'SNL' alum Chris Kattan weighs in on cancel culture: ‘You can’t be outrageous anymore’

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Chris Kattan has been keeping busy doing things his way.

The “Saturday Night Live” alum is starring in the theater-film hybrid “Famous,” which exposes the tale of fictional A-list celebrity Jason Mast who must push “the boundaries of friendship to reveal the true cost of fame.”

Written and directed by Michael Leoni, “Famous” also stars CJ Valleroy, Brooke Butler and Josh Pafchek.

“I like drama and when I’m offered something dramatic, that’s really cool,” the comedian told Fox News. “The [film] was originally a play and I loved the approach. The director wanted to use the same actors that were in the play and they were already so close with each other. They had such amazing energy, and it was really great to be a part of that. I do stand-up a lot, which is a solo thing, so it’s really neat when I get to work with other people and [the script] happens to be dramatic.”

Chris Kattan is starring in the new film ‘Famous’.
(Kandoo Films)

Still, the 51-year-old hasn’t forgotten his comedic roots. Before finding fame, he was a member of The Groundlings in Los Angeles where his father, Kip King, served as a founding member. The theatre and school, first established in 1974, has launched the careers of numerous stars, such as Paul Reubens, Jon Lovitz, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Coolidge, and Jimmy Fallon – just to name a few.

Then from 1996 until 2011, Kattan starred in “SNL” where he did impressions of Bill Gates, Ben Affleck, Al Pacino and Queen Elizabeth II among others. He also played notable characters, including Mango, Mr. Peepers and one-half of the dim-witted “Roxbury” brothers.

Kattan said he has seen recent episodes of “SNL” and thinks it’s “great.”

“[The cast] works so well together,” he said. “I love seeing that chemistry. It’s making me laugh a lot lately and it’s great that they’re allowing guests to poke fun at themselves or to just show how funny they can be too. ‘SNL’ has this great sixth sense when they can tell if someone is genuinely funny, but they haven’t had the chance to show an audience that, let alone the world. Like, look at Harry Styles. Who would have thought? ‘SNL’ allows the person to have a space where they can be funny. And it’s neat that we’re seeing that more with the guests.”

Chris Kattan played numerous characters on ‘Saturday Night Live’ including Mango (seen here).
(Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

As for today’s cancel culture, Kattan admitted he isn’t fazed by it because he’s not “a provocative person.” The star noted he relies on self-deprecating humor and focuses more on creating characters than stirring headlines.

“I write and direct shorts, but it’s really family-friendly,” he explained. “You just need to think about what a family would like because we’re all in this same space together. Because of COVID, we went back to the people we love and we spent more time together at home. And I think with humor, if you can look at any age or sex and they’re laughing, then I think you’re in the right place when it comes to comedy. And that’s where I almost always have been. My humor is family-friendly.”

“The reality is that right now, everyone has to be careful about what they say or do,” he continued. “But [I’m] already careful… I naturally don’t swear. I say things like ‘what the frick’ or ‘dang it’ and ‘darn it.’ I don’t know why, it’s just a strange habit. Even my mom was like, ‘You’re not swearing so much lately.’ I know it’s weird.”

Kattan noted that comedy has changed over the years and performers need to be mindful of what works for today’s audiences.

Comedian Chris Kattan performs during his appearance at Flappers Comedy Club And Restaurant Burbank on November 12, 2021, in Burbank, California.
(Photo by Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images)

“If you want to do something funny, you can’t be outrageous anymore,” he said. “You do have to be careful, but I think family-friendly is the way to go right now. And that’s the kind of humor I like anyway. And that’s the humor I like doing.”

Kattan previously wrote a memoir in 2019 titled “Baby, Don’t Hurt Me,” where he described a life-changing injury that he claimed he sustained on “SNL.” According to Kattan, a sketch that aired in 2001 required him to fall back in a chair. However, he landed hard on the stage and broke his neck. In the years following his injury, and the multiple surgeries that came with it, he suffered career struggles and was faced with opioid addiction.

But over the years, Kattan has relied on his love of comedy to help him through his injury and addiction. In addition to stand-up and his new film “Famous,” Kattan has a new sketch comedy show on YouTube, titled “Hey Kattan!”.

“I get to do a new video every week and it’s been really fun to do,” he said. “That’s where I’m starting.”

‘Famous’ is currently in theaters and Video on Demand.

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