“America’s Funniest Videos” host Alfonso Ribeiro has a request for film and TV fans that could change the entire career trajectories of actors.
The 49-year-old actor and host is thankful for his time spent as Carlton Banks in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” but feels that because he was such a perfect fit for the role it hindered future opportunities for him to expand his career because all anyone saw him as was Carlton.
Ribeiro compared his “Fresh Prince” role to that of “the greatest home run hitter” being banned from hitting more home runs because he did his job too well.
“I’ve always said that the idea that you can do something so well in your life that no one will allow you to do it again, is very difficult to go through,” Ribeiro told Pop Culture. “Imagine being the greatest home run hitter in the game and never being allowed to go hit home runs because you hit home runs. Doesn’t make sense. But in show business that sometimes is the case. So having to reinvent myself by turning myself into myself, which is weird.”
After his “Fresh Prince” career, Ribeiro did go on to act in more projects, including the sitcom “In The House,” co-starring LL Cool J, as well as lending his voice to a number of shows and video games, in addition to other roles before taking over as host of “AVF.” Something that he feels could have changed his career trajectory and wants fans to know has a real impact on the success and longevity of careers is being able to support the actors they love, beyond the “one, maybe two opportunities” that they become well known for.
“Every actor typically gets one, maybe two opportunities after whatever they’re really known for. Support them in those roles,” he said. “Really, if you’re a fan of somebody on a show, and they do something else, make it a priority to go watch whatever it is they’re doing even though it’s not what you’re used to seeing them do.”
“Be a fan. Support them as a fan. And at the end of the day, it’s always box office,” he explained. “If you go and do something new and it does really well, guess what? You get to keep doing it. If it doesn’t, then they start thinking, ‘Well, really, they just love him for that character.’ So just if you’re a fan of someone, watch everything they do. And that, to me, is probably the only way to break that cycle of like, ‘They’re famous for this. Well, that’s all they can be famous for.'”
Ribeiro previously echoed similar sentiments when he spoke with Atlanta Black Star about how he felt “punished” for his iconic role as Carlton.
“When you do a role like Carlton and people love the role and you do the job so well that they essentially tell you that you can’t do it anymore because we can’t see you as anything else, is a very difficult thing to deal with,” he told us. “It was like, ‘Wait a minute, but I did it well. I did my job. I did what I was asked to do. I made you believe that that’s who I am.’ That’s what any actor is supposed to do. And then I was punished for it. Because then I didn’t get to go do what my craft was. I didn’t get to do it anymore.”
Although he may have felt somewhat constrained throughout his successful career, Ribeiro’s talents haven’t been completely overlooked. He was nominated for Daytime Emmy Awards in 2020 and 2021 for hosting duty on Game Show Network series “Catch 21.”