Comedy icon Billy Crystal explained on Monday’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” that he had missed an earlier scheduled appearance on the show because of a sneeze-related injury.
“The weirdest injury ever,” Crystal, 69, told the late-night talk-show host, explaining that on the night before an unspecified date in June, “It’s around 9:30, which is already an hour past my bedtime,” he joked, going on to say, “And out of the blue, Jimmy, I sneeze. But a violent sneeze. Folks, if it was a cartoon my arms are flying off my body, my eyes are coming out of my head, people in the room are now naked because I blew their clothes off. And I went, ‘Wow, that hurt a little bit.’ ”
After going to sleep and awakening two hours later, he found he had severe trouble breathing. “It’s like terrible, painful,” he said, demonstrating gasping sounds. “So what I did, I tore a rib muscle from sneezing. And I . . . could not breathe. And it’s not an injury that you want to brag about,” he noted. “I didn’t rescue a woman out of a burning car, I didn’t catch an orphan falling out of a burning — I sneezed.”
The Emmy Award-winning former longtime host of the Academy Awards revealed he has “really bad allergies and this is a bad time for it. But it just came out of the blue. Usually I can brace myself because I know what’s coming,” he said, adding, “They’re dangerous! No, it’s true. The great baseball player Sammy Sosa sneezed so violently . . . he missed two-and-a-half months of a season!”
Former Chicago Cubs great Sosa indeed sprained a ligament in his lower back in May 2004 after two violent sneezes that brought on back spasms. In actuality, he was on the disabled list only 15 days.
Crystal, who was raised in Long Beach, also told Kimmel that a chocolate allergy can bring on fits of sneezing. His college [Marshall University in West Virginia] roommate, he said, capitalized on this by betting fellow students $5 that Crystal could sneeze more than 50 times. After eating two chocolate bars, Crystal minutes later began the first of 63 sneezes. “I made $250,” he boasted, perhaps hyperbolically.