Originally Telma Hopkins was cast as Ruth, but Bill Cosby gave the role to Phylicia Rashad. Some believe it was in hopes of recapturing the magic The Cosby Show (1984) had, but it was because Hopkins didn't react well to Cosby's tendency to ad-lib.
Madeline Kahn, who played Pauline, died in 1999. A special episode was written devoted to her, where the entire cast looked talked about her and her character. Selected clips of Madeline's character on the show were played, as well, including the famous scene where she talks to Hilton about death.