Chapelle explained that he contemplated not showing up that night, but his band told him, “‘Yo, Prince would definitely not condone that.’ And now there is no place I’d rather be.”
Taking the stage, Chappelle told the audience that “this is the black 9/11.” He said he only heard of Prince’s death after media outlets began calling him for comment.
“I’ll tell you what: I didn’t know him well, but I knew him well,” he said.
Chappelle and Prince became intertwined after the comedian portrayed Prince in one of the most famous sketches from his Comedy Central series “Chappelle’s Show.”
Prince clearly took the joke in stride. In fact, he one-upped Chappelle by using an image of him in his Prince get-up, holding a plate of pancakes, as the cover art for 2013’s “Breakfast Can Wait.”
Chappelle admitted defeat in a 2014 interview with Jimmy Fallon.
“That’s a Prince judo move right there,” Chappelle said. “You make fun of Prince in a sketch and he’ll just use you in his album cover. … That’s checkmate right there.”
Chappelle is one of many to pay tribute to Prince over the weekend. “Saturday Night Live” dedicated a “Goodnight Sweet Prince” tribute to the musician, and Bruce Springsteen opened his Boston show with a cover of “Purple Rain.”