Darrell Hammond

Darrell Hammond

Darrell Hammond on stage, 2005
Born October 8, 1955 (1955-10-08) (age 56)
Melbourne, Florida, U.S.
Occupation Actor/Comedian
Years active 1980–present
Spouse Elizabeth Hammond
(1986–1994, 1997–present)

Darrell Hammond (born October 8, 1955) is an American actor, stand-up comedian and impressionist. He was a regular on Saturday Night Live (SNL) from 1995 until 2009, the longest tenure of any cast member. Upon his departure, Hammond, at age 53, was the oldest cast member in the show's history. Hammond has made more SNL appearances than any other cast member and has impersonated more than 107 celebrities (with former President Bill Clinton as his most frequent impression).[1] As of May 8, 2011, he has appeared on the show seven times since leaving the cast.


Early life

Hammond was born in Melbourne, Florida, the son of Margaret and Max Hammond.[2] He graduated from Melbourne High School in 1973 where he was a star athlete who lettered in both football and baseball. Darrell was a high school baseball teammate of Bruce Bochy. He then attended Brevard Community College and the University of Florida where he majored in broadcasting. Hammond credits UF theater professor David Shelton for encouraging his work.[3] After completing college, Hammond moved to New York City where he lived for several years before joining the cast of SNL.


In the late 1980s, Hammond worked briefly as a stand-up comedian on Premier Cruise Line ships.[4][5]

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 most impressions by a single cast member (107, as of the Zac Efron/Yeah Yeah Yeahs episode) and for the most times saying the show's catch phrase "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" to start the show (beating out Dana Carvey).

He is best known on the show for impersonating former President Bill Clinton, as well as Al Gore, Donald Trump, John McCain, Regis Philbin, Dick Cheney, Chris Matthews, Phil Donahue, Ted Koppel, John Travolta, Jesse Jackson, Geraldo Rivera, and Sean Connery, in the recurring Celebrity Jeopardy! skits. Hammond also impersonated SNL announcer Don Pardo, filling in for Pardo on occasions when the announcer was unavailable.

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, 279 (272 as a cast member and 7 cameos since).

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 so popular with Dr. Demento listeners, it was 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. 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.[6]

Personal life

Hammond married his wife, Elizabeth, in 1986. The couple divorced in the early 1990s and remarried in 1997. They have a daughter named Mia[3] who was born in 1998.

Hammond has admitted to struggling with alcoholism and cocaine abuse.[7] The death of a close friend in 1991 led to a relapse of drug and alcohol abuse.[8] After suffering another relapse in 2009, Hammond went to rehab. [7]

In August 2011 Hammond filed a lawsuit against Jose Mendez and Monteleone, a "pal" of his, after a car accident in which he was the passenger.[9]

During an October 2011 interview with CNN, Hammond revealed that his mother had brutally abused him during his childhood. This abuse led to self-mutilation, several hospitalizations due to psychiatric issues, and diagnoses which include bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Hammond says that he was medicated throughout his tenure on SNL, and that he cut himself backstage and was once taken from the studio to a psychiatric ward. [10]

On November 8, 2011, Hammond's memoir, God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*cked, was released nationally by Harper Collins. It is a firsthand account of his abusive childhood, psychiatric issues, struggles with substance abuse, and experiences on SNL. [7]

Entrapment incident

In the late 1980s, Hammond worked briefly as a stand-up comedian on Premier Cruise Line ships.[4][5]

One evening, while the boat was docked in the Bahamas, Hammond visited a restaurant, where he consumed the equivalent of 16 shots of rum.[11] He claimed that a man repeatedly pestered him throughout the evening to take a dollar bill with trace amounts of cocaine on it.[4] 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."[4] Believing he was about to be mugged, he relented, and the man placed the bill inside Hammond's pocket.[4] Local police were waiting outside the restroom and quickly arrested him. The US Drug Enforcement Administration later told Hammond that the episode had been a setup, and that local authorities regularly entrapped American tourists;[4] he spent a weekend in a crude jail cell, and was assigned a "barefoot" attorney. Hammond was released after his father traveled to the Bahamas and paid $5,000 for his son's release.[4]

Hammond first publicly mentioned the incident while acting as a guest on a 1997 episode of the radio show Loveline;[4] the story was again referenced when he returned to Loveline in 2000 and 2004.[5][11] The comedian has otherwise not spoken about the arrest. Tina Fey and Tim Meadows, two friends and coworkers of Hammond's, said in 2004 they had not previously heard the story.[12]



External links

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