You may not know Earl Moberg by name, but you've seen his face hundreds of times. Earl is best known for playing the cab driver in the opening credits of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I recently had the pleasure of talking with Earl about the opening credits, life, and those funky dice in the mirror.
Jeff: Did you have any idea when you were shooting the opening for Fresh Prince how big the show was going to be?
Earl Moberg: No way man, I had no idea. We shot that entire sequence in about three hours right before lunch in, wow what was it, 1989 I think. If you would have told me then I was going to be on TV twice a day sixteen years later, I would have called you a liar and told you to get of my cab.
J: That brings up an interesting point, you are a real cab driver.
EM: Yes, absolutely. I've been driving cabs 20 years.
J: So then how did you end up on TV?
EM: It's a funny story. Quincy Jones, who produced the show, got in my cab one morning. I remember it like it was yesterday he went from Wooster & Spring to Washington Square Park. When we got there I told him there was no fare and the only payment I would accept was a high five. He looked me square in the eye, Quincy has this way of looking at you, and said "How would you like to come to Hollywood?"
J: But you never had a desire to stay?
EM: Nah, driving a cab is what I do. I had a few other offers after the show got popular, but I couldn't stop doing this.
J: Do you still keep in touch with Will?
EM: Will is a stand-up young man. He still sends my family and I a Christmas card every year. He signs it "stay fresh."
J: Did being on TV every week for years affect you?
EM: I don't know, I don't think so really. My friends would say "smell ya' later" for about a year or two. Then it got old. I don't really smell. People started to recognize me when they got in my cab for a while. It's starting to happen again now that the show's on Nick at Nite. I must have taken a thousand pictures giving people high fives over the year. But who am I kidding? I love it.
J: I ask everyone this question Earl
EM: Hooo boy, here it comes. I'm ready for it.
J: If you could eat dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would it be?
EM: What a question! I would choose with Mahatma Ghandi, Robert DeNiro, and my wife. I think they'd all get along.
J: Earl, it's been great talking to you. One last question: what is your favorite Fresh Prince moment?
EM: [laughs] That's a hard one. I never really loved the show honestly. The subject matter could get a little salty for my taste. I didn't like how Will treated his elders. If I had to pick, I guess I like the part where he gets in the cab and says "Yo home to Bel Air!" [laughs] Or whenever Uncle Phil throws Jazz out of the house. That Jazz has a smart mouth.