I was taking a rug out into the sun to just bask and try and take in the last 24 hours and I received the call from an unknown number and I picked up and he said, "This is Steve McQueen, I'd like to offer you the role of Patsey." And I sat down on the tarmac and I said, "I like to accept the role of Patsey."

MORGAN: Were you emotional?


MORGAN: Did you cry?

NYONG'O: No. I was dazed and confused. It was like -- I felt such a gut reaction to Patsey. I felt like I understood something about her with my soul that I didn't yet understand with my mind or anything.

And so, I was so excited when Steve said that I could actually delve into this and discover more about that gut feeling. But then I was also very scared because now I had to go and of course prove myself and work with these incredible actors that I watched for so long. And, you know, actually play with them. It was terrifying.

MORGAN: It was a great moment, Steve, when she comes to the first rehearsals and Michael Fassbender is your great go-to guy. I think he's been almost in every great movie you've done. And he says to you after early rehearsals with the Lupita, "Wow. I'm going to get my stuff together here." This girl's amazing, right?

MCQUEEN: Absolutely. I mean, it was -- we were doing the soap scene with Michael, and you know, with the ones said, you know, give it to them. And it was such a wake up call because it reminded Michael of where he was when we first in "Hunger" and, you know, that need and that want to sort of, prove on some but also that's sort of, you know, it's -- you arrived and basically it woke up Michael and it woke up Chiwetel.

MORGAN: The scenes are incredibly traumatic in parts. Your character Patsey is beaten, she's raped, she's treated appallingly, and I don't want to get too much away about it, it all plays out but it's very heroine. It must have been incredibly heroine to film that kind of thing.

NYONG'O: Yes. I mean it was very emotionally taxing but for me my challenge was to try and find Patsey's agency in her situation that seems like she has none and, you know, that gave me a very concrete task to do and still play to win, you know, she's not -- she is a victim of a lot things but she's not victimizing herself.

MORGAN: Because the most interesting about this to jump in, you triggered the thought presses there on me that you we're obviously raised in Kenya, you we're actually born in Mexico.


MORGAN: But you were raised in Kenya primarily and you didn't know much about American slavery. You sort of had to research all that. So a lot of this was quite new to you in terms of understanding it all.

NYONG'O: Yeah. But I think this is a part in history that many of us take for granted. I studied slavery in school, but I never considered it in on an emotional level. And I know many people have expressed that "12 Years as Slave" kind of offers an opportunity to understand this time in history from an emotional level.

In a way that reading intellectually doesn't -- doesn't really register. And so for me was that, like going in and not only considering the facts but considering how they would affect me personally and emotionally and that was the biggest eye opener.

MORGAN: So you finished the movie and no one knows what's going to happen here. It was a good buzz about it but then all hell breaks lose. So everyone that seeing it is raving about it. And Steve, you know, you've got an incredibly powerful film here. The moment you get the call -- or I don't know if you got a call. How did you find out you've been Oscar nominated because that's the next hugely for you.

NYONG'O: Yeah. I chose to watch it. I had a deliberation with my best friends, we were together here in L.A. and I chose to watch it because I thought, you know, I want to hear it from the horse's mouth either way.

MORGAN: And when the horse went Lupita Nyong'o, what were you doing in that moment?

NYONG'O: I raised my hand up and I just closed my eyes and cried and said thank you, thank you, thank you. It was so surreal to hear my name in that context. MORGAN: Brad Pitt is involved in this movie, is this lovely story that your father never heard of Brad Pitt as you said. "I've been out with Brad Pitt". "I'm very happy for you dear but I've never heard of him." Is that true?

NYONG'O: Well, you know, well Brad Pitt is one of those names that everyone's heard but I guess he just could place it (ph), you know, what was important was whether he knew him personally or not. And he didn't so, you know, it didn't mean anything to him.

MORGAN: You obviously knew Brad Pitt. You've got a tremendous cast in this movie. Did you think it would have quite the impact of resonance that it's had?

MCQUEEN: No, but I'm just so grateful that it has. And, you know, the movie is made over a $100 million right now. And it's just -- I mean what I'm so grateful for is that how people have received the picture. And, you know, at the beginning people when say, you know, it's too brutal and so - but, you know, the movie ...

MORGAN: I think you have to show that. To me, it would have failed if you haven't been brutal with it.

MCQUEEN: I mean either I was making a movie about slavery or I wasn't.

MORGAN: Right.

