Darrell Hammond

This article is about the comedian. For the founder of KaBOOM!, see Darell Hammond. For the arena football player, see Darryl Hammond.
Darrell Hammond

Hammond in 2016.
Born Darrell Clayton Hammond
(1955-10-08) October 8, 1955
Melbourne, Florida, United States
Occupation Actor, comedian, impressionist
Years active 1980–present
Spouse(s) E. A. Hammond (1990–1994; 1997–2011)

Darrell Clayton Hammond (born October 8, 1955)[1] is an American actor, stand-up comedian and impressionist. He was a regular member of "The Not Ready For Prime Time Players Company" on Saturday Night Live from 1995 to 2009, the longest tenure of any cast member in the show's history.

Upon his departure, Hammond, at age 53, was also the oldest cast member in the show's history. Hammond made more SNL appearances than any other cast member and impersonated more than 107 celebrities, with Bill Clinton as his most frequent impression.[2]

Hammond held the record for most impersonations by an SNL cast member with 107, until he was surpassed by Kenan Thompson on May 3, 2014. As of December 10, 2011, he had appeared on the show eight times since leaving the cast.

On September 19, 2014, Hammond was announced as the new announcer of SNL, replacing Don Pardo, who had died the month before.[3] In May 2015, he began portraying Colonel Sanders in television commercials for Kentucky Fried Chicken, although he was replaced by Norm Macdonald, also a former SNL cast member, just three months later.[4]

Early life

Hammond was born in Melbourne, Florida, the son of Margaret and Max Hammond.[1] Hammond was severely abused by his mother, contributing to his lifelong struggles with depression and substance abuse.[5]

He played baseball in high school and at Brevard Community College. In high school, he was a teammate of San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy.[6] He went on to attend the University of Florida, where he graduated in 1978 with a degree in advertising and a 2.1 GPA.[6] He credits UF theater professor David Shelton for encouraging his work.[6] After completing college, Hammond moved to New York City where he worked as a waiter, studied at HB Studio, did roles in theater productions, performed one set at a comedy club at age 26, and then returned to Florida, where he became a voiceover artist in the Orlando area.[6]


Saturday Night Live

During the 2004–2005 season, Hammond set the record for the longest consecutive tenure of any SNL cast member in the show's history. He also holds SNL records for the second most impressions by a single cast member (107, as of the Zac Efron/Yeah Yeah Yeahs episode), beat only by cast member Kenan Thompson, who holds a record of 117, and also for the most times saying the show's catchphrase "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" to start the show (70 times, beating out Dana Carvey).

He is best known on the show for impersonating Bill Clinton, as well as Al Gore, Donald Trump, John McCain, Regis Philbin, Dick Cheney, Chris Matthews, Phil Donahue, Phil McGraw, Ted Koppel, John Travolta, Jesse Jackson, Geraldo Rivera, and Sean Connery, in the recurring "Celebrity Jeopardy!" skits. His impression of President Bill Clinton is currently the most frequently appeared SNL impression of all time, appearing in 87 sketches over 14 years in the cast and numerous cameos. Hammond also impersonated SNL announcer Don Pardo, filling in for Pardo on occasions when the announcer was unavailable; this dressed the stage for his taking over for Pardo on a full-time basis when Pardo died.

After the end of the 34th season, Hammond retired from the show after a record-breaking 14 years as a repertory player. Hammond was the last SNL cast member from the 1990s to leave the show. After leaving the show, he has made multiple cameo appearances. Hammond also holds the record for most shows of any SNL cast member, 280 (272 as a cast member and 8 cameos since).

It was announced on September 18, 2014 that Hammond would take over the announcer role on SNL starting with the 40th-season premiere of the show on September 27, 2014. Hammond replaces Pardo, who died on August 18 of that year.[3] Since he began as announcer, he has also appeared in skits numerous times reprising his Clinton and Trump impersonations.[7]

Other work

In the late 1980s, Hammond gained fame for his impersonations of Elmer Fudd and other Looney Tunes characters in the comedy single "Wappin'." The song was popular enough with Dr. Demento listeners to be included on the show's 20th-anniversary compilation.

Hammond is a frequent guest on The Howard Stern Show. He has also guest-starred in episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent; his were serious roles in the episodes in question. He had his own stand-up comedy special on Comedy Central: Comedy Central Presents Darrell Hammond. Hammond can frequently be seen at The Comedy Cellar in New York City.

