The 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' Cast Entertained the Audience Between Takes With Unique Talents, Will Smith Says

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a vehicle for Will Smith to break into acting. The show capitalized on his persona from rap music, but the entire Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast was full of talent. You could see their acting talent on screen, but Smith said everyone had musical talent, too. 

In his new autobiography, Will, Smith writes about filming The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He described how each of his co-stars would entertain the audience in between takes with their own unique talents.

Will Smith says ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ was even more fun off camera

If The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was fun to watch on TV, it was even better in person. Networks invite audience members to tapings of shows for free. The audience gets a free show, and the show gets genuine laughter. Tapings can take hours and it’s not all retakes. There’s a lot of waiting, so Smith made sure The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air stayed fun. Smith described the atmosphere on taping nights. 

“Friday nights on the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air were like being at the hottest club in the city – everybody who was anybody made their way to our tapings,” he wrote. “The top comedians on the mic, the most gorgeous Hollywood starlets, professional athletes, musicians – a who’s who of the flyest of the fly.”

‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ cast were all musical 

Alfonso Ribeiro, who played cousin Carlton, already made his dancing abilities public. He sold break dancing instructional videos on TV and demonstrated his talents on Silver Spoons. Smith said Ribeiro continued doing non-Carlton dances for the audience, but so did the rest of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast. 

James Avery played Uncle Phil. Janet Hubert played Aunt Viv. Josepth Marcell was the butler, Geoffrey. Tatyana Ali played youngest cousin Ashley. Smith did not mention Karyn Parsons singing or dancing.

“And then there was our unique competitive advantage,” he wrote. “Everybody in our cast could sing and dance. So, between scenes, Alfonso would perform Michael Jackson; Joe Marcell would since some obscure, hilarious British show tune; James Avery would demonstrate all the old-school dances; Janet Hubert was an Alvin Alley-trained dancer, and a Juilliard-trained actor and singer; even Tatyana, at eleven years old, was jumpin’ in the game.”

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince would perform, too 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was so named because Smith was The Fresh Prince. DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince had already released three albums when The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air started. Smith said they put on shows for the audience coming to attend tapings of the show, too.

“And then, as if all that wasn’t enough to send the studio audience into hysteria, we dropped our nuke: DJ JAzzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince would perform live every Friday night,” he wrote. “Our between-scene moments were as iconic as anything we ever put on camera.”

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