Prince Among Men: 15 of the Purple One’s Most Iconic TV Moments

On the one-year anniversary of his death, we’re looking back at the Purple One’s most memorable TV moments, from a New Girl cameo to expertly deployed shade

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Not many pop stars can thrill an audience with a perfectly timed eye-roll, but Prince was no ordinary pop star. Every single time he blessed us with his presence (and his Prince-ness), it was a cause for celebration. On the one-year anniversary of his unexpected death, we look back at his most glorious and unexpected moments, from a sitcom cameo to his iconic resting Prince face.

  1. When he gave the most subtle of side-eyes at the 2011 NAACP Awards

    Oh, you’ve won an award! Well step aside, we are here for Prince’s facial expressions, not your acceptance speech. When presenting an NAACP Award to Halle Berry in 2011, he gave some salty side-eye during her speech. Perhaps he took exception to the phrase “thank you for honouring me” at the 2:20 mark?

  1. When he broke into giggles at the 2015 GRAMMYs

    How could anyone upstage a Yeezus interruptus moment at The GRAMMYs? Prince didn’t try to, he just stood in the background giggling at the drama.

(Image: Giphy.com)

(Image: Giphy.com)

  1. When he unceremoniously booted Kim Kardashian off his stage for her lacklustre dancing

    If you are going to be in the presence of a legend, half-hearted clapping just won’t do. At a Madison Square Gardens show he kicked Kim Kardashian—in her full 2011 bandage dress glory—off his stage because she wouldn’t dance on command. Shortly after, she explained that it wasn’t a refusal, she simply froze in his presence (which is actually completely understandable, TBH).

  1. When he made a surprise appearance on New Girl

    Who knew Prince was a fan of adorkable network comedy? In 2011, he sashayed to the Fox lot for a guest spot on New Girl, playing himself with a fairy godfather twist—he was there to give relationship advice to Jess and Nick. But it wasn’t without a little drama. Remember that Kim K. storyline? Well it turns out the entire krew was persona non grata to the Purple One. When the script called for a “party scene,” he went Method and insisted that no one from that family be a part of it. (His reasoning: he would never invite them to a party.) The problem is, Khloe and mama Kris had already come in to shoot a scene. As Zooey Deschanel later told Conan O’Brien, a P.A. burned all evidence of the crossover.

  1. When he stopped by The Muppets Tonight

    Prince gave a couple of puppets a lesson in songwriting on The Muppets Tonight in 1997, including an adorable rendition of “Raspberry Sorbet.” This was definitely a more playful side to Prince that fans didn’t often get to see.

  1. When he was not here for dumb questions on MuchMoreMusic Live

    When one fan asked Prince what he considered “real music,” Prince sighed deeply and said, “Do you have a concert ticket? Come to the concert.” Dumb question, Jason from Toronto.

  1. When his real life inspired classic comedy moments on The Chapelle Show

    Some of the best Prince moments on TV didn’t come from the man himself, but rather his good friend Charlie Murphy who recently passed away. As a writer and performer on The Chappelle Show, Charlie would tell wild stories in his “True Hollywood” segments. As the legend goes, at the height of ’80s, Charlie and his brother Eddie Murphy met Prince at a club and were invited back to his house for a listening party, which turned into a game of basketball. Charlie and Eddie thought Prince and The Revolution would be easily beaten—so much so they coined the game “blouses vs. shirts” to mock Prince’s club attire on the court. Turns out, Prince was a baller and won easily. He was a master host as well: he served his new friends pancakes after the game. In a radio interview, Prince confirmed that it was indeed true and said he absolutely loved the sketch.

  1. When he didn’t think much of his competition

    When asked what separates him from his contemporaries, Prince said “When I go onstage my microphone is on.”

  1. When he knew just how fresh he looked

    Prince didn’t celebrate birthdays (likely because he was a practicing Jehovah’s Witness and birthdays are not observed in the religion), which he used to explain his ageless aura.

  1. When he just couldn’t with Bryant Gumbel’s loafers

    Gumbel had the temerity to ask Prince about pleated khakis (how basic), which is like asking Da Vinci about finger-painting. Prince responded with a snort—and didn’t try to hide his horror when faced with Bryant’s black leather loafers.

  1. When a nervous Chris Rock interviewed the Purple One

    In 1997, a visibly rattled Rock interviewed The Artist (just peep Chris’ mortification when he accidentally called him Prince). They touch on the supposed rivalry with Michael Jackson and the rumour that Prince was asked to appear in the “Bad” video. He brushes off the feud, which is less “the high road” and more high-level shade.

  1. When he was more interested in his sweet treat

    During a live performance of “We Are The World”—Prince bailed on the recorded version, read all the juicy deets in this Rolling Stone piece—he spent more time on his lolly than he did on the lyrics.

giphy (2)

(Image: Giphy.com)

  1. When he reacted to a new Madonna vid on VH1

    The four stages of Prince being shown a Madonna video: disdain, annoyance, exasperation, impatience.

  1. When he threw a sprinkle of shade at fellow legend

    As a guest on Vibe, hosted by Sinbad, The Artist said he’s press shy because “his voice is so high,” mocking the squeaky pitch of the Gloved One.

  1. When he wasn’t super interested in today’s pop stars

    How did Prince account for the popularity of stars like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga? Well, as he told the ladies on The View around the 2:13 mark, different strokes for different folks, ‘mkay?

Related:
R.I.P. Prince: Reflecting on the Purple One’s Legacy
The Prince Films You Need to See to Understand His Genius
Adele and Bruno Mars Pay Tribute to George Michael and Prince

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