Alfonso Ribeiro On How To Up Your Lunchtime With Cheez-Its Snap'd - Exclusive Interview

Alfonso Ribeiro, the actor behind "Fresh Prince of Belair's" Carlton Banks and beloved host of "America's Funniest Home Videos," is on a mission to make lunchtime epic again. No more sad desk lunches or flavorless snacks for mindless munching when the afternoon slump rolls around. Instead, Ribeiro has teamed up with Cheez-Its Snap'd to inspire more people to take back their lunch hour and give one lucky winner an amazing prize package.

Mashed recently caught up with Ribeiro as he road trips across the west and northwest in an RV with his family. Ribeiro told Mashed that he and Cheez-Its Snap'd "want people to raise the bar and make a great lunch." That's why they have partnered and are asking fans to snap a photo of their worst sandwiches and post it to Ribeiro's Facebook and Instagram pages with #snappedmysandwich to enter for a chance to win $10,000 and a year's supply of Cheez-Its Snap'd. Fortunately, Ribeiro was able to provide readers with some ideas for a better sandwich during our exclusive interview.

Alfonso Ribeiro on his favorite Cheez-Its and sad sandwiches

Give us some inspiration. What are your favorite things about Cheez-Its? And just your favorite flavor or your favorite way to eat them?

Well, I'm all about being the cheddar. So cheddar is my favorite in everything I do. So if I'm having a cheeseburger it's with cheddar. A sandwich, a turkey sandwich, I need my cheddar cheese. So the cheddar is my number one. But the Cheez-It Snap'd are thin and crispy. They snap when you bite them. So of all the products, the Snap'd is my favorite.

What's the saddest sandwich you've ever seen?

I think this one right here is pretty bad. It's a little bit of turkey, a little bit of cheese, but it's just, there's nothing else on it. You've got to add stuff to it. The idea here, you've got that nice [sandwich]. It's not just a regular old piece of white bread. It's a nice bun and lettuce, tomato, mayo, turkey. Some people love pickles and I'm not a pickle person, but adding all the ingredients that you love to have in a sandwich. So with mine, mine is lettuce, tomato, turkey, cheddar cheese, add the Cheez-It Snap'd, fill out the lunch.

You're not alone in not liking pickles. So many people detest pickles. So what is it for you that you just can't stand about them?

Well, I don't like the taste, the feel when you bite into one. For some reason, when you go to a fast food chain and you get a burger and they put the pickles on it and you bite it, and that's the only taste you get. It covers the meat, it covers the cheese, it covers the ketchup, it covers everything. Just take the pickles out. That's all you can taste. I can understand people who have a sandwich and then bite a pickle. We're not going to kill the pickle industry. We're going to let the pickle industry survive. My wife loves the pickles. It's just me.

Why do you think lunches today are so sad?

I think ultimately, people view breakfast and dinner as the meals that they care about. Lunch is just something to add nutrition through the day. And I would disagree with that. I think lunch is that meal that you actually should focus a bit more on. If you're talking about being in shape, you want that lunch meal [to be] the one that you want to have. The solid meal, something that's a little bit more exciting than just a basic sandwich to keep on moving. You can add anything. But the Cheez-It Snap'd adds that little bit of extra flavor, that little bit of extra fun to jazz up your lunch just a bit more than just a regular meal.

How Alfonso Ribeiro is avoiding sad lunches during his summer road trip

Revisiting your Cheez-It Snap'd campaign, is there anything you can tell us about your trip, where you're heading next?

Well, we're traveling all over the Northwest, so we're going to stay up here and where it's beautiful and the weather is warmer than usual while we have a little too many fires right now, but hopefully they get taken care of and we get to enjoy this trip a little bit more. And have some Cheez-It's along the line.

Everyone obviously has to have their cooler or their snack bag when they take a road trip. What does yours look like?

Well, mine isn't a snack bag. I get the entire RV refrigerator. So I'm getting to bring my entire home with [me]. So, we've got our waffles for the morning and we've got the Cheez-Its to add to our lunchtime meals. But my wife will make a big old lunch. We'll do a sandwich, a burger, steak sometimes, we'll do salad and add some Cheez-Its to the mix.

