Many music fans, and enthusiasts of art in general, are still reeling over the shocking news that the Grammy-winning musician Prince died yesterday at the age of 57. To be expected, there have been touching messages and emotional tributes popping up all over the Internet and TV. Saturday Night Live is joining the mourning masses by putting together an SNL-specific tribute show to the fallen legend, and the entire episode will go under the grab-a-tissue-or-ten title “SNL Goodnight Sweet Prince.”
In the retrospective, viewers will get a chance to watch what I assume will be all of Prince’s performances for Saturday Night Live over the years, according to TheWrap. He has appeared as the musical performer on three different occasions. The first was back in 1981, just as he was blowing up, and he was the somewhat rare second performer after the main music act Todd Rundgren. Prince didn’t make it back to the show until 2006, where he performed “A Woman Scorned” and “Beautiful Love (3121)” for the crowd. His latest appearance came for a Season 40 episode in 2014, where he rocked the shit out of everyone with an extended medley set.
Fans can also presumably expect to see clips of Fred Armisen’s celebrated impersonation of the icon for the “Prince Show” sketches that also featured Maya Rudolph’s unconquerable Beyoncé impression. If that happens, I assume the editors will go with material that is as far away from offensive as possible, given the sensitive nature of things. Perhaps Armisen will even record something for the show.
Following Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ awesome hosting gig on last week’s episode, Saturday Night Live was only set for a repeat this weekend, presenting them the opportunity to pay respects without pushing anything around. It’s unfortunate that we’ll never again get to see Prince’s incredibly energetic stage show on SNL again, but at least we’ll get to relive what there is.
There’s a good chance you’ve gotten a look at all of the different ways Prince is getting honored in the near future. Stephen Colbert turned his set purple on last night’s episode. MTV and others aired music video marathons (and not always without error.) And on the big screen, certain areas of the country will be able to experience Purple Rain in a theater once again. If only all of this awesomeness would have been happening at any point before Prince died.
So don’t forget to tune into NBC this Saturday night for the special Saturday Night Live episode “SNL Goodnight Sweet Prince,” which will air at 11:35 p.m. ET. The next new episode will air on May 7, with actress Brie Larson hosting and Alicia Keys as the episode’s musical guest.