While Will Smith was the star of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, his musical partner, DJ Jazzy Jeff, was an integral part of the classic sitcom. Playing Smith’s streetwise silly best friend Jazz was the right move, as seen in the Oscar winner’s birthday tribute to him. While he only served in a recurring role, the DJ made an indelible mark on viewers. Among Fresh Prince's continuous gags was Jazz frequently being thrown out of the Banks mansion after some inappropriate comment or moment. But the recurring moment was more painful than devoted fans could’ve imagined, and Jazzy Jeff explained that it's the reason why the character’s shirt didn’t change whenever he got thrown out.
The hip-hop legend opened up about the painful truth behind the beloved running gag to The Breakfast Club. While viewers loved those moments, the Fresh Prince vet recounted how the airborne exit required 50 tries to get a good take. After a while, Jazzy Jeff protested the stunt. He revealed why Jazz kept wearing the same shirt after a few episodes, saying:
At least he gave it a good college try before putting a stop to the madness. Jazzy Jeff recalling his body being “black and blue” proved how committed he was to the part. Any performer would’ve asked for a stunt person to do the task rather than putting their body on the line. Most upcoming actors would’ve kept their mouths shut and kept doing the stunts, but Jazzy Jeff stuck for himself. The DJ learned his lesson early as the same exit was used over again.
This wasn’t the first time Jazz wearing the same shirt in those iconic exits has come up. His real-life and on-screen best friend Will Smith spilled why Jazz wore the same shirt every time while promoting his revealing autobiography Will. (which also addressed how he was convinced to end The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). Smith explained that the Banks mansion in Fresh Prince was a separate location from the interior, which made shooting the running gag impossible. So the production team decided to have Jazzy Jeff wear the same shirt for every appearance. It allowed the 1990s sitcom to reuse the scene without having to spend extra time and money on replicating the same moment weekly.
Now viewers have DJ Jazzy Jeff’s take on the iconic gag. The legendary rap duo have remained close despite Jazzy Jeff not knowing about Smith's I Am Legend sequel. The legendary DJ gets to recall those moments and more as a host on the official Bel-Air podcast (which revolves around the dramatic Peacock revival). If you want to see his character flying out the door again, you can get an HBO Max subscription to watch every episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
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