Alfonso Ribeiro Reveals The Secret Origin Story Of ‘The Carlton’ Dance

Alfonso Ribeiro shall never escape “The Carlton” dance, but fortunately, he has no problem with this ubiquity. Ribeiro’s infamous jig first hit the tv airwaves in the early 1990s (on Fresh Prince of Bel Air) and continues to live on in pop culture until this very day. The advent of YouTube and a recent Dancing With The Stars stint keep the dance fresh in our collective consciousness. Even hordes of groomsmen reenacted the cringeworthy jig to volley their wedding receptions into viral video territory. “The Carlton” is here to stay, and the world is a better place for it.

Ribeiro sat down with Variety to promote his new gig, Unwrapped 2.0, which will air on the Cooking Channel. Of course, the journo wanted to talk about his funky fresh dance moves. Ribeiro promises he never had a plan for the dance, it just sort of happened. His inspiration is pretty awesome:

The Carlton Dance was created when it said in the script: “Carlton dances.” It was never even intended to be funny; it was just that he was dancing. The dance is ultimately Courteney Cox in the Bruce Springsteen video “Dancing in the Dark”; that’s the basis. Or in Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious” video, “The White Man Dance” as he called it. And I said, “That is the corniest dance on the planet that I know of, so why don’t I do that?”

Both of the dances Ribeiro mentions are clearly visible in his body of work, which is basically “The Carlton” forever. Sure, he showed off a whole host of different dances on DWTS, but Ribeiro knows what gets the people going. He also points out how the Carlton Banks character was the furthest thing from his own Bronx-born persona that he could possibly imagine. All he knew was hip-hop, and Fresh Prince introduced him to the dubious realms of Tom Jones and Barry Manilow.

It turns out that a very perceptive YouTuber figured out the Springsteen-Cox resemblance and created a mashup. Good job, internet.

While we’re on the subject, here’s Eddie Murphy’s “White Man Dance.”

(via Variety)