Fans Angry Over Silly Prince Skits in ‘Saturday Night Live’ Tribute

Fred Armisen’s impersonation of pop star was revived in clip special

“Saturday Night Live” did a Prince tribute show that is getting mixed reviews.

Fans are complaining on Twitter about the second half of this week’s broadcast, which ended with a compilation of old sketches built around “The Prince Show,” featuring former cast member Fred Armisen impersonating the pop star.

The tribute show started off with an intro from an emotional Jimmy Fallon:

It moved into a series of memorable SNL performances by the late icon, who died on Thursday at the age of 57. Included was a bootleg of an invitation-only jam that Prince did for “SNL’s” 40th anniversary show, with former cast members Fallon and Maya Rudolph, among others, joining onstage for “Let’s Go Crazy.”

But when they ran out of Prince’s musical material, the NBC show turned to its vault of sketches that spoofed the musician — to the dismay of many fans. A series of sketches showed Armisen doing his doe-eyed Prince impersonation, opposite Maya Rudolph as Beyonce and, in one bit, Shia LaBeouf as Tobey Maguire (seen in the video at the top of this post).

Coincidentally, Armisen visited TheWrap offices in Santa Monica, CA, on Sunday and shared his love of the late rock superstar. “I have never stopped loving Prince,” he said, recalling that he went to several Prince concerts growing up, including a 1986 show.

When the topic of his SNL skits came up, Armisen called them “a love letter” to the musician, whom he met through the show. “I’m so grateful for that moment,” he said of the time he finally met Prince. “I can’t believe I was in the same room as him.”

The video for “Raspberry Beret” stood out to the comedic actor as a favorite Prince memory. “It was easy to take him for granted,” he said, noting he thought Prince would always be around. “I’m not special in missing him in anyway… but it’s a definite feeling for sure.”

Here is a sampling of the vitriol against SNL’s choice to air the Armisen skits: