Thesp to focus on film career in L.A.
Say goodbye to Mango and Mr. Peepers: Chris Kattan is ankling “Saturday Night Live” after seven seasons.
Kattan will make his final appearance as an “SNL” regular on the show’s May 17 season finale. Exit also means the end of characters including the exotic dancer Mango and the apple-chomping half-simian Mr. Peepers, as well as Gay Hitler, “Goth Talk” co-host Azrael Abyss and the “How You Say, Oh Yes” guy.
Another famous Kattan character, Roxbury club-loving Doug Butabi, disappeared when Will Ferrell exited last season.
Departure of Kattan and Tracy Morgan (whose NBC laffer pilot is all but certain to snag a greenlight) makes Darrell Hammond the only remaining member of “SNL’s” pivotal classes of 1995-96 and 1996-97 — two seasons that, in addition to Kattan and Morgan, featured the bows of such series heavyweights as Ferrell, Cheri Oteri and Molly Shannon.
Kattan said he and “SNL” exec producer Lorne Michaels have been discussing Kattan’s future with the show for the past few weeks. Comic-thesp told Michaels of his final decision earlier this week.
“All great things must come to an end, and this seemed like a great time to leave,” Kattan told Daily Variety. “You can’t do seven seasons of college, and you always want to leave when you’re still loving the show and not bitter.”
Besides, Kattan added, “I got to spit apple in Tom Hanks’ face and swatted J.Lo’s butt. It’s time to move on.”
Kattan, who most recently co-starred in “Undercover Brother,” plans to move back to Los Angeles and focus on his feature career.
Projects in the works include comedy “The Eighth Wonder” for Danny DeVito’s Jersey Films. Kattan and Heide Perlman are writing the script for the pic, which would have Kattan playing a man who can endure extreme physical pain.
Thesp is also developing the physical comedy “Sucker” at Par with producer Donald De Line, and he is set to add his vocal talents to the animated feature “Delgo,” which stars Val Kilmer, Michael Clarke Duncan and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
In addition to “Undercover Brother,” Kattan starred in 2001’s “Corky Romano” and the “SNL” spinoff film “A Night at the Roxbury.”
Kattan, repped by Endeavor and 3 Arts, said he owed Michaels a major debut of gratitude for hiring him on to “SNL.”
“Without him I’d probably be lap-dancing on the subway or working at Origins,” he said.
Michaels said Kattan “has just had a great season, and I’m sorry to see him go. I wish him luck, and I know we’ll see him again soon.”