Over the course of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s six seasons, Jazz (DJ Jazzy Jeff, a.k.a. Jeffrey Townes) developed a very intimate relationship with the Banks family’s front lawn. Starting with the show’s second episode, when he was introduced as one of Will’s best friends, Jazz being thrown out became a crowd-pleasing recurring gag. If he showed up wearing his telltale brown-patterned shirt with two gold bars across it, there was a good chance he was getting chucked — the show reused the same clip (see above) of him flying out front door in that shirt 11 times.
There weren’t as many total throws as you might think — just 15 during the show’s 148-episode run, with none in season five and just one in season six, for old time’s sake, during the series’ penultimate episode — which presumably sat well with Townes, who told the Huffington Post earlier this year that the show recycled the same clip because the number of takes required to get the shot left him bruised. “Literally, black and blue by the time they say, ‘We got it,’” he said. “And it got so bad the last time, and I was like ‘I can’t do this. I’m not a stuntman. I can’t do it.’”
But the gag was nevertheless an especially memorable part of a classic show, and as the series went on, the writers offered up variations on the bit — sometimes Jazz would go out the back door (twice), or someone other than Phil would throw him out: Will did it three times, and Vivian and Geoffrey each did it once. On the occasion of Fresh Prince’s elimination from our High-School-TV Showdown, we took a look back why and how Jazz was shown through the door those 15 times.
JAZZ BEING JAZZ
Season 1, Episode 2, “Bang the Drum, Ashley”
Context: Phil and the family are enjoying teatime when Jazz stops by the first time. Phil asks someone to turn up the volume of his favorite record, Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto,” and Jazz gets up to do it.
Offending Action: Instead of raising the volume, Jazz starts scratching the record.
Throw Fact: This was Jazz’s maiden voyage out the door.
Season 2, Episode 9, “Cased Up”
Context: Will and Jazz stay up late to watch TV one night. Uncle Phil starts heading downstairs, so Jazz quickly hides in the kitchen. Phil goes to the kitchen for a snack, and Jazz avoids him by walking right behind his back. As Phil leaves the kitchen, he says the house smells like cheap cologne and fried chicken.
Offending Action: “I resent that,” says Jazz, thereby making his presence in the house known.
Season 3, Episode 7, “Here Comes the Judge”
Context: Will and Jazz reconcile after a falling out earlier in the episode.
Offending Action: There isn’t really one. Jazz asks Will to throw him out of the house “for old time’s sake,” since earlier in the episode Will refused to do it because he said Jazz wasn’t even worth it. Aw, friendship.
Season 4, Episode 1, “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way (Part 1)”
Context: Will and Vivian are talking about Will and Carlton moving out when Jazz shows up with a gift for Baby Nicky.
Offending Action: Not only is the gift five months late, but it’s also clearly stolen, as it has someone else’s name on it. So Will throws Jazz out of the kitchen door.
Season 1, Episode 7, “Def Poet’s Society”
Context: Jazz is starving and asks Phil, who just got home from work, what time they eat at the mansion. Phil says, “We eat here later. You eat here never.”
Offending Action: Jazz makes fun of Philip’s weight and says, “Seems like you eat here often.”
Season 2, Episode 9, “Cased Up”
Context: Phil asks what kind of idiot would sell Will a car without insurance. Jazz, who had used his connection at Pep Boys to get Will almost everything in the car, takes offense.
Offending Action: Jazz taunts Phil about not being able to throw him out since he’s already outside.
Throw Fact: Phil throws him into the kitchen. It was the second time Jazz got thrown through a doorway in this episode.
Season 2, Episode 19, “Eyes on the Prize”
Context: While trying to fix some of the mansion’s problems, Phil accidentally disconnects the mansion’s phone line. Phil’s blunder inconveniences everyone, and they won’t let him hear the end of it.
Offending Action: Jazz brings up the phone problem right after Phil demands that everyone stop talking about it.
Season 2, Episode 19, “Eyes on the Prize”
Context: Jazz and Tyriq, one of Will’s other friends, are bickering about who’s Will’s best friend, and Jazz boasts that he doesn’t even have to walk to his car when he leaves the mansion and offers a demonstration.
Offending Action: “Yo, Mr. Banks, my tubby judicial brother,” Jazz says to have himself thrown out the house on purpose.
Season 6, Episode 23, “I, Done (Part 1)”
Context: Jazz comes by the next morning with a 50th-birthday present for Phil.
Offending Action: Jazz gives Philip his grandmother’s old false teeth for his birthday.
Throw Fact: This was the last time Jazz was thrown out on the series. “Man, Uncle Phil, you beat your own record by like ten feet,” Will comments as they walk back to the kitchen.
CREEPING ON HILLARY
Season 1, Episode 10, “Kiss My Butler”
Context: After Will and Jazz return from the mall without any women, Hilary says it’s because Will was with Jazz, a.k.a. “Girl-Away,” and that Jazz would only be attractive in a blackout.
Offending Action: Jazz tells Hilary that he’d “love to get ahold of her during a blackout.”
Season 1, Episode 25, “Working It Out”
Context: Will and Jazz come home and find Hilary reading a magazine in the living room. Jazz starts hitting on her, but she tells him to get out.
Offending Action: Jazz says, “Your mouth is saying ‘get out,’ but your eyes are saying ‘get busy.’” Since Phil and Vivian (Janet Hubert-Whitten) are away, it is up to Geoffrey to throw him out this time.
Season 2, Episode 17, “Community Action”
Context: Hilary returns to the mansion upset after humiliating herself on what she thought was a date but turned out not to be.
Offending Action: Jazz offers to take Hilary off of Phil’s hands and put a roof over her head. He says he’ll consider a marriage license, but only if she performs well in the “test drive.”
Season 3, Episode 24, “Six Degrees of Graduation”
Context: Phil interviews babysitter candidates to take care of his and Vivian’s newborn son, Nicholas, during Will and Carlton’s high-school graduation.
Offending Action: Jazz interviews for the position, thinking it’s about taking care of Hilary.
OFFENDING ONE OF THE OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS
Season 1, Episode 19, “It Had to Be You”
Context: Jazz sets Will up with his sister. The date goes badly because Jazz’s sister is really bossy.
Offending Action: Jazz admits he only set Will up with her because her bossiness was getting on his nerves and he wanted to make her someone else’s problem.
Throw Fact: This is the first time Will throws Jazz out of the house.
Season 4, Episode 17, “When You Hit Upon a Star”
Context: The Banks family is planning a surprise party for Will.
Offending Action: Jazz informs Vivian that he booked a stripper for the party, which leads to her throwing him out the kitchen door herself.
THE ONE TIME PHIL GOT THROWN OUT
Season 4, Episode 7, “Hex and the Single Guy”
Context: The Banks family attends a séance, but Will’s skepticism causes the psychic to put a curse on the entire family that brings them all bad luck. Under the influence of the curse, Jazz and Hilary announce that they’re getting married.
Offending Action: Philip tries to throw Jazz out after finding out about the marriage, but Jazz flips the tables on him and throws Phil out of his own mansion.