Since Jimmy Fallon took over The Tonight Show in 2014, he and a number of his guests have swapped stories about their interactions with the music icon, Prince, who passed away on Thursday morning. Their stories shed a light on the famously private man and how he could even leave Hollywood’s biggest celebrities star struck.
Scroll down to watch Fallon and guests such as David Spade, Dave Chappelle, Gabrielle Union and more recount their amazing run-ins with the artist formerly known as “The Artist Formerly Known As Prince.”
Prince Was Queen Latifah’s One Direction
In May 2015, Fallon posed the question, “Who was your One Direction?” to Queen Latifah and she didn’t even hesitate before answering, Prince. The first album she bought was his 1984 album, Purple Rain, which came with a poster that she hung up on her bedroom wall and would sometimes give a little kiss before she went out.
She first encountered him in person while riding the elevator in the Lotte New York Palace Hotel in New York City. She said hello but feared to say anything else without being an absolute fan girl. Her teenage dreams really came true at party held by Michael Jordan during the NBA All-Star weekend in 2015 where Prince performed. He called Queen Latifah on stage and she enjoyed the rest of the performance on a couch seated right behind Prince’s keyboard.
Michael Jordan Thought David Spade Was ‘Too Good’ for Prince
The week leading up to the SNL‘s 40th Anniversary brought a slew of big names to New York including former cast members David Spade and Chris Rock. The two friends went out one night after rehearsals and ended up a private Prince concert. One of the few white guys in the audience, Spade kept tried to keep a low-profile, but he couldn’t help but bob his head to the music. Feeling a little self-conscious, he stopped at which time Michael Jordan chastised him for being “too good for Prince.”
Kesha Broke Into Prince’s House
Before she hit it big with “TiK ToK,” Kesha was a struggling artist trying to get anyone to listen to her demo. She took the extreme measure of breaking into Prince’s home by paying off a gardener and rolling under the gate. Entering the home was no problem since the door was unlocked and she used the elevator to go upstairs where she encountered the man of the house, Prince.
The musician was playing guitar when she entered the room and Kesha laid down her demo on a nearby table before running out. She never heard back from him.
Gabrielle Union Offered Prince a Tuna Casserole
Gabrielle Union’s first time meeting Prince proves the old adage — Stars, they’re just like us. Too a point, of course. Most of us aren’t getting texts to come to a secret party hosted by Prince, but if we were, we’d most likely act like Union did when she was introduced to the “Purple Rain” singer.
She struggled on how to properly address him and then made the situation more awkward by apologizing for not bringing a tuna casserole. Somehow, she was invited to later parties.
Prince Used Dave Chappelle Dressed as Prince on His Album Cover
Prince clearly had a sense of humor when he put comedian Dave Chappelle on the cover of his 2014 single, “Breakfast Can Wait,” dressed as Prince. The idea came from Chappelle’s 2004 sketch, “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories – Prince,” from his Comedy Central show, Chappelle’s Show.
In the sketch, Charlie Murphy, the older brother of Eddie Murphy, recounts how Prince (played by Chappelle) challenged him and his friends to a basketball game. Reminder: Prince stood 5 feet 2 inches, but the man could play ball.
Watch the sketch that inspired the cover.
Cuba Gooding Jr. Break Danced on Stage With Prince
Prince frequently invites his celebrity friends on stage to dance at his concerts and Cuba Gooding Jr. got his chance during a performance at The Forum in Los Angeles. Gooding Jr. pulled off his best moves, but years later, those same moves in the club nearly broke his ankle.
Jimmy Fallon Dared Prince to Perform at the ‘SNL 40’ After Party
The SNL 40 after party may go down as the greatest Hollywood party of the century. Fallon quickly became the party’s MC and performed with Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, Bill Murray and many more, but his greatest accomplishment may have been getting Prince to come up and sing a song.
A few drinks in on the night, The Tonight Show host nearly made it impossible for Prince to turn down the request to play when Fallon shouted into the mic, “Prince, if you’re here, I dare you to come up on stage.” Very subtle. Luckily for Fallon and the everyone else at the party, Prince obliged and performed, “Let’s Go Crazy.”
(Skip to 7:15 in the video above for the Prince story)