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The Reason DJ Jazzy Jeff Wore The Same Shirt Every Time He Was Kicked Out On The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air

Sitcoms like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air have traditions that loyal fans can spot from a mile away. One such trademark was the fact that DJ Jazzy Jeff’s character on the show, Jazz, was always getting himself thrown out of the house by Will Smith’s family. Thanks to a keen-eyed fan, we now know a little more about that running gag, specifically the reason why Jazz wore the same shirt every time he was kicked out. 

When participating in Will Smith: An Evening With Spike Lee And Friends, there was a clear timeline laid out for Smith to discuss his life and times. But during the Brooklyn stop on the book tour to support his new autobiography Will, someone in the audience shouted a burning question: why was Jazz wearing the same shirt whenever he’d get kicked out of the house on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? Smith loved the question, and as CinemaBlend was on hand at the event, we heard him give the following answer:

So here’s what happened … the outside of the Fresh Prince house was at a separate location than the inside of the house. The exterior part where Jeff gets thrown out was actually at the actual house in Bel-Air, and the interior was on stage 15 miles away. We went to the house one day, and we thought it’d be cool if we threw Jeff out of the house.

While The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air eventually became a massive hit for NBC, no one could have guessed just how large of a success it would eventually be. Running for six seasons between 1990 and 1996, the show and its cast would become iconic in pop culture. Part of that success involved just how much audiences enjoyed DJ Jazzy Jeff getting thrown through the air. 

This joke only took place 15 times during the series’ entire run, but it’s a subject so popular that there’s entire rundowns on sites like Vulture. That gag started early on too, literally cropping up in the second episode ever, “Bang The Drum, Ashley!” Here now is the moment that gave the series one of its claims to fame: 

The die was cast early in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s comedy history, which added a rather unique point of pressure in a series that was no stranger to growing pains. Not expecting audiences to glom onto this joke meant that they were going to have to get creative with bringing it back from time to time. Which leads to Will Smith’s recounting the solution of having Jazz wear his unlucky shirt before going airborne from the Banks residence: 

People really liked him getting thrown out of the house. Then we were like, ‘Oh shit, but that means we’d go all the way back over there to throw him out.’ … And then we said, ‘No, we don’t! Just let him wear the same shirt any time we want to throw him out of the house.’ They used the same shot, so there’s one shot the whole series. … So when he walks into a scene with that shirt on, you know his ass is getting thrown out.

Sometimes, the most effective jokes are the ones nobody expects to take off. In the case of DJ Jazzy Jeff though, taking off was literally what did the trick! Over thirty years since the debut of that fateful moment, people are still talking about it. Though it should be noted that Jazz did have a change of clothes when being thrown out of places other than the Banks residence. Now, before we go, let’s take a moment to look back at those moments, through one of the internet’s favorite traditions: a supercut.

Will is currently available for purchase, with an audiobook read by the author himself. Meanwhile, if you want to revisit the entire run of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and the reunion special, you can head to HBO Max. That’s also where you’ll want to head to see Will Smith’s latest film, King Richard, which will debut simultaneously on streaming and in theaters. 

Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.