Alfonso Ribeiro Reveals DWTS ‘Lets Me Be Me’ As Co-Host


Alfonso Ribeiro spoke about hosting the new Dancing with the Stars season, being Carlton Banks, and the most exciting role he gets to play: himself.

Alfonso Ribeiro is experiencing a career renaissance with Dancing with the Stars, and he’s grateful to show a brand-new persona to audiences: himself. In a recent interview, Alfonso admitted that DWTS gives him the opportunity to shed former typecasting preconceptions and be natural in front of the camera. The television veteran has joined DWTS season 31 as co-host in support of Tyra Banks.

In an interview with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Today, Alfonso spoke to these new opportunities and the joy that it brings him to be working on more than one project at once. “I’m Trinidadian,” he joked. “And, you know, we need fifteen jobs.” Best known for playing Carlton Banks on Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Alfonso admitted that he was eager to break free of stereotyping that comes with such a well-known role during his career resurgence: “Imagine for a second that you do such a great job that they say, nope, you can never be anybody else again.” Alfonso credits DWTS for allowing him to be himself for the camera, saying that their edict was “you get to be you now.” In comparing this to the rest of his career, Alfonso seemed to welcome the change, stating “I can always be me, I don’t have to play that role.”


Related: Why Fans Dislike Tyra Banks on DWTS So Much

‘I Was Very Different From Carlton’

Pressed to explain what he meant by “getting to be me”, Alfonso elaborated on this idea, noting that everything else is a character. “So I was very different from Carlton,” Alfonso said. “I like to think of myself as–I grew up in The Bronx, right? You’re all of a sudden this nerdy guy from Bel Air, that’s not my life.” Putting a barrier between him and Carlton, Alfonso showed gratitude for this new role that allows him to be himself, pointing out that much of what he says during the live program is not scripted but rather an in-the-moment ad-lib. When asked if he had come to terms with many thinking of Carlton rather than Alfonso first, Alfonso simply stated that “you come to terms with the fact that that person existed and that reality existed.”

From Silver Spoons to Extreme Ghostbusters to Unwrapped 2.0, Alfonso has had a varied and lengthy career that has earned him followers from myriad fandoms. However, one cannot overestimate the cultural impact of Carlton, including the eponymous dance move that has become synonymous with any Alfonso appearance, including his time as a contestant on DWTS. His fame originally hinged on his dancing ability and comedic timing, as evidenced in an early appearance alongside Tyra on Fresh Prince. Eventually, most of Alfonso’s public persona became inexorably tied to Carlton Banks. In the 26 years since the series finale of Fresh Prince, Carlton has become a mainstay of American popular culture, nearly eclipsing the man who played him.

However, Alfonso’s journey from DWTS to host is a perfect progression to both honor this character and eventually move past its connotations. Starting by dancing The Carlton and then moving on to simply being Alfonso allows for a transition that makes sense and a narrative that can be embraced by DWTS viewers. His current role as host gives him an opportunity to embrace a persona he knows very well and his comments show that he’s grateful and excited to be playing himself.

Source: Today

Next: Why Len Goodman is Too Hard on Dancing with the Stars Contestants


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