In its nearly 40 years on air, the TV game show “Family Feud” has provided some indelible moments—from original host Richard Dawson’s insistence on kissing female participants, to current host Steve Harvey saying “Let’s just flip that shit over” in response to one contestant’s particularly foolish guess. Now, it’s inviting viewers across the country to make their own lasting memories.
A non-televised version of the long-running show, “Family Feud Live: Celebrity Edition,” visits the Wilson Center Tuesday night, hosted by comedian Alonzo Bodden. Audience members will be randomly selected to join onstage “families” alongside celebrity team captains Chris Kattan and Pauly Shore and can win prizes up to $5,000.
Wilmington is the sixth stop on a monthlong tour that begins October 23 in Morristown, NJ, and finishes November 16-17 in Biloxi, MS. It follows successful touring versions of “The Price is Right” and “America’s Got Talent.”
Kattan says the live show is similar to the one audiences know and love. He and Shore will lead their teammates through the usual rounds, including “Fast Money,” in which two members of the same team have 20 seconds each to answer five questions. There will also be a bonus round unique to the traveling show.
Best known for his work as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” Kattan is responsible for beloved characters as Mr. Peepers, the exotic dancer Mango, Gay Hitler, and Azrael Abyss of the late-night public-access television show “Goth Talk.” Perhaps most notably, he was one-half of the head-bobbing Butabi brothers with Will Ferrell—immortalized in the 1998 film “A Night at the Roxbury.”
He sees his role at the Wilson Center as “mostly to have a good time.” A lifelong fan of the show, Kattan cut a charismatic figure on “Celebrity Family Feud” in 2018. During that appearance, he was so eager to make a joke during a “face-off” that he missed the chance to answer entirely. This time, he says, he won’t make the same mistake twice. “I think my main purpose [on ‘Family Feud’] is just to keep it going and keep it fun and light and silly.”
Being matched with Shore should help. The pair met at the MTV Movie Awards in 2001. “He was ‘The Weasel’ then,” Kattan says. At the time, Kattan was starring in the mafia comedy “Corky Romano,” and Shore was still riding a wave of ‘90s celebrity. They struck up a lasting friendship. Kattan says their similar backgrounds will come in handy onstage at the Wilson Center.
“I come from [Los Angeles improv troupe] The Groundlings and Pauly comes from stand-up so we both think on our feet a lot . . . We have similar quickness, which should make it a lot of fun.”
Both Kattan and Shore have kept a lower profile in recent years. A mega-star in the ‘90s, thanks to roles like “Encino Man” (1992), “Son in Law” (1993) and “Bio-Dome” (1996), Shore largely retreated to stand-up when his film career waned. A 2014 documentary, “Pauly Shore Stands Alone,” followed the comedian as he embarked on a tour through tiny Midwestern towns.
Kattan has taken a more intriguing path since leaving “SNL” in 2003. In 2004, he was set to play Xanthias on Broadway in Stephen Sondheim’s “The Frogs” but withdrew from the role at the last moment for uncited reasons. Five years later, in a meta turn, he starred in the IFC miniseries “Bollywood Hero.” He portrayed a washed-up actor who flees to India in an attempt to resurrect his career. A 2017 appearance on “Dancing with the Stars,” meanwhile, proved he can still deliver prime-time laughs.
He made waves earlier in 2019 with the release of his memoir, “Baby Don’t Hurt Me: Stories and Scars from Saturday Night Live.” In the book, Kattan reveals he broke his neck during an “SNL” sketch that landed him backward on a chair while doing a “Golden Girls” parody. The injury went undisclosed for years and led to his battle with painkillers. Now sober and speaking openly about his struggles, Kattan is sanguine about the road that led him to “Family Feud Live.”
“Everybody’s career has ups and downs,” he notes, “and I’m a very happy person, so I’m usually very content about where I’m at. I just like to focus on what’s at hand.”