MCQUEEN: And I said I want to make woman of slavery. But I think, you know, there is a -- sometimes there is a bit of amnesia about it. But I think right now in this time of history people are receptive to look at that past and, you know, to feel where they are right now and to see and hopefully a better future.

MORGAN: Lupita, are gong to be at the Oscars? I'm doing the red carpet for CNN. I will see you gliding down the most famous red carpet in the world, expecting you to kill it again but you got to be excited, nervous, what are you feeling? I mean the way this has all happened to you and now the Oscars.

NYONG'O: I am just so grateful and stoked to be going to the Oscars and to be going there with so many other people from this amazing picture that I got to be a part of. I mean it's going to be the final celebration, you know.

MORGAN: What do your family make of this?

NYONG'O: I mean they're all my -- one of my -- my brother was like, "Is there a therapy? Like celebrity therapy?"

MORGAN: Because you now have the paparazzi chasing you, you've had, you know, magazine cover of the magazine cover you're the cover of Vanity Fair.

NYONG'O: Yeah.

MORGAN: I mean this crazy stuff.

NYONG'O: Yeah, it is. And my mother is a celebrity right now. She went to get her shoes repaired and for the first time, the guy asked for a picture with her.

MORGAN: So you're -- Lupita's mom is now star as well, everyone around you.

NYONG'O: Yeah.

MORGAN: It's wonderful while it goes, right?

NYONG'O: Yes, it is.

MORGAN: Right to success. It's a delight to meet you. Great to see a Brit flying the flag in Hollywood again and I wish you all the very best at the Oscars.

NYONG'O: Thank you so much.

MORGAN: I've got good feeling about that. If it was down to me, you would win.

NYONG'O: Thank you.

MORGAN: Unfortunately, for both of you, it's not.

"12 Years a Slave" is in theaters now and comes out on DVD March 4th.

When we comeback, the late night wars, Jay is out Jimmy's in. I'll talk to the man who's seen it all before, Arsenio Hall is live and in the house, great man how are you?


MORGAN: And it's his birthday.



HALL: Before he takes his vacation we know Jay is horrible at vacations, he's a workaholic and by the way I love a vacation. I'm the late night host that took 20 years off, OK.

JAY LENO, HOST, NBC'S THE TONIGHT SHOW: That's right you were off for 20 years.

HALL: Yes, I know about vacations if he has me. Imagine the black guy took 20 years off and came back and expected his job to still be there waiting for him.

LENO: Wow.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: One of Jay Leno's very last Tonight Shows, Jay is out Jimmy Fallon is on his way in. And joining me now to talk about the seismic shift in late night is Arsenio Hall. I can't think of anyone better.

Before we get to that, Arsenio, and lovely to see you, let's talk about "12 Years a Slave" for a moment, because I find that young woman Lupita Nyong'o. An incredibly impressive person in many ways, brilliant in the movie, brilliant on red carpet, brilliant to interview, articulate, you know ...

HALL: Also beautiful.

MORGAN: ... and beautiful, yeah, yeah.

HALL: Yes she has the whole package.

MORGAN: Like an amazing screen presence, but I thought that what she and Steve McQueen said there about the relevance of this movie, the importance of it was really, really I think vital. The history of American slavery is so pivotal, I think so many of the issues going on today, isn't it in America?

HALL: Yeah, and you know what really made me love this movie? Is I was the guy that went into the experience thinking that I'm the black man who knows everything about slavery. I've seen all the movies. Enough. I even watched Mandingo with ex-boxer Ken Norton, OK? Enough.

I go watch this movie and this man changed my life with the film. We know what the slavery experience is like in America through film but to see the loss of freedom by a black man coming, and having it, and losing it that is a whole different indignant experience.

MORGAN: That was the powerful thing for me was that it started and I'm not going to ruin the plot who doesn't seen the movie should see this movie.

As I said it, to me it's done for -- the slavery issue, what Schindler's List did, I thought educating people about what happened to the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazi's and I really think we should see this. But it was the fact that the lead character starts off pretty prosperous, enjoying a free, for the one of the better phrase, white man's lies.

HALL: And then our director ...

MORGAN: And then it's all taken away.

HALL: Yes. And the way he does ...

MORGAN: With the color of his skin.

HALL: ... that transition he makes, the black man is in wonderful attire sipping red wine with white guests, and in a moment there's a smash cut and the room is dark, and we hear a faint chain noise and we realize he is laying in a dungeon in his shirt, and in that moment his life is changed for the next 12 years.

