Chris Kattan opened up – a little – about a decade-old accident that injured his neck and spinal cord on Dancing With The Stars, telling viewers that the recovery from his injury almost stopped him from being able to perform comedy.
NOTE: The remainder of this article contains spoilers for the March 27 episode of Dancing With The Stars.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Kattan was initially reluctant to talk about his injury back when this season of DWTS first got going. Viewers noticed that the 46-year-old Saturday Night Live alum appeared a little stiff on the show. As it turns out, it was because of the neck injury he’d suffered 14 years prior.
“I broke my neck and I had four surgeries regarding that the last 20 years basically. One in my back, one through the throat … I had to be careful for a really long time.”
Chris was quick to shut down any further talk about what caused the injury, saying only that it was a “stunt thing” and that he “can’t get into it.”
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In a pre-recorded “package” (in the reality TV industry, a “package” is a pre-produced segment in which someone speaks to the audience, interspersed with video clips and such) that aired before Monday night’s performance with Whitney Carson, an emotional Kattan talked about the way the accident has impacted his life.
“Last week I had a great time, but Carrie Ann [Inaba] said, ‘Try not to be so stiff.’ My first thought was, ‘I don’t know how to do that.'”
Chris later revealed that he’s had four surgeries, to say nothing of the network of rods and screws in his spine. Needless to say, the accident – and recovery – has limited his motion, causing his DWTS performances to be stiff.
In fact, the injuries almost derailed his comedy career.
“Part of what I used to do was physical comedy, but now I can’t. It’s really sad when somebody says, ‘I miss the old Chris.’ That sucks to hear.”
— Elizabeth Bowen (@EEliizaabeeth3) March 28, 2017
Besides having his comedy career almost ruined, the recovery from the injury took a toll on the actor and comedian’s personal life as well. He would later blame the incidents of the prescription painkillers he was taking
In 2014, as TMZ reported at the time, Kattan was arrested for DUI near L.A. after he was seen “weaving all over the roadway at slow speeds.” Police later determined that he was under the influence of prescription painkillers; he was later sentenced to three years’ probation and drug treatment classes, according to a follow-up TMZ report.
Then in 2015, the police were called to Phoenix’ Sky Harbor Airport after a confused Kattan was observed “mumbling” and “nervously walking around the gate,” according to an In Touch Weekly report from the time. Chris later said that he was still feeling the effects of the prescription sleep aid Ambien.
With his personal problems apparently behind him, Chris now views his Dancing With The Stars appearance as something of a comeback.
“Years before, I just physically couldn’t do it. It’s a comeback really. I might not be the best dancer, but I’m just gonna go out there and do what I love doing and have a blast.”
Unfortunately, it seems like the stiffness from his injuries caught up to him in terms of the dance competition: Kattan and his partner were eliminated from the competition. Chris would later go on to say that he wished DWTS producers would have told the TV audience about his neck injury at the beginning of the season, so fans would take that into consideration when they voted.
“It should have been [shown] in the very beginning, so I’m surprised it wasn’t. When I got on the show I was like, ‘The only way I’m going to do the show is if is if they know that, you know, I’ve had surgery and stuff in the past,’ you know?… Otherwise I’m gonna look kinda like a lame-o or whatever.”
Still, Chris calls the experience “amazing” and says he’s glad to have had the opportunity.
[Featured Image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]