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‘SNL’ alum Chris Kattan transforms Baltimore comedy club into ‘Night at the Roxbury’

տ's Jason Fraley previews Chris Kattan in Maryland (Part 1)

He needs more cowbell, with his head still bobbing from The Roxbury all the way to Baltimore.

In this Nov. 11, 2009 file photo, actor Chris Kattan arrives at Puma's African Bazaar event in Los Angeles. (AP/Matt Sayles)

Comedian Chris Kattan brings his live standup comedy tour to in Timonium, Maryland, this Friday, July 5, and Saturday, July 6.

“We’ve been touring throughout the country,” Kattan told տ. “I’ve been touring for the last eight or nine years, so it’s relatively new material and a mix of old material. … I steer clear of politics. I like more self-deprecating humor and things that just make me laugh and hopefully make the audience laugh. … I’m gonna go out with my fiancee a day or two early prior to the standup date because we’re gonna spend the Fourth of July out there.”

Born in the Culver City neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1970, Kattan mostly grew up with his mother in Washington state. He eventually moved back to L.A. to join the iconic comedy troupe The Groundlings, which was cofounded in 1975 by his father, Kip King, who was also multiple voices on “The Smurfs” (1981-1989).

“He used to take me to the rehearsals, classes and of course the actual shows,” Kattan said. “That was really special … to see him perform with Paul Reubens creating Pee-wee Herman, Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz. … That’s why I came up wanting to be a Groundling. … Our group was quite a few people: Mike McDonald from MADtv who played that character Stuart; Cheri Oteri, Will Ferrell and Jennifer Coolidge were the main people in our group.”

Soon, Kattan moved to New York City to audition for “Saturday Night Live,” joining the cast from 1996 to 2003.

“I had never been to New York in my life, so the first time I ever set foot on the ground of New York was the day that I auditioned for ‘Saturday Night Live,'” Kattan said. “I did do Mr. Peepers with a boombox and narrated what I was doing, so I crouched on a stool and I ate an apple and spit it out and did the whole thing. I did a few other characters … then I did an impression of Christian Slater interviewing a vampire from ‘Interview with a Vampire.'”

Kattan also created the flamboyant role of Mango, inspired by Marlene Dietrich in “The Blue Angel” (1930).

“Mango was based on a stripper that would mesmerize people that would come visit him and make people crazy with his incredible powers that he had as a dancer,” Kattan said. “That was part of the magic of Mango. It was a really silly character, but people seemed to like it, so it became reoccurring. … All sexes and all different types of people loved Mango, they fell in love with Mango and no one could understand why.”

His most famous role was one half of the Butabi Brothers with Will Ferrell, bobbing their heads to Haddaway’s “What is Love?” Not only did Jim Carrey join them for an episode of “SNL,” it actually became a big-screen movie with “A Night at the Roxbury” (1998), though Kattan insists that he doesn’t have any residual neck damage.

“It’s not in a permanent bob, it’s fine, I could still bob my head if need be, if you were to request for me to do it at a kid’s birthday party or try to get attention at a wedding or something,” Kattan said. “I’d rather not do it, that would cause a lot of attention, so I steer clear of it. I try to avoid places that play (the song). Sometimes, I’ll go to a restaurant and they’ll start playing the music, and I just know some waiter or some staff decided to play that song.”

Still, his most iconic sketch remains “More Cowbell,” spoofing Blue Öyster Cult alongside Chris Parnell, Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz and Will Ferrell, who was told repeatedly by Christopher Walken, “I need more cowbell.”

“We had no idea,” Kattan said. “We were just in the moment doing what we should be doing and that is performing in a sketch and just doing our roles as scripted. We were just doing the scene and had no sense of foreshadowing. We’re not fortunetellers that this is gonna be a big hit, there’s no way to do that. We just found out way later that it became so popular. I heard that Christopher Walken isn’t very fond of being told to say, ‘More cowbell.'”

After leaving “SNL” in 1993, Kattan starred in 56 episodes of the ABC sitcom “The Middle” (2009-2014), played a prime minister in “Sharknado 5” (2017) and voiced an alligator in Adam Sandler’s animated flick “Leo” (2023). Through it all, he really enjoys his standup comedy tours, often bringing audience members up on stage.

“It should be a great weekend,” Kattan said. “Everybody who needs something to do this weekend, it’s Fourth of July weekend, so treat it like a vacation and go out, have some fun, have some drinks, bring a date or bring your wife or bring a friend or whatever. You’ll have a blast, so please do come to the show, you’ll have a great time.”

տ's Jason Fraley previews Chris Kattan in Maryland (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation on the podcast below:

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at տ as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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