Imagine seeing one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters and hearing your name mentioned — something that will never happen to most of us, but did happen to comedian Chris Kattan recently, after he went to see Jordan Peele‘s Nope. “I remember sitting in the theater thinking, ‘Oh my god, that is nuts, that is so crazy,’” he tells Consequence. “I couldn’t believe it.”
The Oscar-winning director’s newest film is a horror sci-fi tale, but it’s packed with real-life references mixed in with fiction. Perhaps the hallmark example of this comes when former child star Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun) is asked about a horrific on-set incident in which a chimp starring on the fictional sitcom Gordy’s Home attacked the show’s cast and crew. Rather than recount the event from his own (traumatized) perspective, he instead recaps a (fictional) 1998 Saturday Night Live sketch inspired by it.
As the year of the sketch was 1998, Peele’s attention to detail means that as Jupe describes the sketch, he mentions not just Party of Five‘s Scott Wolf as the host (which Wolf did actually do on March 7th, 1998) but active SNL cast members from that period, calling out, in particular, Chris Kattan as the cast member who played the violent chimp.
If you were wondering, “Did Jordan Peele tell people in advance about being mentioned?” the answer is no — at least in Kattan’s case. Kattan says that he first found out about his Nope name-drop from an article in the Los Angeles Times, “a specific article about the character Gordy being linked to a character I did on Saturday Night Live.”
But the article didn’t go into detail about what specifically the movie said about him: “All I knew was that there was some mention of my name in the film and that was pretty much it,” he says. So he actually went to Twitter, where he says he found comments consisting of quotes from the film: “Some people were saying ‘Chris Kattan crushed it,’ ‘Chris Goddamn Kattan,’ different variations of what was said.”
So he didn’t have the full context for the reference until actually seeing the film, though he says that he wasn’t concerned about it potentially being an unfavorable mention. “I figured that someone would have told me that it was negative,” he says.