Alfonso Ribeiro can’t wait to chill with Elmo at ‘A Capitol Fourth’

Hear our full chat on my podcast “Beyond the Fame with Jason Fraley.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'A Capitol Fourth' with Alfonso Ribeiro (Part 1)

He’s known for “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and “Dancing with the Stars.”

This Fourth of July, Alfonso Ribeiro hosts “A Capitol Fourth”; the concert and fireworks start at 8 p.m. on PBS.

“This will be my first time hosting this show,” Ribeiro told WTOP. “Very excited, obviously. The moment they asked me to do this, it was an automatic ‘yes.’ To be there on the Capitol West Lawn and celebrate America’s birthday and the 43rd ‘A Capitol Fourth’ in front of all these amazing fans is going to be fantastic. It’s a beautiful holiday.”

This year’s lineup includes Chicago, Boyz II Men, Belinda Carlisle, Babyface, Maddie & Tae, Adrienne Warren and 2023 Kennedy Center Honors recipient Renée Fleming. You’ll also see the National Symphony Orchestra, the cast of Broadway’s “A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical” and the beloved Muppets of Sesame Street.

“We’ve got Elmo and Cookie Monster, come on! It’s gonna be a lot of fun,” Ribeiro said. “Deep down, it’s Elmo. I gotta hang with ‘El.’ That’s my man. We’re already on a short [name basis]. I just call him ‘El.'”

That’s right, fans might just get to see The Muppets join Ribeiro for his signature Carlton Dance from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” which featured a full-body snapping frenzy to Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual.”

“If he was on the lineup, it might be a little different,” Ribeiro said. “Listen, there’s no plan on it, but you never know what’s going to happen when you’re just live on the air and feeling it, but as of now, there’s no plan. … It’s never the elbows, I’ll say that. That’s the wrong move. It doesn’t actually work that way. It’s the spirit of it, it’s not the technicality of it, and most of the time, people butcher it anyway, so it’s the spirit of the dance.”

While fans have their own favorite “Fresh Prince” episodes, Ribeiro finds it impossible to pick.

“It’s hard for me to say,” Ribeiro said. “I had a great time and I appreciated doing it, but for me, as soon as I did the episode and the episode was shot, I forgot the episode and moved on to the next. It’s always about what’s coming next, not what’s happening behind you. I don’t live in the past. I live fully in the present and expecting in the future. I never really watched the show on TV, so it wasn’t something like, ‘Ooh, I think that’s my favorite.’ It’s another job.”

Since 2015, he’s hosted “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” continuing the legacy of Bob Saget and Tom Bergeron.

“That’s actually one of the few shows that my family and I will actually watch that I’m on,” Ribeiro said. “We enjoy sitting down, the kids enjoy watching the videos, it’s a little bit of showing America themselves, right? This is what we all do, we all make these crazy funny mistakes. You can sit and laugh with your kids, with your grandparents, with whoever and it’s still fun and comfortable. It’s truly America’s last true family show.”

This fall, Ribeiro will also join Julianne Hough to host Season 32 of “Dancing with the Stars” on ABC and Disney+. You’ll recall that Ribeiro actually won Season 19 as a contestant and began filling in for Bergeron as host.

“This is going to be a really wonderful season,” Ribeiro said. “Julianne and I are going to be great together. We’ve known each other forever and it’s been an easy time whenever we’re together. We go to lunch and we have to basically say, ‘I guess we should just go home now because it’s been like three hours and we’ve just been sitting here talking!’ All of the dancers and celebrities make a great show and we’ve got an incredible judges table.”

Now, it’s time for Ribeiro to again replace Bergeron, who hosted “A Capitol Fourth” back in 2016.

“I didn’t have to call him on this one, ‘A Capitol Fourth,’ but we always talk here and there,” Ribeiro said. “He’s been an incredible supporter of me doing these shows. Last season, when I got the co-hosting job [on ‘DWTS’], he was very happy for me and we went to lunch. Tom is just a great, great man. He really is. To me, he’s always been the best host on television, and it’s always an honor to do any show that Tom’s been involved in.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'A Capitol Fourth' with Alfonso Ribeiro (Part 2)

Hear our full chat on my podcast “Beyond the Fame with Jason Fraley.”

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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