19 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About “Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” You Probably Didn’t Know Until Reading This Post

19 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About “Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” You Probably Didn’t Know Until Reading This Post

    19 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About “Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” You Probably Didn’t Know Until Reading This Post

    Did you know they shot Jazz being thrown out of the Banks’ house in 150 takes?

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    In honor of ‘s 30th anniversary, the original cast sat down together and filmed a truly incredible reunion. Here are some of the wildest and most heartfelt things we learned from the special.

    Daphne Maxwell Reid, Alfonso Ribeiro, Will Smith, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Tatyana Ali, and DJ Jazzy Jeff sitting in a replicated living room from "The Fresh Prince"

    HBO Max


    The main focus of Fresh Prince was originally the chaotic dynamic between Will and Uncle Phil. But, once they noticed the chemistry between Will and Carlton, their friendship became an important element to the show.

    Will Smith explaining the chemistry between him and Alfonso Ribeiro while showing a clip of Will and Carlton doing a funny dance on stage

    HBO Max


    Will Smith auditioned for Fresh Prince at Quincy Jones’ birthday party with only 10 minutes notice. Everything went so well, they created the deal memo that night.

    Will Smith and Quincy Jones sitting on the couch on the set of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"

    Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images


    At the first table read of the pilot episode, Will Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro wouldn’t stop chasing each other around the table.

    Will Smith, Karyn Parsons, and Alfonso Ribeiro sitting at a table read during one of the earlier seasons

    HBO Max / ET


    Will Smith was notorious for mouthing everyone else’s lines while filming, especially during Season 1.

    Tap to play or pause GIF Tap to play or pause GIF

    HBO Max


    Alfonso Ribeiro completely improvised the scene at the end of “Will’s Misery” in Season 5 where he ran around the entire set.

    HBO Max


    One of the longest audience laughs the Fresh Prince ever received was when Trevor proposed to Hilary while bungee jumping on TV and crashed to his death.

    The Banks family watching Trevor proposing to Hilary on TV, and completely stunned when they realized he died

    HBO Max


    Tatyana Ali had her first kiss on the show, and before filming it, Will Smith, Alfonso Ribeiro, and Karyn Parsons were smiling and teasing her behind the camera.

    Ashley Banks having her first kiss on the couch in the living room

    HBO Max


    Daphne Maxwell Reid skipped her original audition for Aunt Viv in 1990 when she learned the show starred a rapper.

    HBO Max


    They shot Jazz being thrown out of the Banks’ house in 150 takes in one day.

    DJ Jazzy Jeff describing being thrown out of The Banks' house in 150 takes, and a clip of Jazz being thrown out in one of his classic shirts

    HBO Max


    James Avery had a deep admiration for jazz music, and even had posters of Billie Holiday and Charlie “Bird” Parker displayed in his dressing room.

    James Avery smiling on his dressing room couch while Will admires the Billie Holiday poster hanging in the room

    HBO Max


    He also gave DJ Jazzy Jeff a bunch of jazz CDs, and they spent hours together in Avery’s dressing room listening to music.

    Uncle Phil carrying Jazz on his shoulder, ready to throw him inside the house



    After the Monday read-through, the cast would rehearse their scenes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This was when the actors gave the writers — who were mostly white — notes on Black culture, and what was realistic for a Black person to think, do, and say.

    A shot of "The Fresh Prince" cast reading an episode at the table, and the cast rehearsing during Season 1

    HBO Max


    While filming the heartbreaking scene about Will’s dad, Will Smith was angry because he initially messed up his lines. Will couldn’t stop cursing because he wanted to make James Avery proud, but Avery calmed him down. In the scene when Will and Uncle Phil embrace, Avery whispered in his ear: “Now THAT’s acting.”

    Will asking Uncle Phil why his father doesn't want him, and then they both embrace while crying

    HBO Max


    When Tatyana Ali auditioned for Ashley, Quincy Jones asked her to make up a rap on the spot.

    Ashley Banks rapping a prayer in the pilot episode

    HBO Max


    Every Friday night before taping an episode, everybody from the cast and crew went into Will’s dressing room and had a big dance party.

    Will Smith, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, James Avery, Joseph Marcell, and Tatyana Ali dancing in Will's dressing room

    HBO Max


    The cast also used to entertain the audience by playing a bunch of random instruments, rapping, and dancing.

    Karyn Parsons playing the tambourine, Alfonso Ribeiro singing and dancing, and James Avery and Will Smith banging on one of the set walls

    HBO Max


    Fresh Prince fans love Aunt Viv’s dance from “The Big Four-Oh” so much that they send different TikTok versions of it to Janet Hubert on a consistent basis.

    Aunt Viv happily dancing in class in the "The Big Four-Oh" episode

    HBO Max


    Michael Jordan would always send the Fresh Prince cast the latest Air Jordan sneakers six weeks before they were released to the public.

    Michael Jordan holding the 1997 NBA Finals trophy; Will Smith in a promo shoot for "The Fresh Prince" reading a book while wearing Air Jordans

    Jeff Haynes / NBC / NBCUniversal / Getty Images


    And Alfonso Ribeiro completely made up “The Carlton” dance in the Season 2 Christmas episode. Ribeiro said: “All it said in the script was ‘Carlton dances,’ and I needed to figure out how this character would dance. What would be the actual move that hit it perfect?”

    An image of a "Fresh Prince" script, titled "Deck the Halls" and Carlton doing "The Carlton" dance for the first time in a Christmas sweater.

    HBO Max / NBC

    TV and Movies

    Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.