Prince Once Dusted Jimmy Fallon in Ping Pong Then Vanished After the Match

Charlie Murphy helped changed the general public’s perception of Prince with his hoops-and-pancakes story, but that’s not the only tale of its kind.

Others have anecdotes about the late music legend that speak to his mystique, genius, and down-to-earth sense of humor. No stranger to the somewhat unbelievable but true folklore surrounding Prince, Jimmy Fallon had his own otherworldly experience with the musician.

Jimmy Fallon Prince
Jimmy Fallon during the monologue on September 10, 2020 | NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images; Prince performs at Super Bowl XLI | Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Prince had a reputation for the random

In addition to beating Charlie Murphy in that basketball game of shirts versus blouses, Prince also surprised his brother Eddie Murphy when he showed off his rollerskating skills. The Roots member Questlove invited Murphy to the impromptu skate party which happened late at night after the rink closed.

Prince’s assistant hit up Questlove and told him to bring some friends, and about one dozen people showed up for the intimate hangout where the artist cruised around in clear, light-up skates.

There was also a moment Prince called his friend Lenny Kravitz out of the blue so they could go and crash Michael Jackson’s studio session. The three musicians kicked it and cracked jokes the entire time.

One of Fallon’s first encounters with the purple one was at a concert. Someone from Prince’s team summoned Fallon to the stage to dance and he did it reluctantly. But the singer strutted off the platform and left him there while Questlove played the drums.

Prince defeated Fallon in ping pong and disappeared into thin air

Shortly after Prince’s death in 2016, Fallon spoke about him on his talk show.

Questlove recalled how he relayed a message to Fallon that Prince wanted to play ping pong during his guest appearance on the show. After a series of phone calls, plans, and canceled plans, Prince finally requested a match with Fallon off-camera.

Upon his arrival, he skipped the table they’d set up, performed, and left. He then called Questlove to tell “Jimmy” he’d be there for the ping pong showdown at 12:30 a.m. Fallon made arrangements to meet Prince at one of Susan Sarandon’s table tennis bars the next night.

Prince did his subtle trash-talking thing during the whole game and took the lead. On his final shot, Fallon joked the ball was moving in slow motion with flames on it.

“It hits the edge of the table. He wins the game — the ball goes flying,” he said. “I go back to get the ball. I’m looking for it. I get the ball and I go — and he’s gone,” Fallon remembered.

Amazed he couldn’t find him anywhere in the room, he later found out Prince was already in the car.


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Questlove narrowly missed the showdown

As a late arrival to the late night ping pong duel, Questlove wound up chasing Prince’s car down the street.

Once he caught up with him at the red light and asked about the match, Prince cavalierly said to him, “Ask your boy.” That was the legendary cool nature of Prince, the undefeated.