When Prince Shared a ‘Great Moment’ with George Lopez on Late-Night TV
After Prince died in April 2016, comedian George Lopez made headlines for lending money to the Purple One’s family as they sorted through legal matters. He also opened up about his friendship with the superstar during an appearance on morning news show Good Day L.A. “I had a couple of great moments with Prince,” Lopez said. “If he liked you, you felt very special.”
One of those moments occurred in 2011 when Prince visited the Lopez Tonight talk show to promote his 21-night “Welcome 2 America” residency at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. During the April 13 broadcast, Prince performed two songs, “The Beautiful Ones” (with ballet dancer Misty Copeland) and “Laydown,” and surprised viewers by sitting down for a relaxed interview with Lopez.
Charming and funny, Prince discussed everything from his aversion to cursing, vegetarian lifestyle and the “golden age” of music during the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. He also showed off the custom gold-plated Fender Stratocaster guitar he auctioned off for $100,000 to benefit the Harlem Children’s Zone. (Racing car driver Lewis Hamilton eventually became the proud owner.)
All the while, Lopez kept him in stitches. “You ever just kick it and go to Olive Garden with a sweatsuit on?” Lopez asked. “I don’t own a sweat suit,” Prince replied.
A staunch advocate for artists’ rights, Prince also criticized Ticketmaster and compulsory licensing, which allows people to cover songs without the original songwriters’ consent — provided they pay a royalty. “It’s OK when my friends ask to do them, [though],” Prince said.
Ironically, Prince, along with the New Power Generation and Sheila E., covered D. Train’s 1981 hit “You’re the One for Me” in an unaired, show-closing performance. During the song, which included a Latin interlude, Lopez danced onstage with actress Rosario Dawson and even played percussion. Prince also briefly played a snare drum strapped to his body.
At one point in the Lopez Tonight interview, Prince said he admired the comedian's sparkly, purple shoes, so Lopez later gave him a custom pair — complete with a heel. But that wasn’t the only gift he sent Prince over the years: In addition to buying him a purple fedora, Lopez had a T-shirt made featuring the line, “Chaka Khan stole my sweater,” taken from a classic bit during his Showtime special, Why You Crying?
Lopez told Good Day L.A. that Prince surprised him by wearing the shirt onstage at a show.
“At the end, he ends up right in front of us,” Lopez said. “He throws the guitar behind him and opens his jacket [revealing the shirt].”
Prince also returned the favor with a present of his own. Eager to share his Jehovah’s Witness faith, the musician once dropped off some religious literature to the comedian’s house — but Lopez got food poisoning before they could meet to discuss it further. “He thought that the devil intervened our meeting by making me sick so that I couldn’t get the word,” Lopez told Good Day L.A. “I think he was right.”
But nothing stopped Prince from appearing on Lopez Tonight, which the host considered an honor. When he asked why Prince chose his show, the superstar replied, “The first time I was on the ALMA [American Latino Media Arts] Awards, you showed me love there. Also, I find that this show represents all people.”