"One great thing about being old and rich is you can do what you want to do!"
That's Arsenio Hall telling "TMZ Live" why money is making him an even BETTER comic -- because he can do all the risky material he wants without the fear of getting choked out financially.
Long story short ... Hall says he spent years playing it safe because if he pushed the envelope and rubbed people the wrong way, he'd jeopardize his cash flow ... and when you're poor, EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS!!!
But, now that he's rich .... like super rich ... Hall ain't worried anymore -- saying he can say how he truly feels, no matter who he offends, because he can afford to take a hit!
"Comics are supposed to push the envelope and stretch that edge as far as you can," Hall says ... "That’s what creates great comedy. The great ones like Richard Pryor didn’t allow censors and critics stop him from doing what was in his heart."
Hall -- who's got a brand new Netflix special -- admits he needed to conform back in the day when he needed to buy a house and pay for school for his kids ... but he's paper'd up now.
"I’m kind of free!"
By the way, Hall also gave some inside info on the new "Coming to America" sequel -- and even throws out a spoiler to Nicole Murphy, whose daughter is in the flick!!