Kevin Hart's height is always a source of mockery for his fellow celebrities and friends. But for the next installment of Live in Front of a Studio Audience airing Dec. 7 o ABC, he'll lean into that size to play an icon of '80s television.
While it seems like a mean joke to have Hart portray Gary Coleman's Arnold, despite their clear divide in age with Hart at 42 and Arnold in his early teens during the height of the series, it isn't meant to be. Still, the comedian is joining some elite company on the live special that the network has put out on two prior occasions.
Prior installments featured All in The Family featuring Woody Harrelson, Jamie Foxx, and Marisa Tomei in the roles made famous by Carrol O'Connor, Sherman Hemsley, and Jean Stapleton. The second installment added Good Times to the mix, but the latest edition might push the comedy to its brink.
John Lithgow will join Hart as Mr. Drummond, while Damon Wayans will play Todd Bridges' character, Willis. Diff'rent Strokes will air alongside a live episode of The Facts of Life, with the cast yet to be revealed. We know that Ann Dowd from The Handmaid's Tale and The Leftovers will portray Mrs. Garrett shared between the two performances.
The star-studded 🤩 cast of #DiffrentStrokes will include Kevin Hart, John Lithgow, Ann Dowd and Damon Wayans. Watch it on ABC! Stream Next Day on Hulu.— ABC (@ABCNetwork) November 19, 2021
TV legend Norman Lear, the producer behind the original sitcoms, returns as executive producer, with help from Jimmy Kimmel, Brent Miller, Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell, Justin Theroux, and Jim Burrows. "Other than with my family, there's no place I'd rather be in my 100th year than on a soundstage at Sony with these glorious actors reliving what our company had produced all those years ago and sharing it with the millions of viewers who could use a little laughter," the legendary producer said in a statement. Lear will turn 100 in July 2022.
Diff'rent Strokes ran for seven seasons on NBC from 1978 until 1985 before a surf across chaTV legend Norman Learnnels to ABC for a final season. The Facts of Life would begin a year later, in 1979 and air through 1988. Considering the past two years, it doesn't seem like a bad time for a laugh. With Hart and Wayans involved, the chances of a live mishap or break are almost guaranteed.