*Prince was on the minds of late night TV hosts on Thursday following his death earlier at the age of 57.
From Stephen Colbert’s purple set, to anecdotes from Russell Simmons on “The Nightly Show,” to Trevor Noah and James Corden’s emotional recollections of the musical icon, the late night landscape took a pause to acknowledge the shock of Prince’s death, and impact of his life and music.
Colbert, who switched his set to purple, shared his memories: “I have been a fan since I was in high school,” he said, recalling the time a member of the school choir brought in a Prince album and he and classmates heard his music for the first time.
“There were just so many things to love about it,” Colbert continued. “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.”
“The Late Show’s” bandleader Jon Batiste, who toured with Prince during the singer’s America tour, said, “He had a huge aura. His energy and presence in a room just kind of filled everybody’s hearts.”
Batiste recalled Prince once shutting down a surreptitious cell phone recording of one of their backstage conversations. Batiste hadn’t even noticed that someone was trying to record their chat.
Prince’s influence also came up during Colbert’s interview with actor and “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom, Jr. Prince had seen the Broadway show, tweeting last month that it was “the best history class ever!”
“It’s humbling and we don’t take it for granted at all,” Odom said about the singer’s praise for the musical. He also shared a story about the cast attending one of Prince’s trademark private concerts in Harlem.
James Corden had already taped his “Late Late Show” by the time Prince’s death was confirmed, but he went back and added a heartfelt tribute to the opening: “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. Like almost all art, it’s taken or borrowed from somewhere else and yet an artist like Prince stands alone. He is completely original.”
Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah and Larry Wilmore each honored Prince.
“Today, as you all know, we lost more than just a man. We lost an icon. We lost a leader. We lost, in many aspects, a genre in itself,” Noah said at the end of “The Daily Show.” “Prince, we’ll always remember you. We will always love you. Your music changed our lives, and I think it will continue to do that.”
Wilmore’s “The Nightly Show” included a discussion of Prince during its panel segment, which featured Def Jam mogul Russell Simmons. He described Prince as “one the sweetest people” he’s ever met. “Every time I’ve ever met him, he was very nice to me and very sweet to the fans who approached him.”