Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP
Chris Kattan, previously an actor on NBC’s popular ‘Saturday Night Live,’ is reportedly alleging in an upcoming memoir that part of a sketch on the show was to blame for a life-altering injury.
Kattan says a fall he took in filming the show’s May 12, 2001 episode broke his neck, nearly paralyzing him and resulting in an addiction to pain medication.
The 48-year-old comedian first mentioned the injury in his time on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2017 when questioned about his stiff movement.
According to Variety, however, Kattan has never spoken about SNL’s involvement in the injury.
Set to release on Tuesday, May 7, “Baby Don’t Hurt Me: Stories and Scars from ‘Saturday Night Live’” is reportedly Kattan’s first attempt to tell the full story.
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“Even today, I still can’t open my hand wide enough to use my fingers normally on the keyboard. The impact that my injury and subsequent surgeries had on my career was immense, but more importantly, the fallout proved to be devastating to some of the closest relationships in my life,” Kattan wrote.
According to Variety, Kattan says executive producer Lorne Michaels and producer Ken Aymong had promised to “take care of it” when he indicated he had hit his head hard after falling backward in an old chair while filming — a move the actor was supposed to make for laughs during a sketch.
Kattan claims that “he questioned the safety of the move, and asked the props department for a different chair — but it never came.”
He also added that the producers had recommended the doctor he first saw, and that NBC even paid for the first two of his five surgeries.
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Variety suggests, however, that Kattan himself did not present proof of these payments.
A spokesman at NBC told Variety that there is no record of any such claims, and various production staff members directly named by Kattan in the memoir report having no memory of the event.
“NBC had stopped paying my medical costs after the second surgery. The ‘SNL’ family I was part of had stopped taking care of me, and soon I wasn’t able to pay for everything myself. But I never really fought for myself or demanded anything,” Kattan wrote.
“I never wanted to be that person: spending my life debilitated and fighting a network. I wanted to hide everything, pretending I was okay and in good enough shape to be go out in public and be social.”
“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,” he concluded.
According to the actor, however, the injury itself resulted in strained relationships despite attempts to hide it.
This coupled with a lack of care from NBC apparently led to Kattan feeling “marginalized” in his final two years with SNL — leading him to leave in 2003.
“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.
The actor says that after a “dark time” in his life, it simply felt good to tell his story — regardless of the fact that he can no longer be compensated or the network’s likely refutation of his claims.
“I tried to tell the truth,” Kattan said. “It feels good to just finally say everything about it. I don’t think it really hurts anybody, it’s just something I needed to say.”
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