If you’ve ever been curious about why exactly Will Smith’s character in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has the same name as him in real life, you can now find out by simply pressing play on the video below. If video isn’t your bag, you can check out the original text article after the jump.
If you’ve ever watched The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air and managed to avoid hugging the TV whenever Uncle Phil is on screen, maybe you’ve wondered why Will Smith’s character is called, well, erm, Will Smith. For those people, we have rather sad news, the answer involves way fewer tigers than you hoped.
But we digress, before the show even went to air, both Will Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton), were discussing ideas for what Smith’s character should be called. After passing several ideas back and forth, Alfonso very matter of factly explained to Smith that if the show was a hit, his character would be who the public saw him as for the rest of his life regardless of what roles he managed to secure afterwards. After some deliberation, Alfonso recommended that Will request that his character also be called Will, just so that if he was ever remember for the character, at least they’d both have the same name.
Smith agreed with Alfonso and when the time came to naming his character, he specifically requested that he play a fictionalized version of himself. The producers, who we’re guessing didn’t give a shit as long as Smith signed on to do the damn show, let have him have his way.
This move proved to be one of the smartest Smith had ever made because exactly as Alfonso predicted, the show took off and Will Smith became a household name. As an added bonus, he also didn’t have to spend his his entire adult career fighting the stereotype of the character he’d played on TV because the character he played on TV was himself.
To make this even more hilarious, Alfonso Ribeiro, the guy who gave Smith this advice in the first place has never managed to shake his association with Carlton Banks. Seriously, we will punch anyone in the mouth who can look at a picture of Alfonso and honestly tell us they see anyone but Carlton Banks.
Alfonso has pretty much spent his entire career having people refer to him as a character he played on a show 20 years ago because no one knows that his real name is Alfonso. To be fair, so has Will Smith, since his real name is Willard Carroll Smith, Jr, the only difference is, people refer to him by the cool nickname he got to pick, whereas Alfonso is stuck with the name associated with a fictional dumbass instead of the boss as hell, porn star name he was born with.
And it’s only made worse when you realise that he totally predicted that everyone on the show would never be able to escape the character they played. We’re honestly curious about why he never followed the same advice he gave to Smith and asked to play a character called Alfonso Banks. Seriously, imagine how cool the show would have been if that was the name of the character he played.