Karina Rykman has been a full-time bassist since 2016, but she came out of “guitar retirement” this week to sub in for The 8G Band‘s Seth Jabour on Late Night with Seth Meyers—just in time for Tracy Morgan to try to buy her childhood guitar on the air.

When Meyers asked the comedian for his thoughts on the recent election, Morgan explained that he had won the office of King of New York and now rules over four of the city’s five boroughs—”Everything except Staten Island,” he noted. “That’s Wu-Tang’s territory.” His new regime will also make him head coach of the New York Giants, who he plans to improve by serving the team knishes for lunch.

As the banter between the two Saturday Night Live alums moved to Morgan’s failed Black Panther audition (“They said I looked like Garfield with my tights on”), something across the stage caught his eye. Ignoring a question from Seth, Tracy Morgan asked, “How much you selling that guitar for?” The camera cut to a smiling Karina as Meyers pleaded, “Would you please stop trying to buy the instruments?”

Tracy wasn’t having it. “I need to buy a guitar!” he protested with a shrug, adding, “If she ever got on crack she’ll sell that for $20. … Let’s not act like crack don’t exist. My aunt was on crack, man. She bought me a GameBoy for Christmas one day and then she stole it. And then she helped me look for it. All crackheads do that.”

“That’s a lovely Christmas story,” Meyers quipped.

Karina Rykman told Live For Live Music that she didn’t actually hear Tracy Morgan’s proposition while taping the episode. “On the show, we write all the music we’re going to play for commercial breaks and guest walk-ons that morning,” she said. “The MD, Eli, plays us a snippet of what song is coming next in our in-ear monitors—and that’s exactly what was happening while Tracy was asking to buy my guitar. None of us had any clue what he was saying because we were listening to a snippet of music during it!”

“After the show,” Karina continued, “[Tracy] gave me a huge hug and said, ‘YOU KNOW YOU SHREDDED IT MAMA!’ It wasn’t until I was watching at home that I saw the whole bit about him wanting to buy my guitar. I spat out my Cheerios laughing.”

Even if she had heard the offer, she likely would have declined for sentimental reasons. The Gibson Explorer in question, she explained, was her first “real” guitar, a birthday gift from her parents when she turned 15. While most fans know her as a bassist, she started playing guitar first, at age 12. She picked up the bass soon after and played both for many years—”guitar in some bands, bass in others,” she said. “It wasn’t until I got the Marco Benevento gig at age 22 that I figured I really should buckle down and commit to bass.”

Rykman still dabbles in six-string gigs from time to time. Thursday’s Late Night episode was her second straight night filling in on guitar for the 8G Band. On Wednesday, she played a Collings semi-hollow that she borrowed from Melt guitarist Marlo Shankweiler.

In 2021, she played her Gibson Zoot Suit SG at The Capitol Theatre as part of an all-star HeadCount benefit show. That guitar, she says, is on semi-permanent loan to her trio’s guitarist, Adam November. In 2017, she strummed an acoustic guitar as part of a Julia Michaels performance on The Today Show.

Rykman’s substitute 8G Band guitarist gig materialized following her three-night stint in the Late Night band in September, during which she filled in for regular bassist Syd Butler.

Watch Tracy Morgan try to relieve Karina Rykman of her guitar on Late Night with Seth Meyers (beginning at 3:35), view some photos of her playing the instrument through the years, and check out a clip of her playing the lick from Phish‘s “First Tube” on the Tracy-coveted Explorer ahead of the taping below. For a list of upcoming Karina Rykman tour dates, head here.

Tracy Morgan Is The King Of New York, Wants To Buy Karina Rykman’s Guitar