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THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR Escalates Quickly in SNL Parody

THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR Escalates Quickly in SNL Parody

It’s not easy for a Saturday Night Live cast member to step into an impersonation made popular by someone else. Yes, every once in a while there’s a Darryl Hammond Bill Clinton equaling the late Phil Hartman, but more often than not you get Will Forte‘s passive-aggressive take on George W. Bush following Will Ferrell. (For what it’s worth, Forte’s W is underappreciated, but far from a direct facsimile.) So when the show busts out a new Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sketch, it’s frightening, because Will Smith was one of Jay Pharoah‘s regular go-to (and excellent) impersonations.

But while Pharoah focused on the modern-day, talk-show hype-man version of Smith, it turns out Chris Redd is pretty great as the younger model. He’s also blessed with good writing in last night’s sketch, which takes the whole premise of the original sitcom to its logical conclusion…and beyond.


Yeah, Carlton and Uncle Phil would pretty much be toast if Will’s old enemies showed up in L.A., and having Method Man play the gang leader is a nice touch, recalling the tension between the real-life clean rapper Will Smith and the more hardcore gangster types who followed him into the spotlight. Then things get even more bananas, with host Jessica Chastain as a double agent, the involvement of the Yakuza, and a twist ending that’s kind of a heartbreaker.

All the while, Redd nails the Fresh Prince’s rapping style to a tee, and the period detail is so spot on that parents just will understand.

But how did you like this twisted take? Let us know in comments.

Image: NBC

Who’s Chris Redd? Here’s a little backstory:

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