MORGAN: Because the perception that the viewer has given when you go and watch it is that he's not supposed to be allowed to be having that life.

HALL: Right.

MORGAN: It's wrong. He's a man in a black skin leading a white man's life. And that's what's so powerful because you then see the degradation of all those years of slavery and then of course and uplifting him which I won't ruin but -- it's so powerful.

HALL: And by the way, here's what's really hard for black people to get their head around. As far as our heroes, now we have Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, and Brad Pitt that changed my life in another way.

MORGAN: Well, I love that for in saying that I never heard of Brad Pitt otherwise a perfect case ...

HALL: Yeah, with ...

MORGAN: Because he definitely would have heard of Barack Obama.

HALL: Brad Pitt is my new favorite civil rights leader.

MORGAN: Let's turn to the late night wars. That's turning upheaval going on, Jay Leno leaving the stage pretty reluctantly I think and I think pretty sad that he's doing it.

HALL: Less reluctant this time.

MORGAN: Than last time.

HALL: Yeah. A conversation ...

MORGAN: Does this feel right to you? That he's going?

HALL: It doesn't feel right but that's because he's my friend. Now, we know in the word "show business", the word "business" is larger than the word "show", right?

If I owned NBC, I might do this. There's a changing demography going on even though you're number one at the Tonight Show, your audience maybe older, maybe you are embracing social media. The world is changing while we're watching it.

The sad thing is Jimmy Fallon's a good kid and Jay doesn't begrudge him, none of us do because it would be someone that would get the job ...

MORGAN: Jimmy's hugely talented, the interesting I always find about Jay Leno is that my personal experience of him, I've said this many times on his show. I did his show eight or nine times. I took my kids a few times and so on. Incredibly, charming, nice, friendly, seemingly normal guy and yet inspires so much jealousy and bitchery from so many comedians, why? Is it just because he was number one for so long?

HALL: Yeah, I mean he's ...

MORGAN: Is it that?

HALL: He's been number one, for what, 20 years? Think about it. His name is Bobby and he's on FX and no one knows him, there's not as much hatred, you know. The number one guy, I mean right now if you're a basketball fan you're arguing about whether the statistics for Kevin Durant make him the best ballplayer in the world or is it LeBron who has won championships but doesn't have those statistics?

We always are looking to the top to complain and there are a lot of personal problems in history with different guys who do standup comedy.

MORGAN: Who's being the best?

HALL: Well, Johnny Carson is the best.

MORGAN: Is there anyone ever beat Carson? Can anyone ever beat the Carson grip on the American audience or simply because he was the only one really for a long period doing it?

HALL: You know, he kind of taught my generation how to do it and as I said that, I started thinking Steve Allen was brilliant. Some of the things you see David Letterman do were inspired by Steve Allen and David will tell you that. There'd been a lot of great ones.

Jay is this guy that held that number one position and we got to give him props but at the same time it's very complicated to say, "Well, they fired the number one guy." But that shows you how complicated business is.

MORGAN: And if you break -- we're getting a break. If you're going to put money on which Jimmy to win the new war who would be the winner?

HALL: Wow. I don't want to be in that position where -- but Jimmy Fallon is enormously talented and I have to put money on him but more importantly I got to put money on the Lorne Michaels machine ...


HALL: ... I got to put money on what I see as incredible intellect behind the launch of a new show and an artist and it's been going on a while, it's been ...


HALL: ... staged perfectly.

MORGAN: Yeah. OK. Let's take a short break. When we come back, let's talk about some of the new stories today including the sad death of a comedic legend Sid Caesar today who sadly died, coming on the back of Shirley Temple. It's been a sad week to losing great legends. Let me talk to you about that and also some other issues including Jerry Seinfeld's take on how politically correct comedian should when they cast their own shows.



JERRY SEINFELD, ACTOR, COMEDIAN: People think it's the census or something, I mean this got to represent the actual pie chart of America. Who cares? It's just funny, you know, funny is the world that I live in. If you're funny, I'm interested. If you're not funny, I'm not interested. And I have no interest in agenda or race or anything like that but everyone else is kind of with their calculating, "Is this the exact right mix?" you know. I think that's -- to me it's anti-comedy.


MORGAN: Jerry Seinfeld of course talking about political correctness in comedy. I want to know what Arsenio Hall think of all that.

