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Kevin Hart to play Arnold on one-night ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ revival

For upcoming ‘Live in Front of a Studio Audience’ special, comedian is cast in the youthful role once played by Gary Coleman.

In a 1979 photo (left), Gary Coleman appears on “Diff’rent Strokes” as Arnold Drummond, the role Kevin Hart (right) will play in a Dec. 7 special.
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Bringing a silly meme to life, Kevin Hart will play Arnold Drummond, the wisecracking boy from “Diff’rent Strokes,” on a live revival of the ’80s sitcom next month.

The comedian has been cast on the third installment of “Live in Front of a Studio Audience,” the ABC franchise that earlier presented all-star re-enactments of “All in the Family,” “Good Times” and “The Jeffersons.”

Hart, 42, is taking on a character depicted as a tween and later a teen on the 1978-86 series. The diminutive actor clearly has a sense of humor about the comparison, having posted a meme in 2019 that superimposed his face on clips of Arnold spouting his catchphrase, “Whatchu talkin’ ’bout?”

“I’m f- - -ing dying laughing,” Hart commented.

Coleman, a Zion native, died in 2010.

On the special, scheduled for Dec. 7, he’ll be joined by John Lithgow as Arnold’s adoptive father Mr. Drummond, Damon Wayans as big brother Willis and Ann Dowd as housekeeper Mrs. Garrett.

Garrett’s character was spun off for another hit show, “The Facts of Life,” which also will be re-created on the special.