Remembering Prince's appearance on Muppets Tonight in 1997

Publish Date
Thursday, 6 June 2024, 2:10PM

This video of Prince making a guest appearance on Muppets Tonight in 1997 is making the rounds again on social media and we can't get enough of it.

Like its predecessor The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight featured sketches and musical numbers with Kermit, Gonzo and friends interacting with celebrity guests.

The show ran for one season on ABC, but low ratings meant the show moved to Disney Channel for its second and final season.

The first guest on Season Two was Prince, then going by 'The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.'

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Kirk Thatcher, who wrote and produced Prince's episode, shared some of his memories on the Muppet fan site Tough Pigs. "We were very excited that Prince had agreed to do our Muppet comedy and variety show but had been told by his managers and support staff before we met with him that we must never look at him directly or call him anything but 'The Artist,'" he recalled.

"As the writers of the show, we were wondering how we were going to work or collaborate with someone you can’t even look at, especially while trying to create comedy with puppets!"

The episode opens with Prince arriving at the studio lobby and chatting with the show’s security guard, Bobo the Bear.

When the grizzly guard asks for the singer’s name, Prince looks directly at the camera, smiles and says, "This is going to be fun."

The singer’s moniker was a running gag throughout the episode, with Muppet characters often holding up a sign featuring the artist’s unpronounceable symbol logo.

At one point in the episode, Rizzo the rat challenged Prince to write a song about the items on the commissary menu which led to a rather memorable performance of Starfish and Coffee, a colourful track originally featured on Sign O’ the Times.

Kirk also revealed that the episode's closing number, She Gave Her Angels, almost didn't happen as they were running behind schedule. 

"He was having such fun that he changed his flight plans and worked until late that night or early into the next day to shoot it all," Kirk recalled.

"A complete professional in every way and an absolute joy to be around."

Watch the episode above!

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