So Arsenio, it was an interesting debate he sparked. I mean I wonder whether with hindsight you would have phrase it exactly the same way again. But I got the point that he was making.

At what point, if you're in comedy, do you allow political correctness to determine decision making? Or what people see with political correctness.

HALL: Yeah, you know, we're barking up the wrong tree on this one. Just because I know Jerry and if there was something there, I would be honest with you and I would call it. But, this guy's about the joke.

MORGAN: Right.

HALL: He's about the punch line.

MORGAN: That's what I think.

HALL: Yeah. And that's the bottom line with him. Now, the other issue is unfair also because he can be about the joke in the punch line. The other issue is unfair because, Jerry Seinfeld got more Black friends than I do. You know, do you hear what I'm saying? I mean -- here's something very real. Jerry Seinfeld's kids godfather is comedian George Wallace.

You know, now probably I'm, you know -- and I'm not one of Jerry's guys, you know. I'm not a New York comic or anything, but I think this muddies the water of real battles about real racism in show business and...

MORGAN: Well, what do you think of the whole debate? It's been raging most of the year about -- and last year, about the end world "N"word and about whether it should ever be used by Black or White or anyone, because just by putting it out there in public usage, whatever the justification, it keeps it on going.

HALL: Yeah.

MORGAN: And it's inherently offensive.

HALL: It is. There's a famous situation at CNN where Don Lennon chose to use...

MORGAN: Right.

HALL: ... the word instead of the "N" word. I find it interesting. You and I were talking about Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, the legacy of late night. There is a clip and you should pull it one night. It's Richard Pryor and Johnny Carson talking. And Johnny doesn't use "N" word. Johnny says "ninja" -- the other one.

And he's talking to Richard Pryor about the word and they're having a very intelligent conversation between two legend humors and he's saying, "Do Black people get upset when you use that word? You use it a lot." He was talking about it.

Now, we're in 2014 and we can't say it. Careers are being ruined.

MORGAN: Do you say it on air on your show?

HALL: I call you that when we're off the air. No. I think it's such a cool word we shouldn't waste it on Black people. I think sometimes you are -- I mean they...

MORGAN: Should Black people stop using it? Should rapper stop using it? Should it just be decommissioned as a word if you take the assumption which is the correct one that is inherently offensive?

HALL: As a comedian...

MORGAN: Or should every Black person in America...

HALL: No matter what...

MORGAN: ... be carefully entitled to carrying...

HALL: No matter how it feels, Piers, as a comedian, I have to say, leave the word alone. I have to fight for people to be able to use the language and words the way they want. America, that's what we're all about. So, even if it makes me cringe, I got to fight for your right to say it because later I might lead you to fight for my right and I want to be judged on the same rules.

MORGAN: Just to switch keys a little bit to this guy Michael Sam. He's the NFL, want to be, big fantastic footballer. He's a college superstar likely to be heading to drop. But, a big reaction to this coming out and I think...

HALL: His father's reaction broke my heart.

MORGAN: ... was fantastic, right? HALL: Well, it's just...

MORGAN: Or didn't he...

HALL: ... it cannot...

MORGAN: ... and he was welcoming the father, right?

HALL: Well, I don't think so.


HALL: I think the father had a hard time with it. And...

MORGAN: And I thought in the end he had -- he'd come run to it. I mean I understand that as a parent. I don't know how you would feel, right?

HALL: Yeah. And I think he got blind sided by -- I had Michael Urban -- the great Dallas Cowboy, number 88 on my show the other night. And he said something brilliant. He said that when this young man went to his team, a college team, he's team not only kept it a secret, but they were cool with him. And they went on to have a great season. They actually had a better season after they talked about it. And he was able to be himself.

MORGAN: And let me (inaudible), I mean, let's...

HALL: No, no. But this is such a good point. It's such a good point. Those are college kids. On the pro level, adults, grown folks, we aren't as intelligent about this man's right as a...

MORGAN: What's that supposed to make to is that, you know, and I wouldn't give a damn if we had a kid who was gay, right? I don't give a damn...

HALL: I still got 11.

MORGAN: Right. I wouldn't even cross my mind to had even have a problem wit it. But these NFL guys briefing, you know, newspapers this week, "This was going to be a major problem. They couldn't face the prospect of having a shower wit him." As if they never had a shower with a gay guy before. How do they know?

HALL: By the way, there's a GN who anonymously said this guy won't get dropped. He didn't want his name use but we know that's out there.

