Kattan, who appeared on the NBC show between 1996 and 2003, discusses the injury in a new memoir, “Baby, Don’t Hurt Me: Stories and Scars from Saturday Night Live,” which will be published next Tuesday.
According to Variety, he said that the injury occurred during an “MSNBC Investigates” parody sketch about a group of kids who role-play as the “Golden Girls.” At one point, Kattan was supposed to fall backward in his chair, but he said his head hit harder than expected.
As a result, Kattan said, he started feeling pain in his neck that nearly a year later led him to seek medical treatment. He had five surgeries in all, two of which he said NBC paid for.
The initial incident does not appear to have stuck in anyone else’s memory. Variety said it asked several “SNL” insiders but none of them could recall Kattan’s injury, even after they contacted other co-workers to see if they remembered it. And an NBC spokesperson told Variety that the network had no record of any injury claim.
Kattan said he wishes he had spoken up about his injury sooner “as opposed to being quiet because I thought it would get in the way of work.”
These days, he does guest spots on shows like “The Middle” and voiceover work for films like “Hotel Transylvania 2.” But he said he still faces limitations due to his neck injury.
“As a physical comedian, I had always been worried about waking up with a whole different body one day,” Kattan wrote in his book. “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.”