In a panel on Wednesday evening at the Paley Center for Media in New York, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots members, Questlove and Black Thought, reminisced on their favorite musical guests that appeared on The Tonight Show.
Jimmy had some fond memories of the late musician, who was seemingly “obsessed” with playing him in ping-pong.
“Prince was going to be on the show and his manager calls and goes, ‘Prince wants to play ping pong on the show,’” Jimmy explained. “I go, ‘Okay, I’ve never even played ping-pong on the show but I will. Prince wants to.’”
After a series of indecisive phone calls back and forth, to which Jimmy joked, “I don’t even know why you’re bringing up ping-pong,” Prince’s team finally came to a decision to play off-camera, but that never came to fruition. He did, however, play something else.
During Prince’s guitar tech rehearsal before the show went live, Jimmy recalled Prince missing one key component: his guitar. Turning to The Roots band member, Captain Kirk Douglas, Prince asked if he could play Kirk’s “beautiful, white Epiphone guitar.”
“Kirk’s flipping out like, ‘I can’t believe Prince wants to play my guitar,’” Jimmy told the audience. “He’s trying to be cool and Prince plays, he shreds… finishes the song, throws the guitar to someone to catch. There’s no one there.”
Jimmy then described the brief moment from which Kirk’s face went from excitement to panic, as his guitar landed on the ground and broke in half.
“And then he disappeared,” Jimmy said, joking that it was accompanied by a puff of purple smoke. “But Prince did pay for it.”
A week later, Prince’s manager reached out to Jimmy again and asked if he’d meet Prince at SPiN New York to play ping-pong. With no hesitation, Jimmy agreed.
“I go down to the girl at the front desk and I go, ‘Hi, um I’m here to see—‘ And she goes, ‘Prince? He’s in the special room in the back,’” Jimmy explained. “So I walk in behind the curtain and Prince is standing there in a double breasted suit holding a ping-pong paddle and he goes, ‘You ready to do this?’”
The two played and ultimately, it was Prince who hit the game-winning shot. But when Jimmy turned around from picking up the ball, Prince had disappeared once again.
“I don’t know where he went—I think maybe he’s hiding,” Jimmy explained. “I see the velvet rope and the curtain is kinda moving so I peek my head out and the girl goes, ‘He left.’”
from PEOPLE.com http://people.com/tv/jimmy-fallon-reminisces-prince-paley-fest/