Chris Kattan may have looked a little stiff on the premiere of Dancing with the Stars, but he has a very good reason. The 46-year-old comedian and SNL alum has revealed that he broke his neck more than 20 years ago and that his recovery has been an ongoing ordeal.
“I broke my neck and I had four surgeries regarding that the last 20 years basically,” Kattan told People after the DWTS Season 24 premiere. “One in my back, one through the throat … I had to be careful for a really long time.”
Kattan, 46, refused to elaborate on the details of his injury, but he did add that it was the result of “a stunt thing.”
When pressed to give more information on his injury, Chris told reporters, “I can’t get into it.”
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While he declined to talk about exactly how he broke his neck, Chris Kattan did share that it was “embarrassing” to be out of the spotlight for extended periods of time after his multiple surgeries.
“When you have surgery, you’re out of commission for months,” Chris said. “It’s embarrassing. You can’t go out in public.”
Chris Kattan has made headlines in the past for his sometimes bizarre behavior, which he has blamed on the painkillers he was prescribed after surgery. Kattan was also arrested for a prescription drug-related DUI in 2014.
With four scary surgeries under his belt, Kattan revealed that he would not have been able to compete on Dancing with the Stars five or 10 years ago (he has been asked to do the show twice before), but the comedian said he’s now ready to go.
“At that time I wasn’t ready for it yet, physically,” Chris revealed. “I had to be at the right level of health and spirit and all that. [Now] it’s perfect timing.”
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Chris Kattan was the lowest scorer on the season premiere of DWTS despite being paired with former mirrorball champ Witney Carson. Kattan admitted it was hard for him to hear judge Carrie Ann Inaba tell him his moves were stiff.
“It’s hard for me to not be stiff,” Chris said.
Kattan’s partner told People a broken neck is such a serious injury, so she’s a little scared to push Chris too hard. Still, the DWTS pro dancer described Kattan as “fearless.”
Chris Kattan is best known for his seven seasons on Saturday Night Live, but he’s also considered to be a royal heir in the comedy world. In an interview earlier this year with Paste magazine, Kattan revealed that his father, Kip King, was a founding member of famed improv troupe the Groundlings.
While he’s booked on DWTS for at least another week (the first elimination takes place next Monday, and Kattan’s low score of 17 out of 40 could easily make him the first celeb sent packing), Chris Kattan still headlines comedy shows across the country several times a year.
“If I were to remain sheltered, as most people are in Los Angeles—as an actor—you are in a bubble of some sort,” Kattan told Paste. “When you go out there (to perform in front of audiences), you become the big fish in all these little ponds… and those are the people that really count.”
— Roc Buzz (@rocbuzz) February 10, 2017
Incidentally, Chris Kattan is not the only Dancing with the Stars contender to suffer a broken neck. Last year, bull rider Bonner Bolton suffered a life-threatening broken neck injury after he was bucked off a bull and was temporarily paralyzed. Bolton is partnered with pro dancer Sharna Burgess.
Take a look at the video below to see Chris Kattan’s “Night at the Roxbury”-themed cha-cha with Witney Carson on Dancing with the Stars.
[Featured Image by Larry Busacca/Getty Images]