Late-Night Remembers Prince: Colbert, Corden and Kimmel Pay Tribute
“Not many people are as influential enough to be known by one name, let alone by one color," said 'The Late Show's' Stephen Colbert.
Late-night hosts each took a moment out of their shows for Prince as the world mourned the iconic artist on Thursday.
TBS' Conan O'Brien, as well as NBC's Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers were all on hiatus this week, but the remaining hosts had nothing but fond memories of the musician. On CBS' Late Show, Stephen Colbert took a moment at his desk to say a few words before unveiling a custom purple logo for the night in honor of Prince's signature color.
"I have been a fan since I was in high school," said Colbert. "I remember a guy in my choir, Skipper Graham, brought in the very first Prince album into our choir room, and there was so many things to love about it. Obviously the music was so powerful, and also we had to wear the headphones so the adults could not hear the lyrics to any of the songs."
But as upset as he was, Colbert said, he wanted to give his bandleader Jon Batiste, who had once played with Prince, a few moments to share his memories of the performer.
"He had a huge aura," said Batiste. "His energy and presence in a room just filled everybody's hearts." Batiste added that "he had a certain way of being aware of what was going on," telling a story of when they were backstage together and Prince silenced and dismissed a fan trying to film them by simply pointing and saying "courtesy."
"Not many people are as influential enough to be known by one name, let alone by one color," added Colbert, "but he was, so in a small gesture of respect tonight, we'd like to change the set in his honor."
Over on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the host rolled his Prince tribute into his monologue and some discussion of news coverage. His band also played Prince's music throughout the show.
"There were a lot of tributes today," he said to start off the show. "Even the cable news channels gave Donald Trump a rest for a minute and paid attention to Prince all day. While there were a number of moving and emotional tributes, none of them were more heartfelt I think then this one from Wolf Blitzer." Kimmel then played a clip of the CNN anchor incorrectly naming Prince's hit song "Purple Haze."
The Late Late Show's James Corden had already filmed Thursday's show by the time he heard the news, but he aired a special introduction for the night with a personal tribute.
"It didn't feel right to me to start an entertainment show without coming back down here and turning the lights on and saying something about it before we begin," said Corden. "I don't even know where to start when I talk about Prince as an artist, because to be unique in this world is impossible. Almost all art is taken or borrowed from somewhere else, and yet an artist like Prince stands alone – he is completely original."
Adding that he had seen Prince in concert several times in London, Corden added that "I feel like today is about celebrating the incredible life that he led and the brilliant songs that he gave us."
"What a thing to be have been alive when Prince was making music, we are all incredibly lucky," he concluded.