Show business lost a lot of beloved stars in 2016, but Prince's death still resonates with many entertainers.
I was chatting with Fred Armisen this past weekend in Los Angeles about how tender he and co-star Carrie Brownstein are towards their characters on IFC's "Portlandia." The conversation naturally segued into the comic's classic impersonation of the rocker on "Saturday Night Live," repeats of which dominated a special tribute episode that aired shortly after his death in April.
Those bits also seemed to come from a place of love.
"They did, 100 percent, because I was a fan," said Armisen. "I've been doing him since college. That was a total salute, a tribute."
Armisen, who is also the bandleader on "Late Night With Seth Meyers," didn't have a personal relationship with Prince, but that didn't stop folks from reaching out to him when the tragic news broke.
"I got all these texts like a family member had died. In a way, it was like a family member had died," he said. "Even now, I'll hear something like 'When Doves Cry' and then remember that he's gone. I still can't believe it sometimes."
Later in the evening, I attended a Hallmark Channel dinner party where I happened to be seated across from actress Holly Robinson Peete, who is frequently in the Twin Cities to promote her fashion line and speak to various groups.
In November, Peete had posted a picture of First Avenue that she took after watching a Timberwolves game, saying that his loss had left "a purple hole" in her heart.
"It was very emotional," she said as the waiters laid down the main course.
Have you ever been inside the nightclub?
"Prince took me!" she said. "He also gave me a tour of Minneapolis." The year was 1992 and Prince had invited the actress/singer to record at Paisley Park, the same year the actress portrayed Diana Ross in a Jackson 5 mini-series. Peete seemed to guess what was going through my mind.
"He was sort of dating Mayte at the time," she said.
Prince and Mayte Garcia would marry in 1996; Peete wed former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete in 1995.
Back at the hotel bar, the house band had the floor moving with a version of Prince's "When You Were Mine."
Big purple holes in everyone's hearts.