Photograph courtesy of Kerry Monteen/IFC
Got a minute? SNL alumnus and funnyman Chris Kattan sounds off about his upcoming IFC musical mini-series Bollywood Hero (which premieres August 6), growing up Zen, and why you should never ask him to do the Roxbury head bob.
Q: In Bollywood Hero, you play a character named Chris Kattan, whose personality is based on your own. Is his frustration about not getting leading-man roles in America a feeling you can relate to?
A: That's the character. Why would I think that I could be that guy on the motorcycle and get the girl and make love to her on the hills?
Q: So why Bollywood?
A: They're just really fun movies. They're campy, you know? It used to be films were to escape reality. Especially, like, during the Depression in the thirties—there were all these big, crazy musicals or fun gangster movies. And I guess third-world countries want to escape still.
Q: There is an episode that includes the Night at the Roxbury head bob. Do people ask you to do that dance in real life?
A: Oh, yeah. Someone did that yesterday in New York. I get it all the time. Then some people get mad, like, "You're not going to do it? You're an asshole." I say, "Oh, okay." They get mad at me for not doing it.
Q: Your father, Kip King, is in the mini-series. Is this the first time you've worked together?
A: I was in a group called the Groundlings, and he was one of the first members. He started off with Paul Reubens, and then came Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz. I grew up watching him on the weekends. I lived with my mom and my step-dad—they were Zen students. On the weekdays, I would be up on a mountain at their Zen retreat. And on the weekends, I would visit my dad, and we'd be in the Groundlings. Clearly I was more attracted to my dad performing with Pee-wee Herman than being back in the mountains, staring at pinecones, going "God help me."
Q: Who did you work with during your days at the Groundlings?
A: There are classes you take in order to get into the main company. It's very hard to get in—harder in many ways than Saturday Night Live. I was there with Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri, Jennifer Coolidge, Lisa Kudrow. Molly Shannon was a waitress right next door, and she was developing Mary Katherine down in Santa Monica.
Q: What was your favorite SNL character to perform?
A: I guess I would say Mango. I don't know. I liked doing the Antonio Banderas "How Do You Say? Ah Yes, Show," because I got to talk about women's breasts, and he was kind of a grounded character. I didn't have to dry-hump anything or eat an apple or bob my head.
Trailer for Bollywood Hero