What better way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain than this: Saturday Night Live announced Tuesday that Prince will fill the role of musical guest on the show’s November 1st episode. The rocker will be joined by his backing band 3rdEyeGirl, with whom Prince recorded his two new albums Art Official Age and PlectrumElectrum. Chris Rock will host the episode, which marks the comedian’s first SNL visit in 18 years.
The SNL gig is Prince’s third time performing on the long-running sketch series: He last played 3121‘s “Fury” and “Beautiful, Loved and Blessed” in 2006. That performance came 25 years after Prince made his Saturday Night Live debut, when he busted out Dirty Mind‘s “Party Up” back in 1981 on an episode featuring guest host Charlene Tilton of Dallas fame.
Rock served as an Saturday Night Live cast member from 1990 to 1993. Unlike other SNL ex-pats like Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon and, most recently, Bill Hader, who routinely return to guest host the show, Rock didn’t stop by Studio 8H regularly after his SNL tenure ended. He did guest host an episode back in 1996 with musical guest the Wallflowers – but that was the last chapter in his SNL history until his upcoming appearance. Rock’s return after 18 years means that the comedian can finally resurrect one of his best SNL sketches, “The Dark Side with Nat X.”
While most people probably associate Prince more with Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappelle thanks to this skit, Rock also has some history with Prince: The comedian interviewed Prince back in 1997 during “The Artist” phase, with the two discussing rap lyrics, artistic freedom and Prince’s rivalry with Michael Jackson.
Saturday Night Live previously announced that Jim Carrey and Iggy Azalea would appear on its October 25th episode.