An open casting call was held in both New York and Los Angeles in hopes to cast an unknown kid actor for the role of Fat Albert. After the exhaustive search in both cities proved futile, the producers offered the part to Kenan Thompson.
The people listed in the closing credits of the TV Land cartoon broadcast are all real-life Hollywood professionals, and some are credited with having served on the crew of this movie. The first on the list, D.J. Gugenheim, is listed as "Asst. to Z. Diddy." Joel Zwick's nickname during production was Z. Diddy, and D.J. Gugenheim was his assistant.
Some of the characters in the movie take their names from Bill Cosby's old sketches, such as his girlfriend's name of Doris, his running track at Temple and high jumping, and the "Buck, Buck" sketch that opens the cartoon part of the movie.
Pre-production began in 1993. Tracy Coley was originally cast as Fat Albert. But production stalled as no studio was interested in it. Production picked up again in 2001 and Omar Benson Miller was cast as Fat Albert. But the project stalled again.