Fresh Prince Star Alfonso Ribeiro Opens Up About Constantly Getting Asked To Do The Carlton Dance By Strangers

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is one of the most beloved comedies of the 90s, and still today, people are watching and identifying with it. With a successful reboot on Peacock, the Will Smith-led series will likely not be going away any time soon. And something from the series that will never go away is the fan-favorite Carlton dance, much to Alfonso Ribeiro's chagrin. Now the actor is opening up about getting asked to do it by fans nearly 26 years after the show ended.

Alfonso Ribeiro portrayed Carlton Banks during Fresh Prince’s six-season run. Having done the popular dance numerous times throughout the show’s run, Ribeiro admitted on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that he’s not nearly as fond of the dance as fans are, and if you ask him to do the dance while out in public, you may not like his answer:

I won’t say kill, but I don’t have a love for it like they do. You know, I mean, I typically get asked to do the dance pretty much every day of my life if I go outside. Yeah, if I go anywhere, I just randomly hear people, ‘Do the dance!’ You’re like, ’I’m not dancing for you. I’m a Black guy that’s not dancing for you. That’s not gonna happen.

It makes sense that Alfonso Ribeiro feels that way when fans ask him to do the Carlton. He is not his Fresh Prince character, and he's under zero obligation to put on a show for strangers. He has occasionally skillfully performed the Carlton dance for Dancing with the Stars or in other contexts, but I totally get him not wanting to constantly do it for random strangers on the street.

Not only does Ribeiro not want to do the dance most of the time, but he also mentioned wanting to know what is going through someone’s mind when they ask for the favor. The actor admitted that it’s “weird” that people or OK with asking a random person to “dance” for them:

The weird part for me is trying to understand what’s happening in their head. What makes you think that you’re gonna ask a random person to dance for you and they’re gonna be like, ‘Oh my god, I’ve been waiting for you to ask. Hold on a second, let me get into character.’ I don’t get it.

Even with all this in mind, this doesn’t mean that Alfonso Ribeiro is anti-talking about his Fresh Prince roots. Last year, he discussed doing the dance for the first time and how he added elements to it during the show’s run, saying the “dance was the dance” from the very beginning. While Ribeiro may not appreciate the Carlton as much as he used to, at least he knows how many people still do.

Meanwhile, fans are not the only ones who love the Carlton. In 2021, Ribeiro admitted to wanting to make Will Smith look bad. He refused to teach his co-star the dance simply because he didn’t want him to perfect his signature dance. It makes sense the actor didn't want to be overshadowed by something, or someone, else. The actor may not want to do the dance on command, but it's still his thing.

Fans should probably stop asking to see Alfonso Ribeiro do the Carlton IRL, but they can still watch him as Carlton Banks on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. There are plenty of Carlton-centric episodes of the NBC sitcom that will get you in the mood that are available to stream on HBO Max with a subscription.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is streaming on HBO Max in full if you ever want to rewatch the rest of the series while you're at it.

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.