MORGAN: It's -- I mean Boy George in an interview said it this way. He said, "It's -- people shouldn't feel compelled to come out. There's a match now to do this. But as a gay man who've been to that, you really got to be comfortable yourself about doing it. You shouldn't be forced to do it."

HALL: And Boy George also said, "Karma, karma, karma, karma, chameleon. Come and go." MORGAN: I didn't know you couldn't sing.

HALL: I go for the punch line. I leave the singing.

MORGAN: Let's take another break. Let's come back. I want to talk to you about your surprising connection to one of our America's Olympic athletes.

HALL: Karma, karma, karma, karma, chameleon.

MORGAN: Does he know you had a connection to one of Olympics -- America's Olympics athletes?

HALL: Jason Brown -- Chicago's Jason Brown.



HALL: You extended (ph) and then you have to go wait?

JASON BROWN, AMERICAN OLYMPIC FIGURE SKATER: Yeah, for sure. You know, they can -- there is a criteria that goes into and it's not just the top two that make it. So, you have to wait for the text to come through and...

HALL: A text?

BROWN: Yeah. You got a text. You got a text.

HALL: Oh, my gosh. So you're sitting with your phone?

BROWN: Yeah. That's exactly...

HALL: That's it.

BROWN: ... as if...

HALL: That is so cool.


MORGAN: Arsenio Hall with the American Olympic figure skater Jason Brown. How did you know this guy? You're old friends through his mother, right? Is that right?

HALL: Yes. His mom Marla Kell Brown was my partner in the creator of the initial or the original Arsenio Hall Show. And I used to baby-sit for him and talk to him during morning meetings. And he has a sister and another brother. They live in Womack, Illinois or a suburb of Illinois. And he will come back with the bronze medal for the team. And he's a young man so he'll probably go again one day.

MORGAN: Here's my problem with the Winter Olympics...

HALL: And by the way, he didn't get gold but if he put some at the tap water in a bottle, I think it's gold. It's gold to me. You bring that back.

MORGAN: How can you help me because I find almost all of the sports in the Winter Olympics really boring to watch? Is it just me? Do you sit there as a sports fan really enjoying it?

HALL: No. I watch highlights and I watch the opening ceremony and I adore the sweaters.

MORGAN: Yeah. But you see the sweaters looked catastrophic actually...

HALL: Yes. But we...

MORGAN: ... the American ones probably that's why I'm probably less than psychedelic splurge (ph). And the other thing of it was this ridiculous tradition of the possession of the teams walking in. Nobody can enjoy that. It goes on, and on, and on like decades.

HALL: Yes. And they...

MORGAN: Why can't they all just come out together?

HALL: This is when you know you're not enjoying it when you start looking for the countries like with two guys and you laugh, "What he got was a bow and arrow."

MORGAN: Maybe that is the only pleasure to be gay. You've been mocking people, isn't it?

HALL: Yes. Yes. That's what -- and that's now what they wanted.


HALL: That's not what they planned.

MORGAN: It's not what they planned.

HALL: No, it's like we should be watching and enjoying like in the summer. We're not doing that.

MORGAN: No. Exactly. I like the Summer Olympics. I just can't get into the Winter. Well, I know that people will blow up on Twitter now that they got (ph) me but I can't help the way I am.

HALL: So maybe we should go back and walk a little bit. Want to go skating later?

MORGAN: Let's talk about Black history month. Do we need to still need to have Black history month in America?

HALL: Well, didn't Morgan Freeman make a statement about this?

MORGAN: Yeah. He did.

HALL: He doesn't necessarily like the Black history month syndrome. MORGAN: He doesn't like the point of actually having to have a moment to remind people. He thinks that it should be ongoing, continuous evolution away from all the old bigotries, labor and so on.

HALL: I love Mr. Morgan Freeman, you know that.


HALL: I've told you that many times. So you'd call yourself nice and say, "I love Mr. Morgan Freeman." But I don't agree with that because Black people in America are working from a deficit. So at some point, you have to do something to equal the plane field. And we call attention to it.

You don't have to do that forever but it has a unique problem. So we have to do that. And guys like Stevie Wonder who fought so hard to make that a holiday, he's not a moron. You got to do that. You create awareness. And hopefully, your goal is one day as a nation, as a country, it's not a month but it's an overall awareness that lasts 12 months. That's what you're trying to do for the future.

