Classic TV fans were treated to a modern re-enactment of two classic sitcom on Tuesday evenings with the airing of the ABC special Live in Front of a Studio Audience.
Actors re-enacted an episode of classic 1970s sitcom Diff’rent Strokes along with an episode from its Facts of Life spinoff, with the live production produced by TV legend Norman Lear alongside a team including Jimmy Kimmel and Will Ferrell.
The reimagined cast included John Lithgow as Mr. Drummond, Kevin Hart as the youngster Arnold, and Ann Dowd as Mrs. Garrett.
However, one cast member was singled out for having a particularly funny performance: Damon Wayan’s interpretation of the teenage Willis — which is not bad for a 61-year-old comedian.
Fans took to Twitter Tuesday to say how much better the special was compared to what they were expecting, with particular praise given to both Wayans and Hart.
One remarked, “I was wondering how they would pull off having Damon Wayans & Kevin Hart play teens, but those talented comics made it fun!” The tweeter also added, “Ann Dowd should get an Emmy nod!”
Another appeared to rate the Hart and Wayans duo with four stars.
Yet another declared Wayans “hilarious af.”
Others shared the astonishment of this writer that Wayans pulled off the much-younger character so flawlessly.
Still, one user couldn’t help but point out just how star-studded the cast was overall, including a guest appearance by rapper Snoop Dogg as Vernon – which touched off a string of reaction tweets.
Another user was enamored at Wayans’ apparent call-back to a classic In Living Color character with the way he ran upstairs.
Tuesday’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience also included a re-enactment of Facts of Life bringing in Jennifer Aniston as Blair, Gabrielle Union as Tootie, Allison Tolman as Natalie, Kathryn Hahn as Jo, and Dowd doing double duty as Mrs. Garrett.