Colbert Turns Set Purple and Other Late Night Prince Tributes
It's tough for late night shows to react when a big celebrity, much less someone like Prince, who was a huge influence on so many people of a certain age group, dies. Depending on when the show tapes, there's generally only time to devote a small segment or something equally brief, so the hosts have to make it count.
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Stephen Colbert did the best job, getting a story from his bandleader, Jon Batiste about the Purple One's hyper-awareness backstage after a show. Then Colbert had the set go purple in tribute:
Next, guest Tom Hanks gave his first memory of watching Prince on The Midnight Special as a teenager at his parents' house, wondering "Who is this grand funkmeister who's going to take us to the revolution?"
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James Corden of The Late Late Show had already finished taping for the day when the news broke, so he came back to the set without an audience and talked about seeing Prince play live and being happy to live in a world where he was making music.
On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah followed the lead of his predecessor Jon Stewart and held his tribute until the end of the show and dedicated his "Moment of Zen" to Prince. Unfortunately, that video isn't available right now unless you play the entire episode.
Larry Wilmore on The Nightly Show took a different tack, dedicating his panel segment to Prince. By chance, he had Russell Simmons on the panel, who didn't know the Purple One that well, but still found him extremely influential. But the best story came from comedian Robin Thede about when Prince invited her to a late-night party at his house.
Unfortunately, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers were on vacation. So we'll see more tributes early next week.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Weeknights, 11:35/10:35c, CBS.
The Late Late Show with James Corden, Weeknights, 12:35/11:35c, CBS.
The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, Weeknights, 11:30/10:30c, Comedy Central.