The world is still reeling from Prince's too-soon and shocking death, the latest in a series — David Bowie, Alan Rickman... — of truly heartbreaking passings that've happened in 2016. It's hard for many people to process just how painful his death is, but luckily for those who couldn't find the words to express their grief, Saturday Night Live did it instead. The SNL tribute to Prince called "Goodnight Prince" that aired Saturday night was sentimental and lovely, a perfect way to honor the late star.
Instead of running the rerun the show had planned to air on April 23, the episode of SNL, hosted by Jimmy Fallon, instead featured a series of clips of Prince on past shows. I, for one, had no idea that Prince had such a strong relationship with SNL, but after Fallon's heartfelt monologue, I was taken aback and truly impressed by how much of an impact the late singer had had on the show. During his tribute monologue, Fallon rocked a purple tie while commenting on the fact that Prince basically owned the color purple. Said the host, "He had his own color. Who has their own color? He owns purple." It was a sweet, funny tribute, and it made plenty of viewers start tearing up.
Later in the episode was never-before-seen footage of one of the coolest parties the universe has ever seen, the celebration of SNL 40. Fallon told the tale of how he convinced Prince to take the stage at the afterparty of the 2015 event, and the resulting performance is star-studded and extraordinary. According to Fallon on The Tonight Show , the performance happened at about 4:30 a.m., and came to be after he had been trying to convince artists to come up on the stage. He finally said, "Prince, if you're in the room, I dare you to come up and say something with us." And so the legendary singer did.
The SNL episode also featured Prince's many appearances on the show throughout the decades, including his 1981 performance as a 22-year-old, during which he played "Party Up." There was also a 1989 appearance of "Electric Chair" from Batman, plus 2006 performances of "Fury" and "Beautiful, Loved, and Blessed."
Yet the best part of the tribute, in my opinion, was definitely the incredible eight-minute medley from a 2014 show. It's simply amazing.
The episode wasn't just Prince himself performing, though. SNL also shared a few sketches of the running series "The Prince Show" in which Fred Armisen plays Prince, and Maya Rudolph is Beyonce. Armisen captures the late singer's mannerisms perfectly, and it's a true joy to watch.
Though Prince is gone, fans are lucky to still have some of his greatest achievements caught on tape to re-watch again and again. Thanks to SNL for providing a little more to remember him by with "Goodnight Prince."