This week, "Saturday Night Live" put its satire on the back burner to pay tribute instead to the legendary artist Prince.
Prince, 57, was found dead Thursday in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate near Minneapolis, where fans are still paying tribute.
The episode, titled "Goodbye, Sweet Prince," bid adieu to one of the most sincere artists of our time. Jimmy Fallon delivered a somber, celebratory and heartfelt introduction, reminiscing on the "special presence" Prince had on SNL.
"Other people may have been on the show more times or performed more frequently, but there was always something different about a Prince performance — it was special, it was an event, it was Prince," Fallon said, often choking up during his opening.
The show then took viewers on a trip down memory lane, and remembered all the iconic moments Prince created on the show — even a performance in a clip never previously seen by viewers.
The first time Prince appeared on the show in 1981, he was only 22, but just as dynamic as the world remembers him to be. Prince's performances on the show were intermittent afterwards, and his string of four appearances ended with an extraordinary eight-minute medley last year. As a bonus, the show also featured an impromptu performance by Prince at the after party for the 40th anniversary of the show.
Speaking of the "unbelievable" night, Fallon said he was tipped by SNL executive producer Lorne Michael that Prince was also there.
"Prince, if you're in the room, I dare you to come up and sing something for us," Fallon urged. It was 4:30 a.m. in the morning. But Prince did perform, with a spontaneity and energy that only the Purple One could have pulled off.
Prince assured us that every person we lose comes back. And every time we revel in Prince's creations, we are secure in the knowledge that he never truly left.