MORGAN: And Clarence Thomas, the second Black justice to serve in the Supreme Court with me tells students in university...

HALL: He said...

MORGAN: Google it. He said society is oversensitive about racism. Here's what he actually said, "My sadness is that we are probably today more race and difference-conscious than I was in the 60's when I went to school. To my knowledge, I was the first kid in Savannah, Georgia to go to a white school. Rarely did the issue of race come up."

That's an interesting thing to say. Is he right?

HALL: Well...

MORGAN: Well, I often ask people in the show, "Is America in a way more racist now that it was back in the 60's?" It may sound a strange question...

HALL: Yeah.

MORGAN: ... but has it drawn out more racism having the first black American president for example?

HALL: That's possible. I think sometimes the first black president draws things out. Having the 24-hour news network, maybe three of them that watch everybody all the time make sure that things get exposed.

But here's what I like to do with a guy like that. I don't want to be unfair to his truth. My neighborhood and his neighborhood might be different. That might be his truth but that's not every black man's truth.

MORGAN: When you walk around in America now, do you yourself experience any over racism because people know who you are?

HALL: I, you know, I don't experience racism. As a matter of fact, I go from the tunnel in my bedroom straight to the show. I don't even talk to people black or white, Piers. You know, karma, karma, karma -- I think like -- so I'm kind of reclusive. But, as a kid on the streets of Cleveland, I think people roll down their window and scream the "N" word, roll their window back up. Didn't see Michael Richards but it was someone.

MORGAN: It's a happy day to you today. Well, maybe it's not a happy day because your one year older than you were yesterday. We've got you a little cake. Carry on. No expect expense. Two candles, three candles.

HALL: No. You know, what, and it's not the expense, it's the thought but how did you think about this. I thought it was last day of booking because Wesley Snipes wasn't available, you know. This is so cool.

MORGAN: No. But you've raised a great point. Did you follow what happened to Samuel L. Jackson?

HALL: Yeah.

MORGAN: What did you make of it? And I felt sorry...

HALL: And what a wonderful transition that I say Wesley and you say Samuel...

MORGAN: Yes. Well, I make it for tonight's cake.

HALL: You mix the black guy and I thought of this other one not him.

MORGAN: I'm sorry. You look a bit like Wesley Snipes. And that's why you said it right?

HALL: I know. I know. That's what the joke is. Sam Rubin -- wow -- he's such a nice man. I felt so bad really he had a tough week. But that happens. You know, that happens.

MORGAN: I like Sam Rubin.

HALL: I'm sure people have come walked up to you and said, Boehner? I mean, yes -- no, no, no. I mean in the summer, you know, when you had your tan and all.

MORGAN: I get mistaken of a Brad Pitt and I need to ask I'm glad we met.

HALL: But you know what...

MORGAN: It shouldn't happen...

HALL: Black people love Brad Pitt. Brad Pitt would love in some Brad Pitt. MORGAN: Arsenio Hall, it's brilliant to talk to you. Loving you back on the airways. It's been a whole show at week nights on Fox. It's terrifically honest (ph), it's great fun. It's great to see you again.

HALL: Thank you, sir. American custom. American custom.

MORGAN: Well, now, what was your wish?

HALL: Late night, baby.

MORGAN: Coming up, he's a pop star, he's royalty, he's an Olympic skier from Mexico but he's Mexico's only entrance in the Winter Olympics. Most interesting man in the world comes next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wants parallel part to train. His $0.2 is worth $37 in change. It has never been his bad. He is the most interesting man in the world.


MORGAN: The most interesting man in the world is something on my next guest. The low Mexican competitor at Sochi, Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe is going for gold in the slalom. He's not just preparing for his sixth Olympics at 55 years old, his also a renowned photographer to palindromic Andy Warhol, an international pop star, and heir to awesome bill (ph) fortune, a German prince and the descendant of the lost Holy Roman Emperor. And Prince Hubertus joins me now live in Sochi.

Your Royal Highness, I guess, I call you, what an extraordinary character you are. Everyone is fascinated by you. What are you proudest of all your accomplishments?

PRINCE HUBERTUS VON HOHENLOHE: I know. I mean, it's been embarrassing to be like what you called me just now. I just think the great thing is that I managed to sort of live different parallel lives (ph) and just fulfill my dreams and it looks sometimes easy but it was also kind of hard work to get there actually.

MORGAN: And you've got your big competition I think on Friday. Mexico has never won a Winter Olympic gold medal, are you confident?

