For 18 years, Chris Kattan has safeguarded a secret that he is finally ready to share. He says he broke his neck while performing a sketch on “Saturday Night Live” in 2001. The accident nearly paralyzed him and led to years of addiction struggles that sidetracked his career.
In his new book titled “Baby Don’t Hurt Me: Stories and Scars from Saturday Night Live,” Kattan reveals his injury took place during the show’s May 12, 2001, episode. In one sketch, he writes that he fell back in a rickety chair — landing hard on the stage, painfully hitting his head.
The skit, a spoof of “The Golden Girls,” Kattan choked on cheesecake and threw himself backward, hitting the ground hard. Kattan knew right away the injury was something serious but said he kept it to himself because he feared the repercussions for his career. “I went backward on my chair to sell it and I really put myself into the character,”
Kattan first shared news of an old injury while appearing on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2017, in order to explain why he was so stiff while moving around on stage. But he never alleged that it happened on “SNL” — until now.
In the book, Kattan complains that he still suffers the effects of that moment, which can be found as a clip on NBC’s website.
“Even today, I still can’t open my hand wide enough to use my fingers normally on the keyboard,” he wrote. “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.”
“As a physical comedian, I had always been worried about waking up with a whole different body one day,” he wrote. “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.”