In the summer of 2007, Hammond made his Broadway theatre debut, playing the role of Vice Principal Douglas Panch in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. In 2009, Hammond had a guest starring role on the FX drama Damages. The same summer, Hammond appeared with Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, and Donald Trump in an Oreo commercial, where he does an impression of Trump.[8]

Beginning in May 2015, Hammond began playing the role of fast-food mascot Colonel Sanders in an ad campaign for KFC, until Norm Macdonald replaced him August 17, 2015.[9]

Personal life

Hammond married his wife, Elizabeth, on May 9, 1990.[10] The couple divorced in the early 1990s and remarried in 1997 and divorced in 2012. During a February 7, 2012 appearance on the Imus in the Morning radio program, Hammond revealed that the couple is in the process of divorcing.[11] Hammond was seen with another woman several times in May and June 2011, prompting speculation about their marriage which ended.[12]

Hammond has admitted to struggling with alcoholism and cocaine abuse.[13] The death of a close friend in 1991 led to a relapse of drug and alcohol abuse.[14] After suffering another relapse in 2009, Hammond went to rehab.[13]

In August 2011, Hammond filed a lawsuit against Jose Mendez and Dona Monteleone after a car accident in which he was the passenger. Monteleone, who was driving Hammond's vehicle at the time of the accident, is a Manhattan real estate agent.[15]

During an October 2011 interview with CNN, Hammond revealed that his mother had brutally abused him during his childhood. This trauma from abuse led to cutting, several hospitalizations due to psychiatric issues, and diagnoses which include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder.[16]

Hammond says that he was medicated throughout his tenure on Saturday Night Live, and that he cut himself backstage and was once taken from the studio to a psychiatric ward.[17]

On November 8, 2011, Hammond's memoir, which he titled God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*cked, was published by Harper Collins. It is a first-hand account of his abusive childhood, psychiatric issues, struggles with substance abuse, and experiences on Saturday Night Live.[13]

Entrapment incident

In the late 1980s, Hammond worked briefly as a stand-up comedian on Premier Cruise Line ships.[18][19]

One evening, while the ship was docked in the Bahamas, Hammond visited a restaurant, where he consumed the equivalent of 16 shots of rum.[20] He claimed that a man repeatedly pestered him throughout the evening to take a dollar bill with trace amounts of cocaine on it.[18] When the comedian left the bar to use the restroom, the man followed him into the stall and told him, "I think you should take this with you."[18] Believing he was about to be mugged, he relented, and the man placed the bill inside Hammond's pocket.[18] Local police were waiting outside the restroom and quickly arrested him. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration later told Hammond that the episode had been a setup, and that local authorities regularly entrapped American tourists;[18] he spent a weekend in a crude jail cell. Hammond was released after his father traveled to the Bahamas and paid $3,000 for his son's release.[18]

Hammond first publicly mentioned the incident while acting as a guest on a 1997 episode of the radio show Loveline;[18] the story was again mentioned when he returned to Loveline in 2000 and 2004, as well as during an appearance on the Opie & Anthony show in 2012.[19][20] Tina Fey and Tim Meadows, two friends and coworkers of Hammond's, said in 2004 they had not previously heard the story.[21]



  1. 1 2 "Darrell Hammond Biography". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  2. "SNL Archives | Cast". Snl.jt.org. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  3. 1 2 Carter, Bill (September 18, 2014). "Darrell Hammond to Replace Don Pardo as the Announcer for 'Saturday Night Live'". New York Times.
  4. Chew, Jonathan (August 17, 2015). "KFC has another new colonel". Fortune.
  5. "'SNL's' Darrell Hammond Reveals Cutting, Abuse". NPR. November 7, 2011. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  6. 1 2 3 4 "Great Impressions: Darrell Hammond". Florida Magazine. 2011-11-16. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  7. "Watch Donald Trump Sketches From SNL Played By Darrell Hammond - NBC.com". www.nbc.com. Retrieved 2015-12-20.
  8. "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  9. http://money.cnn.com/2015/05/19/investing/kfc-colonel-sanders-ad-darrell-hammond-yum/
  10. "Florida Marriage Collection 1927-2001". Ancestry.com.
  11. "Darrell Hammond on Developing a Character - Imus Extras - Imus In The Morning". Imus.com. 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  12. "Darrell Hammond Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story". Biography.com. 1955-10-08. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  13. 1 2 3 "E News". Ex-SNL Star Darrell Hammond on His Shocking Drug Past: "I Had the Brilliant Idea I Should Try Crack. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  14. "Darrell Hammond: 12 Years On SNL - Darrell Hammond". Archived from the original on 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2007-05-30., Craveonline.com
  15. Martinez, Jose (August 29, 2011). "Ex-'SNL' star Darrell Hammond sues drivers over Long Island car crash". Daily News. New York.
  16. "Hammond's Troubled Voice Comes Clear". 13 December 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
  17. Simon, Mallory (2011-10-25). "'SNL's' Darrell Hammond reveals dark past of abuse". CNN. Retrieved 2014-12-09.
  18. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 llarchive.com page for Loveline episode: "1997-1x-xx, Guest - Darrell Hammond."
  19. 1 2 llarchive.com page for Loveline episode: "2000-05-31, Guest - Darrell Hammond."
  20. 1 2 mediafire.com page for Loveline episode: "2004-06-07, Guest - Darrell Hammond."
  21. llarchive.com page for Loveline episode: "2004-04-18, Guest: Tim Meadows and Tina Fey."
  22. "Buzzkill - The Movie". Secondcity.com. Retrieved 2013-08-10.

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Don Pardo
Saturday Night Live announcer
2014 – present
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