×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Alfonso Ribeiro Explains How the Carlton Dance Was Invented on ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’

Alfonso Ribeiro played Carlton on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” from 1990-96. He recently won season 19 of “Dancing With the Stars.” He currently hosts “Unwrapped 2.0” on the Cooking Channel, and will take over as host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” in the fall. He talked about the Carlton Dance and partying on the set.

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was the first young African-American show that had cross-pollination of the TV world and the hip-hop world, and people wanted to be part of that. This was a show where it was a party. When you came to the tapings, we had a DJ, we had standup comics — we danced and had fun between shooting our scenes. We truly enjoyed being together and hanging out and dancing and singing in Will’s dressing room before starting each taping.

See More: Why Nostalgia Rules the Internet and You Can’t Escape ‘Full House’

The only moment (of going off script) for me was one episode where Will was in a cabin, and he’s supposed to be tied up by this girl and then … he comes back and tells me that he might have killed her, and I go crazy. I told the director, “Listen, just keep a camera on me. I’m going to be crazy.” It ended up at the end of the show, where I got down on my hands and knees and pulled myself across (the stage) and ran up in the audience and came through the elevator doors in the school. It was one of those silly on-set moments that ended up making it to air.

I played a character that was as far from myself as possible. They would have to bring me a CD and some articles for me to read up on what the character liked, because I had never heard of Tom Jones. I didn’t know Barry Manilow. These weren’t people that I grew up with or experienced as a teenager. I grew up in the Bronx; I was a hip-hop kid.

The Carlton Dance was created when it said in the script: “Carlton dances.” It was never even intended to be funny; it was just that he was dancing. The dance is ultimately Courteney Cox in the Bruce Springsteen video “Dancing in the Dark”; that’s the basis. Or in Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious” video, “The White Man Dance” as he called it. And I said, “That is the corniest dance on the planet that I know of, so why don’t I do that?”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Laurence FishburneNational Memorial Day Concert Dress

    Laurence Fishburne to Produce 'Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur' Series for Disney Channel

    Laurence Fishburne is stepping into the animation game. The “Matrix” star is set to executive produce “Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur,” an animated series which has been given the greenlight at Disney Channel. Based on Marvel’s comic book series, the show hails from from Disney Television Animation and follows the adventures of 13-year-old super-genius [...]

  • Aracne

    Chile’s Sanfic, Mexico’s Morbido Fest Pact to Promote Latino Horror (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexican horror festival Morbido and Chile’s Santiago Intl. Film Festival (Sanfic) have agreed on a long-term collaboration intended to strengthen the genre film industry in Chile and across Latin America. This partnership will see Morbido representatives attend the Sanfic industry section each year to aid in the promotion of horror projects and advise those projects [...]

  • 'The Simpsons' Producers Talk Joining Disney,

    'The Simpsons' Producers Talk Joining Disney, Potential Spinoff Series

    “The Simpsons” has never shied away from lampooning Disney over the years, but maybe that’s no longer the case. Homer, Marge and co. are of course now part of the Disney family and made their first appearance at the Mouse House’s D23 Expo convention, where the show’s producers were asked plenty of questions about what [...]

  • 'The Muppets' Short-Form Series Coming to

    'The Muppets' Short-Form Series Coming to Disney Plus

    Kermit, Miss Piggy and co. are coming to Disney Plus. A short-form unscripted series starring the goofy puppets is set to premiere on the forthcoming Disney streaming service in 2020. The news was announced at the Disney Plus D23 Expo event. The announcement came with a brief teaser of Kermit and Joe the Legal Weasel [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content