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‘My Goal Was to Let Him Look Bad’: Alfonso Ribeiro Reveals He Got the Last Laugh on ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-air’ When He Refused to Teach Will Smith This

There is no denying that Will Smith was the star of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” but his comedic partner Alfonso Ribeiro recently revealed the show’s frontman wasn’t always the one who got the last laugh.

Ribeiro, who played Smith’s cousin Carlton, shared with Yahoo! Entertainment that to this day he enjoys knowing that Smith is unable to do his signature 1990’s Carlton dance. Twenty-five years ago when the show’s final episode aired, Will said to Carlton, “You got to do it, one last time for me, man,” as he pressed play to Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual.” Together, they did the Carlton dance, with Smith trying his best and Ribeiro effortlessly executing his signature moves.

Will Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro attends the premiere of Disney’s “Aladdin” at El Capitan Theatre on May 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

“My goal was to let him look bad,” said the “America’s Funniest Home Videos” host. And ensuring that Smith did not out dance him was easy to achieve, considering Ribeiro opted to not give his castmate any pointers before the scene.

“If he had perfected it, it might have been The Will, and we couldn’t have that!” he jokingly added. In 2020, the entire cast of the hit show reunited, including the original Aunt Viv, Janet Hubert and with the exception of James Avery, who played Uncle Phil. Avery passed away in 2013.

During the cast’s trip down memory lane, Smith revealed that to this day he has yet to master the moves that made audiences erupt into laughter. “I never, ever could do the Carlton dance,” Smith said during the reunion special. “For whatever reason, I can’t find the…there’s an opposite thing that he does, and I can’t — I just never — I never was able to get it.”

The comedic duo did, however, share an iconic dance to “Jump On It.” But that’s not all Smith and Ribeiro shared. The on-screen chemistry they shared was, and still is, very much alive in their real lives.

“He has always been a beacon for me,” explained Ribeiro during a Feb. 13, 2020, appearance on “Sway in the Morning.” A month prior to Ribeiro’s interview, Smith and his “Bad Boys” film costar Martin Lawrence appeared on the show.

The 52-year-old said his castmate turned life-long friend has been by his side throughout several phases of growth in his life.

“As soon as I made the shift in my mind from trying to be big, from trying to have money, trying to be popular, to making sure that I improved lives every step of the way on this Earth, then all of a sudden I started experiencing healing, and Alfonso was one of those people that was right there with me making that transition,” said Smith. 

Riberio has been sharing many behind-the-scenes details about his character and “The Fresh Prince.” During his appearance on “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” he opened up about a memorable scene where Carlton and Will were pulled over by police.

While his character Carlton was oblivious at first, by the end of the episode, he learned an unfortunate truth about society, which is something that Black people are still experiencing today.

“The idea that Carlton was just like, ‘He pulled us over because we were speeding. It’s not because we were Black. He treated us this way because he understood right and wrong.’ That’s all he knew,” he said. “And so you could touch on these subjects without really being preachy and really say, ‘This is how it is.’”

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