×
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?”

More TV

  • Point Horror Books

    HBO Max to Develop Anthology Series Based on 'Point Horror' Books (EXCLUSIVE)

    HBO Max is developing a series based on Scholastic’s “Point Horror” books, Variety has learned exclusively. The project hails from Picturestart and Lionsgate Television. The show, which is currently titled “Point Fear,” is described as an anthology series that exposes the horrors of being a teenager. Each episode of the show will be inspired by one [...]

  • The Mandalorian

    TV Review: 'The Mandalorian' on Disney Plus

    SPOILER ALERT: This review discusses some spoilers for the first episode of Disney Plus’ “The Mandalorian.” A vicious killer with a tragic past and the faint glimmers of a beating heart is no stranger to television, a medium particularly suited to telling winding stories about rises, falls and redemptions. And yet it’s still something of [...]

  • Roger and Cowan Promotions

    Rogers & Cowan/ PMK Promotes Executives in Entertainment Division

    Rogers & Cowan/PMK has promoted Lindsay Galin, Jeff Raymond, Dennis Dembia, Michael Donkis, and Marian Koltai-Levine to executive positions in its entertainment division. Galin and Raymond have been named co-presidents of talent. Dembia and Donkis have been promoted to co-presidents of entertainment and business strategy, and Koltai-Levine will serve as president of film, content and [...]

  • Laura Dern Actors on Actors

    Laura Dern's Mother, Diane Ladd, Didn't Want Her to Act

    Laura Dern has wanted to act since she was seven years old, and, coming from acting parents including father Bruce Dern and mother Diane Ladd, one may think her parents encouraged the propensity. But according to Dern, that wasn’t the case. “They didn’t want me to,” the “Marriage Story” actress told Sterling K. Brown during [...]

  • DANCING WITH THE STARS - "2019

    TV Ratings: 'Dancing With the Stars' Boosted by Sean Spicer Exit

    Sean Spicer waved goodbye to “Dancing With the Stars” last night, but ABC waved hello to a pretty big bump in the show’s rating and total viewership. Monday night’s episode scored a 1.0 rating and 7.2 million total viewers, up roughly 25% from last week’s 0.8 and 6.2 million. The former White House press secretary’s [...]

  • Studio Lambert Inks Development Deal With

    Studio Lambert Strikes Deal With ‘The Masked Singer’ Showrunner Izzie Pick Ibarra

    Studio Lambert is linking up with Izzie Pick Ibarra, the showrunner and exec producer of Fox’s “The Masked Singer.” The development deal will see All3Media-backed Studio Lambert and Pick Ibarra work together on new projects and others already in the works at Stephen Lambert’s shingle. Having relocated from the U.K. to the U.S. 15 years [...]

  • WGA Strike Labor Talks

    How the Streaming Revolution Is Making Guild Negotiations Even More Complicated

    It may not be a perfect storm yet, but ominous clouds are gathering. As the winter holidays approach, there’s growing agita across the industry about the potential for substantial labor strife next year. The WGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA are gearing up for master film and TV contract negotiations with the major studios at a time [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content