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By Doug Brunell | June 2, 2005

I enjoy both playing and watching a good poker game. If you also enjoy the game, you know that it is all over cable television. I try to take in as many of these shows as I can, which includes the often embarrassing “Celebrity Poker Showdown” on Bravo. I don’t think it’s embarrassing because the players don’t pay attention (it’s to be expected that they joke around more than professional players in a tournament), or because Dave Foley seems very out of place as host (something he makes clear every episode). It’s embarrassing because the players are often bad … very, very bad. It’s painful to watch them play some of the hands they are dealt, and that’s made even worse when someone like Chris Kattan is sitting at the table.

“Celebrity Poker Showdown” won’t last forever. In fact, it’s probably only another year or so before it goes the way of those celebrity circus shows and “Battle of the Network Stars” programs from decades ago. Knowing that it won’t be on until the end of time, I’d like to at least see some decent poker while it is running. When Chris Kattan played, he brought everything I hate about the show home, and for that I despise him.

I never liked Kattan much to begin with. Just looking at the resume they ran for him on the show demonstrates why I loathe to share the planet with him. “Saturday Night Live.” “Corky Romano.” “A Night at the Roxbury.” How f*****g pitiful is that? On that same episode was Nicholas Gonzalez (a very good poker player). His resume was “The O.C.,” “Law and Order: SVU” and “Resurrection Blvd.,” which, while not very impressive, is still a step above Kattan’s. Apparently the definition for “celebrity” becomes more encompassing every year. Unfortunately for me, this year it included the Mango comedian, and there he was wedged between Jason Alexander and Allison Janney from

“The West Wing.” Kattan a celebrity? Apparently that can be debated.

Kattan an annoyance? No debate there.

Kattan played badly, which is understandable from someone who doesn’t know how to play No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em. Instead of trying to learn, however, and take the game at least semi-seriously so that he could win some money for his charity of choice, he acted the fool with constant wisecracks, a problem most comedians seem to have on that show. When the action hit him, the game would stop cold as he made small talk and decided how to throw the most ridiculous amount of chips into the pot. Watching this was like watching a blind man with nerve damage attempting to do brain surgery without any assistance, and it really started to piss me off.

When I get annoyed, I sometimes say horrible, mean, nasty things that are meant to stop the problem. Had I been at the table, I would have said to Kattan, “Quit f*****g around, or I will cut your face with a razor.”

I’ve only actually said this to people twice in my life (and have never done it to either of them). It shocked them, and it got them to stop their annoying behavior. Honestly, I think the threat of getting cut with a razor — especially in the face — is far scarier than someone threatening to shoot you. In this country we have a shooting death every nanosecond. They are as common as Viagra jokes, and nobody ever believes it will happen to them. Getting cut with a razor, though, is more realistic and really sounds kind of demented.

I would have definitely threatened Kattan, and I would’ve meant it. Had he continued, and I had a razor, I probably would have done it. A quick, deep cut across the face gets a person’s attention. “There. Now play the f*****g game, and keep your trap shut.”

It kind of creeps me out that I put this much thought into him and how to shut him up at the table, but if you saw that episode, you’ll understand. Hell, if you’ve seen any of his movies, you’ll understand. Kattan is not funny, and the only thing he does worse than comedy is play poker.

Kattan, if you’re reading this, pray you never sit at a poker table with me — for charity or not. I will not take kindly to your actions. I may not cut you (I don’t always carry a razor with me – that’s just nuts), but I will probably hurt you in some god-awful way. And honestly, that’s not what should scare you. You ask, “What should?”

The fact that I’d enjoy it.

Shuffle up and deal!

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