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Television

Colbert, Corden and Kimmel fill late night with remembrances of Prince

‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’

Tom Hanks and host Stephen Colbert talk during “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Thursday in New York.

(Timothy Kuratek / CBS)

Memorials of Prince continue to roll in as the world attempts to process the death of the music icon who died Thursday at the age of 57 in his Chanhassen, Minn., home. 

Thursday night, those remembrances extended to late night television. 

Though TBS’ “Conan,” hosted by Conan O’Brien and NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” were all in repeats Thursday night, Stephen Colbert, James Corden and Jimmy Kimmel all took time to recognize the passing of the artist on their shows.

The effort was especially considerable for Corden who had already concluded filming of Thursday’s episode of CBS’ “The Late, Late Show” when reports of Prince’s death were officially confirmed. Upon learning the news, Corden returned to the stage to film a special message and share his memories of seeing the performer in concert and what made the musician so special.

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“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.”

Kimmel acknowledged Prince’s death in his opening monologue for Thursday’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” using the loss to poke fun of cable news networks, but specifically, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who earlier in the day referred to Prince’s “Purple Rain” as “Purple Haze,” accidentally invoking the memory of Jimi Hendrix instead.

Kimmel’s band performed Prince songs throughout the show. 

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Colbert had perhaps the most extensive commitment to remembering Prince, opening his show with memories of listening to Prince’s first album in high school and a conversation with band leader Jon Batiste about his experience working with Prince. 

“He had a huge aura,” Batiste said. “His energy and presence in a room just filled everybody’s hearts.”

Colbert then changed the lighting of his set from blue to purple to better honor Prince’s memory before speaking to that night’s guests, Tom Hanks and Leslie Odom Jr. about their Prince experiences.

Hanks recalled staying up in his youth and seeing Prince on a late night music show. “He was a young guy and I just said, ‘Who is this grand funkmeister who is going to take us to the revolution?’”

Odom Jr., who stars in Broadway smash “Hamilton” as Aaron Burr, recalled to Colbert what it was like to have an artist like Prince, who tweeted in March about seeing “Hamilton,” experience your work and enjoy it.

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