Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Hart And More Share Awesome Behind-The-Scenes Pics From Live Diff'rent Strokes And Facts Of Life Special

Damon Wayans and Kevin Hart on ABC's Live in Front of a Studio Audience
(Image credit: ABC)

After a two-year absence, ABC’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience returned this week, giving audiences another burst of nostalgia with recreations of classic sitcom episodes. Things were a little different this time around, as the Jimmy Kimmel-produced program didn’t tackle shows actually written by the great Norman Lear. Instead, it opted for shows produced under his former production, namely DIff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life. To fill the series’ iconic roles, an all-star cast was recruited, which featured Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Hart, Kathryn Hahn and many more. The stars seemed to have had a blast, and a number of them have since taken to social media to share some sweet behind-the-scenes photos. 

Jennifer Aniston may be known to most TV watchers as Friends’ Rachel Green but, after last night, it’s going to be hard to shake her portrayal of the snooty, but well-meaning, Blair Warner. The Emmy-winning actress certainly did the Facts of Life role justice, and she seemed to have a great time working with her colleagues. Yesterday evening, she posted a series of photos to Instagram, which showed her hanging out with the stars and getting ready behind the scenes. Check out the sweet photo below: 

The Morning Show actress had a massive job ahead of her, but Kevin Hart arguably had to fill the tallest challenge of any of the stars -- which was ironically playing the shortest character. Hart put his own spin on Gary Coleman’s Arnold Jackson in the Diff’rent Strokes recreation. The comedic actor ultimately managed to channel the humorously precocious child. Hart marked his performance with a social media post of his own, which featured a still of him in character, along with a thankful caption:

And playing the Willis to his Arnold was comedy veteran Damon Wayans, who donned an afro wig to play the part of the teenager. The hairpiece was, both figuratively and literally, a large part of his performance, and one that played well, overall. Wayans seemed to enjoy this part of his costume and, before the show, he revealed, via Instagram, he used it to indicate that he was about to take to the stage. Check out the post for yourself:

The cast may have been excited, but no one seemed more pleased than producer Jimmy Kimmel. During the specials, he and Norman Lear seemed just as eager to see the episodes as the audience. After the show, Kimmel took to social media to share a sweet behind-the-scenes photo of all the stars together. He also included a caption in which he thanked everyone involved in the endeavor:

As Jimmy Kimmel has said before, his childhood love of these classic sitcoms is what fueled his desire to do these specials. They’re definitely different from what some may remember but, as a whole, the performances are able to capture the essence of the original shows. Now, I’m wondering what series might be used for the next instalment of Live. Personally, I’d love to see the producers take a shot at Sanford and Son and possibly cast Tracy Morgan in the role of the cantankerous Fred Sanford. We’ll just have to wait and see. 

Those who weren’t able to see last night’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience can stream it, along with past episodes, on Hulu.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.