Chris Kattan’s Life-Changing Injuries

Chris Kattan

Getty Chris Kattan in 2018.

Chris Kattan is an actor and comedian who was a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” from 1996 to 2003.

Kattan’s recurring characters on “Saturday Night Live” included Mango, a male stripper and exotic dancer. He went on to do movies, most notably “A Night At The Roxbury” with Will Ferrell, and appeared as Bob on the television series, “The Middle.”

In 2022, it was announced that Kattan would be joining the cast of the CBS reality show “Celebrity Big Brother.” His previous reality television appearances include competing on season 24 of “Dancing with the Stars” in 2017.

While a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars,” Kattan received criticism for being “stiff.” However, it wasn’t lack of confidence or dancing prowess that made Kattan stiff onstage, but a neck injury that he’s spent the last 20 years recovering from.

Kattan Says He Broke His Neck On ‘Saturday Night Live’

In 2019, Kattan released a memoir titled “Baby, Don’t Hurt Me: Stories and Scars from Saturday Night Live.” In the book, he claims that he broke his neck and injured his spinal cord during a May 12, 2001 episode of “Saturday Night Live (SNL).”

As he tells it, he threw himself backward on a chair during a “Golden Girls” parody, hitting his head hard on the stage. In an interview with Variety, Kattan said that NBC paid for two of the five surgeries he would later need as a result of his injuries. But NBC and “SNL” insiders told Variety there was no record of Kattan injuring himself on the show.

“Had I known how everything would end up I would have been better off saying something about it, as opposed to being quiet because I thought it would get in the way of work,” Kattan told Variety. “It’s a different day and age where people if they get any injury or harassment or anything, it’s a good time to say anything about it. This is not too long ago but it was more of a faux pas to say anything, especially if it has to do with your showbiz family.”

“As a physical comedian, I had always been worried about waking up with a whole different body one day,” Kattan writes in his memoir. “That fear became my reality. After those forty-five seconds on the ‘SNL’ stage in May of 2001, my body would never, ever be the same.”

Kattan Says Painkillers for His Injuries Were Behind His DUI Arrest

In 2014, Kattan was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs in the San Fernando Valley. In a 2017 interview with PEOPLE, Kattan explained that he was on pain medications for a recent surgery due to his injury when the arrest occurred.

“I drove and I fell asleep and I hit a car. I hit a parked trans car on the 101 freeway,” Kattan told the outlet. “When I crashed my car, I actually got out and ran to the police. Nobody pulled me over, nobody stopped me. I said, ‘Hey, I just crashed my car back up there. You might want to report it.'”

Kattan also told the outlet that he hid his condition from friends, colleagues, and even his agents and managers. He recalled that his father, also an actor, had once lost a job on a sitcom because he couldn’t do a trampoline stunt.

“I was hiding because I was embarrassed. People would ask, ‘Why were you so late?’ or ‘Why didn’t you come?’ and I didn’t want to tell them, ‘It’s because I couldn’t tie my shoe,'” Kattan told PEOPLE. “It was embarrassing to say I needed help, so I would just stay home.”

How Is Kattan’s Neck Injury Now?

As recently as June 2021, Kattan was still suffering from lingering neck pain due to his 2001 injury. In June, TMZ reported that Kattan had been removed from an American Airlines flight for not wearing a mask. Witnesses said that Kattan seemed sick and was stumbling.

Kattan’s attorney, Samuel Joshua Smith, told TMZ, “We strongly deny that Mr. Kattan would ever refuse to wear a mask. Mr. Kattan is fully vaccinated and unequivocally supports CDC guidelines. This past Monday Mr. Kattan was returning to Los Angeles from a successful tour of comedy shows. Unfortunately, Mr. Kattan suffered a strong allergic reaction to supplements he has been taking to treat lingering neck pain from his injury on ‘SNL’. This reaction affected his balance and psychological state. The effects also caused him to have trouble breathing.”

“Celebrity Big Brother,” on which Kattan is a contestant, premieres on February 2, 2022, on CBS and Paramount Plus. The show involves physical challenges, which could prove difficult for Kattan. However, mental challenges, strategy, and social prowess are also large components of the game. You don’t have to be a “comp beast” to win “Celebrity Big Brother.”

READ NEXT: Todd Bridges Says His Rough Past Prepared Him for ‘Celebrity Big Brother’

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