Baby Don’t Hurt Me: Stories and Scars from Saturday Night Live
Chris Kattan’s memoir, Baby Don’t Hurt Me is agreeable enough in the beginning. It recounts his early days in the Groundlings with Will Farrell and his by-the-skin-of-his-teeth casting on Saturday Night Live. Through Kattan, we get plenty of glimpses of the legendary and infamously odd Lorne Michaels, who seems every bit as opaque and unusual as his reputation suggests. As he regales the reader with tales from SNL–the stress, the self-doubt, the anxiety, the fun–he sprinkles in cameos from the likes of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes to Rob Lowe and Jeff Goldblum. And then there’s his series of famous girlfriends, including Zooey Deschanel and the Jane who inspired Maroon Five’s Songs About Jane. All of which is fun, light reading.
But the book takes a severe turn when Kattan breaks his neck during one of his SNL skits. Initially refusing major surgery, Kattan tries to grit his teeth and continue on as if nothing were wrong, but soon the growing nerve damage leaves him hunched and with limited use of his left hand, arm, and leg. In eerily Buster-Keaton-style, Kattan’s injury and numerous subsequent surgeries lead to a painkiller addiction that then overlaps with cocaine addiction. After exiting SNL, Kattan struggles with the immense toll of his injury–the addiction, the pain, the humiliation of depending on the good-will of a girlfriend to bathe and dress you, the increasingly waning patience of friends and co-workers. And then, in the midst of it all, his father becomes deathly ill. By its conclusion, you have an understanding of why Kattan felt compelled to write his memoir: he’s been through some sh*t. A lot more than I or likely most casual observers were aware of. He deserves to say his piece and to have us listen.
|Page Count||270 pages|
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|Category||Biographies & Memoirs|