Jimmy Kimmel was surprised the 99-year-old TV legend would drop the F-bomb on live TV ahead of the re-enactments of Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life. “We were worried that, like, Snoop would curse on the air,” Kimmel said later. “And sure enough, Norman dropped an f-bomb right at the top of the show.” During The Facts of Life, the big names kept cracking up, from Kathryn Hahn to Gabrielle Union to Allison Tolman. Surprise guests Will Arnett and Jason Bateman also came close to losing it during their scene with Jon Stewart. Meanwhile, Kevin Hart really leaned into his role playing Gary Coleman's Arnold Jackson opposite tall actors Damon Wayans, Snoop Dogg and John Lithgow.
Ann Dowd was the night's star as Edna Garrett: Dowd pulled double duty on the Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life re-creations with her dead-on performance as the late Charlotte Rae's character. "Not only does Dowd capture Rae’s essence in every scene, she never broke character when cameras stopped rolling," says Rosy Cordero. "She even earned the approval of the show’s original cast members Lisa Whelchel and Mindy Cohn, who opened Live with their rendition of the Facts of Life theme song. Kim Fields joined Whelchel and Cohn during the live performance but was absent during the rehearsals."
Norman Lear credits Jimmy Kimmel with the success of Live in Front of a Studio Audience: "None of this would be happening if Jimmy hadn’t said Let’s,'" says Lear. "It was his idea, and he’s a gift. He’s got a kind of creative enthusiasm, or enthusiastic creativity, that is all but hypnotic." Lear's producing partner, Brent Miller, adds: "And it should be known that he’s not just a celebrity attaching his name. He’s been very much involved throughout the whole process as we’ve been developing these specials. He takes it seriously. We shouldn’t leave out Kerry Washington as well. The first one she was acting in, the second one she came on as an executive producer, and in this third one she’s also an executive producer. And she too is not just throwing her name in for a credit."