That's definitely not a sad lunch.

No. No sad lunches here. And when I'm done today, I'm going to have a real lunch again.

Alfonso Ribeiro on "Fresh Prince's" Carlton Banks

Shifting gears a little bit, I'd love to talk with you about the "Fresh Prince" reunion. Carlton Banks is one of the most beloved characters in sitcom history. Is there anything at all that you would have changed about this iconic character?

I really had no control over the character at all, other than portraying him. Writers and producers and networks and studios, they're the ones who craft and decide what that character is going to do with who that person really is. What I've done is brought him to life. So every week, when I read my words and I read the script, and what am I saying. How do I bring that to life in a way that makes it funny, that makes it relatable, that makes it someone that people might want to hang around, or someone that people wouldn't want to hang around, depending on how they view the character? But I don't really have the ability to change the character. It's performing the things that they've written for me. And they were a great writing team, year after year writing great scenes and moments for Carlton.

Is there a story that stands out from your time on the "Fresh Prince" set, or one memory that you especially love to look back on?

I think the one memory that I have that's the most fond was an episode where, the end of the episode Carlton runs through the audience and runs through the different sets. And he gets down on his knees and he pulls himself across the floor and he's screaming the whole time. No one knew that we were going to do that, the other cast members. I went to the Director, Shelley Hanson, and I said, "I want to do something and have some fun. It's the end of the show. Let's just be silly." And I told him what I was going to do. I just said, "Hey, put your camera here, put the camera here. And let's just go." And so the show came to the end and I did it. And I never thought that it would ever be aired on TV.

Because it was not something that ... It wasn't inside of the show. It was an extra thing. And then they ended up airing it. And I think it actually was a moment that changed, at least for the Carlton character. Will broke the fourth wall a few times. But for my character to break that fourth wall also changed the way I think the audience viewed the character, viewed all of the show. We were a performance, it was a show. It wasn't reality. And it was that moment that changed it for me, where it was like, oh, we can have some fun and laugh and the audience can laugh with us. And I think part of the reason why "Fresh Prince" was so iconic was simply because you weren't watching just a show. You were engaged, you were connected because we could break that fourth wall and look at you on your couch and say, "wink, wink, see what's happening here?" Those moments made it, I think iconic, because it connected them in a way that was very different than any other show at the time.

Alfonso Ribeiro on moving forward with his career

What was the shift like going from playing this character that so many people know and love to being yourself as a host, whether it was "America's Funniest Videos" or your game show?

I think that, for me, it became what was most important for me in my career. For many years, obviously, if I walked down the street people call me Carlton. And it literally stopped me from being able to go and work. Because it was no other ... They didn't see me as me. They only saw me as that character. So if I couldn't be that character, then they didn't want to see me. And so once I did "Dancing With The Stars" and I broke the way the audience saw me, it changed what I was capable of doing. And so after I won dancing, I went and met with the heads of ABC. And we talked about, what do you want to do? We want to keep you on the network. And I said, "I want to stay with the network, obviously".

And so there was a picture of Tom Bergeron on the wall doing America's Funniest Home Videos. And I said, "I want to do that." And they were like, "Perfect, because that's exactly what we want you to do." And so it allowed me to say, "All right, I no longer want to play another character. I want to play myself. I want people to get to know me." And in an age where reality television is as popular, and at times even more popular than scripted programming, the idea of being me actually is a better move career-wise than to go do another character, because people can relate to reality. And so I'm not doing a reality show, but I get to be myself. And I feel like it was a very important move at that time.

Can you tell us about getting your Emmy nomination?

Nominated now twice for "Catch 21" and you know what, to get an Emmy nom and then end up getting two nominations is very special. It puts you obviously in the top five people who were working in that genre at that current year, it puts you right up there with them. And to be nominated with [other hosts] like Alex Trebek and Wayne Brady, and Steve Harvey. These are great ones from the past and still through the present, and great hosts that are working today. So super honored that I was able to be nominated twice for that show.

Don't forget to visit Alfonso Ribeiro's Facebook and Instagram pages to enter for a chance to win $10,000 and a year's supply of Cheez-It Snap'd.