As the pop culture world continues to mourn the death of Prince, "Saturday Night Live" made headlines with its unprecedented decision to air a quick-turnaround tribute to the fallen rock icon. On April 23, the episode entitled "Good Night Sweet Prince" and hosted by Jimmy Fallon paid tribute to The Purple One, while simultaneously getting the funk out as he would have wanted.
"Prince has been a special presence here at 'Saturday Night Live' for the last four decades, from his debut on the show as a 22-year-old in 1981 to his surprise performance at the after party for SNL's 40th anniversary," Fallon says, beginning the show in front of an empty stage tinted purple. "Tonight, we wanted to pay tribute to him by looking back at his performances over the years."
Although the tone was somber, Fallon did manage to sneak in a few jokes about the always-eccentric musician. "He had his own color. Who has their own color?" he smiled. "He owns purple. You can't just pick a color and go 'That's my thing.'"
"For my generation, it was Prince, Madonna and Michael Jackson -- they were the Beatles, the Marilyn Monroes, the James Deans," he says. "They were icons. Larger than life -- the fashion, the music, every single thing. You couldn't take your eyes off that."
Amid the episode's classic clips from 1981, 1989 and 2014, Fallon returns with a special treat: The epic tale behind the newly-uncovered footage of Prince leading an "SNL" all-star jam. The clip was shot on former "SNL" cast member Tim Kazurinsky's cell phone, and took place at the after party following the comedy show's event-tv 40th anniversary special.
But the Prince tribute wasn't only about honoring the man. Fallon also introduced a montage of classic clips from "The Prince Show," a recurring sketch that Fred Armisen once hosted on the show, with Maya Rudolph playing Beyonce as his sidekick. Now that we know how close The Purple One was to the "Saturday Night Live" family, the sketches serve to show that Prince possessed not only amazing talent, but an equally impressive sense of humor.