Arsenio Hall and Clay Aiken entered the Celebrity Apprentice finale on Sunday night as BFFs. But only one would exit a champion. When it was over, a cacophony of woofing resounded across America as dog pounds from coast to coast erupted in chants and cheers upon the naming of Arsenio Hall as the new Celebrity Apprentice. What was his key to victory? What happened with Aubrey O’Day at the finale? How does he feel about now incurring the eternal wrath of angry Claymates? And what are his post-Apprentice plans? We talked with the winner on Monday morning to get the full scoop.
EW: It seems congratulations are in order.
ARSENIO HALL: What an exciting feeling! And I know everybody thinks orgasm trumps everything, but nothing trumps this!
Have you slept at all?
Yeah. You know what, I figured part of my first duty as Celebrity Apprentice was to not go out and get drunk, and wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to show him that he made the right choice. The worst thing I could do would be to wake up in the back of Scores.
Here’s the thing on everyone’s mind this morning: Do you find Lisa Lampanelli attractive?
[laughs] You know what? When you’re in a moment like that, that is the toughest question you could get. But you know, I really do believe what I said. It probably sounds like a bunch of crap, but have you ever known a really, really classically hot chick who is an a–hole and because of that, you don’t find them quite as pretty? Well in the opposite way, there is nothing cooler than a woman whom you respect intellectually, and is more than just eye candy, and I got to work with her. I know people have a lot of problems with her comedic politics, but she is one of the smartest, most fun women to be around. I do think that brains and intellect in a woman is attractive. By the way, that was a tough question with Dayana Mendoza sitting one seat away! But there are many elements of beauty. And by the way, I’m not Denzel Washington my damn self.
We know that the winner of Celebrity Apprentice is determined by more than just the final task. But as far as the final task goes, I’m gonna tell you how I scored the three elements. I thought you had the better ad, I thought Clay had the better party, and the variety show I scored a draw, because for me it really depends on whether you like comedy or music. How would you score those three elements?
Well, I’m pretty much right down the line with you, except I went TV aficionado on him. The one thing that everyone knows who produces television is music never does as well as comedy. If we’re booking tonight, and you tell me I can do two segments with Seinfeld or that new hot record by that new hot person that might not be around next year, for some reason a larger number of people, always appreciate comedy versus music. It’s really hard to garner ratings with music, and so that was always my argument. Music never plays on TV the way that I think each individual fan of a genre of music or group kind of gets.
I thought putting Magic in the ad was a great strategic move, because not only did you have the name and face of the organization talking about it, but you essentially added one of the most famous people in the planet onto your team, which I have to assume you knew would impress Trump.
Yeah. I knew that, and obviously that was my idea. And it sounded like a great idea until we had that legendary Q-tip commercial with Magic looking the wrong way and a close-up on his ear. I was scared to death at that moment.
Did you and Aubrey interact at all at the finale? No. We didn’t interact at all. It was a strange atmosphere, because Lisa Lampanelli, for instance… I’m sure I’m not her favorite person in the world, she competed against me a lot, but the game was over. I hugged Lisa, I shook her hand, I talked to her husband, we laughed. Aubrey came in a whole different way. I stayed away. There were all these bodyguards and it was kind of crazy. I just stayed away and I left it alone.
And she didn’t come over and congratulate you or anything?
Oh, no. As a matter of fact, she hugged Clay standing next to me, and then walked away. I think that was a little personal kind of message to me. But the deal is, we came, we fought, we wanted to win, and the game is over now. And by the way, I’m not a guy who has ever gone after anyone. I won’t attack you, but I will defend myself. One of the things that I did when I came to this town to play this game, Piers Morgan told me to read everything Donald has written so you can have all these quotes in your head. And one of the quotes that I had, after Aubrey had done a lot of things to me, and I even gave the egregious example on The View of things that NBC couldn’t even show you that she did! The legendary black penis collection that she had. And the bottom line is, I had read in one of Trump’s books, how he deals with enemies or people who mistreat him repeatedly. And I won’t quote him, but he shuts you down. He goes after you. He crushes his enemies, and when he asked me in the board room why I approached Aubrey in the way that I did, I said I am sick of a lot of things, I described a lot of those things to him, some of them couldn’t be aired, but the bottom line is, I tried to handle projects and problems the way Donald Trump does. I think I won because — and this is going to sound strange to America — but I think he sees a little bit of himself in me. I am the Nubian Trump without the wallet!
I want to ask you about the finale. You and Clay sang “Lean On Me” together. Now, by performing a song, isn’t that sort of like giving him home court advantage? Was there any talk of us witnessing the comedy stylings of Clay Aiken?
I told him, “If this goes really bad, and you win as a result of it, you’re coming with me to Caroline’s tonight.” When the cameras would go off, me, Dee and Clay would often sing, and that was our music, and one day as the contest got deeper, Clay said, “We should do a duet or something.” And the reason he said it was not even for the show. We thought about doing something and selling it on iTunes to bring more money into our charities after the game was over, and then the idea ended up on the air.
Read the entire post by Dalton Ross on Entertainment Weekly