In honor of legendary television producer Norman Lear, ABC gathered a cast of A-list thespians to re-enact episodes from All in the Family and The Jeffersons (May 22) for its Live in Front of a Studio Audience special. Lear is responsible for developing both shows and packing each with scripts that reflected the then-state of affairs in the United States as it relates to race, class, and culture.
For 2019’s one-night-only revival, actors Anthony Anderson, Wanda Sykes, Kerry Washington, Woody Harrelson, Will Ferrell, Jennifer Hudson, and Jamie Foxx assumed their roles and revived memories viewers once held for the original shows. While the laughs were found within the scripts, the studio audience, as well as viewers at home, probably chuckled during an impromptu moment by Foxx.
While reenacting one scene from All in the Family, Foxx, who played George Jefferson, fumbled a line and decided to add his own take before he returned to character. “Everyone sitting at home just think their TV just messed up,” he quipped to the audience as some of his castmates laughed along.
— ABC (@ABCNetwork) May 23, 2019
Such an honor to be part of this INSANELY SPECIAL evening bringing, the brilliant work of @thenormanlear back to television. Thank you @jimmykimmel for including me in the cool kids! Love you. #liveinfrontofastudioaudience #allinthefamily #thejeffersons pic.twitter.com/Ux9i3VluZl
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) May 23, 2019
The primetime special was executive produced by late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who praised Lear for his small screen vision. “[Lear] did so much for freedom of speech and inclusivity,” he said per Variety. “We’d be way behind without him.”