Chris Kattan Didn’t Know About His ‘Nope’ Mention; His Reaction and the Character That Inspired the Name Drop in Jordan Peele’s Film

Jordan Peele’s Nope is a horror movie that references reality. This includes Ricky “Jupe” Park’s (Steven Yeun) traumatizing childhood experience retold as a skit on Saturday Night Live. Find out how Chris Kattan felt hearing his name in Peele’s latest horror movie, plus details about Kattan’s SNL persona that inspired the horrific story in Nope.

Chris Kattan, who didn't know his name was mentioned in Jordan Peele's 'Nope,' smiles at an event
Chris Kattan | Michael Tran/AFP via Getty Images

‘Saturday Night Live’ comes up in Jordan Peele’s ‘Nope’

Ricky “Jupe” Park is a former child actor turned alien-wrangling cowboy in Nope. As a child, Park experienced a horrific incident on the set of the fictional show Gordy’s Home. One day, after a balloon popped on set, the chimp playing the role of Gordy went on a murdering spree, killing most of the cast and crew. 

As an adult, Ricky suppresses his memory of that day on set, memorializing the incident in a pay-per-view section of his office. When O.J. Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya) asks about the incident, Ricky recaps the 1998 Saturday Night Live skit based on the event rather than what really happened. He focuses on Kattan’s role as the chimp in the scene and Party of Five’s Scott Wolf as the host that evening. 

Chris Kattan considers his ‘Nope’ mention an ‘honor’

The former SNL star was unaware Peele’s movie used his name before going to see it. “I remember sitting in the theater thinking, ‘Oh my god, that is nuts, that is so crazy,”” Kattan told Consequence. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Kattan added: “All I knew was that there was some mention of my name in the film and that was pretty much it.” He admittedly wasn’t worried the mention was unfavorable in any way. “I figured that someone would have told me that it was negative,” he told the outlet.

Kattan saw the movie July 27, 2022 according to Instagram. “I just saw the film Nope and wow! I loved it!” he captioned his post. “Thank you Jordan Peele for the surprising shout-out! ‘Chris god damn Kattan. Kattan crushed it.’ What an honor.” 

“Thanks, Chris!!!” Peele replied. “If it isn’t obvious, I find your work iconic!”

Chris Kattan’s ‘Mr. Peepers’ character from ‘Saturday Night Live’ inspired his mention in ‘Nope’ 

Mr. Peepers, a character NBC describes as “an energetic, wild monkey,” first appeared on SNL in September 1996 during the show’s 22nd season. Kattan’s Mr. Peepers is a human-ape often sporting suspenders and oversized ears.

His violent and outlandish behavior was a satire of other animal acts that had appeared previously on The Tonight Show. This gives even more meaning to Peele’s mention of Kattan — Gordy symbolizes the danger of forcing predators to perform, no matter how well-trained they are.

The character, which shares a name with the 1950 Wally Cox sitcom, was popular up until Kattan’s final Saturday Night Live appearance in April 2002. “Mr. Peepers was based on a bad improvisation at The Groundlings, where I was asked to enter stage and … I just ran out and jumped on this guy Roy Jenkins, and hung upside-down on him,” Kattan said on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. “And that’s how it was born.”

See Nope in theaters.

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