HOHENLOHE: No, I'm not confident to win a Winter Olympic gold medal, I'm confident to maybe, you know, make my country proud of me. I'll have some pride because we've had a lot of negative for our press about other things. So, this is a great way of kind of promoting Mexico in other way and giving just a good vibe for the country which is what it really needs sometimes.

MORGAN: And that is the true Olympics spirit. Certainly, you made your Olympic debut in the 1984 games in Sarajevo. You are 55. You look very well now, I have to say, but you will become the second oldest competitor in Winter Olympics history off to a Swedish curler who was 58 and took part in the 1925 games in Germany. So, you're the oldest guy to compete in this Olympics merely a hundred years. How do you feel about that?

HOHENLOHE: You have to brought this in, didn't you? It's actually not something I wanted to be proud of. I didn't, you know, I didn't want to be famous of being the oldest in something. But, everybody's asking me if I'm going to do like the next ones, so I'm the oldest and definitely just because of that I won't want to do it because that's not a record I want to have. But I'm proud that it's not in curling but in Alpine Skiing which is like something a bit more, I don't know, more glamorous and more cool than curling. Although I must say, probably curling would be a little safer.

MORGAN: Now, all the talk in America here is about poor old Bob Costas' blood-red eyes. Have you've seen Bob? Have you pick some of this everyone talking about his eyes?

HOHENLOHE: Yes. No, I've been aware that something happened but I didn't know what exactly it was. I think that, you know, there's some sort of issues also in our Olympic village on how, you know, the areas in all this because we all have like a little -- some infections and stuff. But in overall, it's much, much better than it's been told. The story has been told over in the U.S. and I think that what the Russians didn't get right is the PR. You know, they need to hire me for a PR sort of person because -- and they got all the construction right and it looks amazing, but they haven't got the message outright and they did just a couple of mistakes.

MORGAN: Well, you're certainly -- you're magnificent ambassador for Mexico. You're -- that means you're the only member of the Mexican Winter Olympic team and you'd even design your own clothing that you're wearing there and you speak five languages. I'm just being told as well. There really is no (ph) into your talent, is there Prince Hubertus?

HOHENLOHE: No, I mean, it's a strange story but it kind of develops like that. And you know, you just got to make the best out of it. And what is funny is that, you know, at the first Olympic games, the Mexican look at me really bad because they came up to me when they made an interview and they asked me in English "So how was your run?" and I said, [Foreign Language] and they were like shocked. "This guy speaks Spanish." So from there on, the legacy started that they started to like me. But it took 30 years in a cool suit that they love me.

MORGAN: Well, everyone loves you Prince because (inaudible)...

HOHENLOHE: I actually have it here for you.

MORGAN: Oh, you do?

HOHENLOHE: I do, I do. I have it, I have it. But I don't -- I didn't wear it because it's so cold and it's so early in the morning here. MORGAN: Well, look, I just want to wish you all the very best. And they say you're skiing on Valentine's Day in the men's super confined slalom at 11 AM and 3:30 PM in Sochi time. I wish you all the very best Prince Hubertus. You've poured a great warrior (ph) of glamour and color to the Olympics and we wish you all the very best particularly with your lovely jacket there.

HOHENLOHE: I put it in front. I couldn't put it on because it's so cold.

MORGAN: I think you've successfully got the message over about the branding with your clothing way. You can relax. Great to talk to you and best of luck on Friday.

HOHENLOHE: Thank you Piers, thank you.

MORGAN: Thank you. And we'll be right back.


MORGAN: Tomorrow night, I'll sit down with best actor nominee Matthew McConaughey, also star of Dallas Buyers Club, what he thinks is the defining moment of his life.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Well, what happens to a man after they lose their father? Incredible things happen to a man after they lose their father.

MORGAN: What impact do that have on you?

MCCONAUGHEY: Courage, integrity, you know, anybody who was abandoned, I mean, to you as a father is the best domain crutch (ph) in a man's life and stay for a reason because you know if that ever comes down to it, you got your own father who lean up against...

MORGAN: So what did you thought what your father made of you being Oscar nominee?

MCCONAUGHEY: Oh, he loved it. He'd be hamming it up right now. He would be hamming it up. He would love it. Absolutely.


MORGAN: Oscar nominee and my vote for right now probably found the best actor in the world. Matthew McConaughey, us tomorrow night.

And that's all for us tonight. Anderson Cooper starts right now.