Darrell Hammond

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Darrell Hammond
Darrell Hammond by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Hammond in 2016
Darrell Clayton Hammond

(1955-10-08) October 8, 1955 (age 66)
OccupationActor, comedian, impressionist
Years active1980–present
Elizabeth Hammond
(m. 1990; div. 1994)
(m. 1997; div. 2012)

Darrell Clayton Hammond (born October 8, 1955)[1] is an American actor, stand-up comedian and impressionist. He was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1995 to 2009, and has been its announcer since 2014.

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 impersonated more than 107 celebrities, with Bill Clinton as his most frequent impression.[2]

On September 19, 2014, Hammond was announced as the new announcer of SNL, replacing Don Pardo, who had died the month before.[3]

Early life[edit]

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;[4] his father, dealing with his own psychological issues resulting from his military service during World War II, often drank heavily and acted out violently. Hammond found as a child that doing impressions was the only thing he did his mother liked.[5]

He played baseball in high school and at Brevard Community College. In high school, he was a teammate of future San Diego Padres and 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, played 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[edit]

Hammond was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1995 to 2009.[7] He previously held the record for the longest consecutive tenure of any SNL cast member in the show's history (14 seasons), until he was surpassed by Kenan Thompson in 2017.[8]

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 Thompson, 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).[citation needed]

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, Dan Rather, and Sean Connery, in the recurring "Celebrity Jeopardy!" skits. His impression of Clinton is currently the most frequent 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.[citation needed]

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.

In 2014 Hammond took over the announcer role on SNL starting with the 40th-season premiere, replacing Pardo, who had died that August.[3] Since he began as announcer, he has also appeared in skits numerous times reprising his Clinton and Trump impersonations.[9]

The following season Hammond reappeared on the show, doing his impression of Trump just as the real Trump began performing well in the Republican primaries. Hammond moved back to New York in 2016 after Trump won the nomination, expecting to be appearing on a weekly basis during the election. However, SNL producer Lorne Michaels decided instead to go with Alec Baldwin's impression, believing that it more effectively captured the contemporary Trump.[5]

Other work[edit]

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;. 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.[10]

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 on August 17, 2015.[11]

Since returning to Los Angeles in 2017, Hammond has appeared in episodes of Criminal Minds, At Home with Amy Sedaris, and a Friday Night Lights spoof series on sports website The Kicker.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Hammond married his wife, Elizabeth, on May 9, 1990.[12] The couple divorced in the early 1990s, then remarried in 1997. They have one daughter together, Mia, born in 1998. Hammond was seen with another woman several times in May and June 2011, prompting speculation about their marriage.[13] During a 2012 appearance on the Imus in the Morning radio program, Hammond revealed that the couple was in the process of divorcing[14] and shortly later that same year the divorce became final.

Hammond has admitted to struggling with alcoholism and cocaine addiction.[15] The death of a close friend in 1991 led to a relapse of drug and alcohol abuse.[16] Hammond regularly wears all black when not performing as an homage to another friend who committed suicide in 1992.[5] After suffering another relapse in 2009, Hammond went to rehab.[15]

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.[17]

During an October 2011 interview with CNN, Hammond revealed that his mother had abused him during his childhood. His anxiety from abuse led to cutting, several hospitalizations due to psychiatric issues, and diagnoses which initially included bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder.[18]

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.[19] The incident helped him come to terms with what he and the doctor who treated him realized was his fundamental issue, the posttraumatic stress disorder stemmed from his abusive childhood.[5] Just prior to his 2000 appearance as Al Gore in a sketch parodying that year's first presidential debate, he had a panic attack due to forgetting his lines. However, he gave a performance so effective that Gore's campaign staff made him watch it to understand why he had aroused negative reactions in some viewers.[5]

Harper Collins published Hammond's memoir, God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*cked, in 2011. It is an account of his abusive childhood, psychiatric issues, struggles with substance abuse, and experiences on Saturday Night Live.[15] In 2015 he adapted it into a one-man play starring himself, directed by Christopher Ashley, which debuted in San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse to positive reviews. The director has expressed plans for a Broadway residency, although Hammond stated he would prefer an actor to play him instead, as he found the tour so stressful he had to be hospitalized twice during the Los Angeles run.[5]

In 2015 Hammond revived his Trump impression on SNL, after Taran Killam's attempt failed to gain public interest. The following year he returned to New York after five years, expecting that with Trump having received the Republican presidential nomination that year, he would be appearing on the show more in the fall. When Alec Baldwin replaced him, he fell into a deep depression and was prescribed Antabuse and a beta blocker to prevent a relapse of his addiction issues. Hammond and his girlfriend eventually moved back to Los Angeles, where reminders of Baldwin's Trump impression were less advertised.[5]

Entrapment incident[edit]

In the late 1980s, Hammond said that he worked briefly as a stand-up comedian on Premier Cruise Line ships. [20][21] One evening, while the ship was docked in the Bahamas, Hammond says he visited a restaurant, where he consumed the equivalent of 16 shots of rum.[22] He claimed that a man repeatedly asked him throughout the evening to take a dollar bill with trace amounts of cocaine on it.[20] When he 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."[20] Believing he was about to be mugged, he relented, and the man placed the bill inside Hammond's pocket.[20] Local police were waiting outside the restroom and quickly arrested him. According to Hammond, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration later told him that the episode had been a setup, and that local authorities regularly entrap[citation needed] American tourists;[20] he spent a weekend in jail. Hammond was released after his father traveled to the Bahamas and paid $3,000 for his son's release.[20]

Hammond first publicly mentioned his incarceration in the Bahamas as a guest on a 1998 episode of the radio show Loveline;[20] and again when he returned to Loveline in 2000 and 2004, as well as during an appearance on the Opie & Anthony show in 2012.[21][22][23]



Year Title Role Notes
1996 Celtic Pride Chris McCarthy
1998 Blues Brothers 2000 Robertson
1999 The King and I Master Little Voice
2003 Agent Cody Banks Earl
2003 Scary Movie 3 Father Muldoon
2004 New York Minute Hudson McGill
2006 Kiss Me Again Michael
2006 Puff, Puff, Pass Jonathan
2006 Ira & Abby Dr. Lawrence Rosenblum
2007 Epic Movie Captain Jack Swallows
2007 Netherbeast Incorporated Turner Claymore
2007 Shortcut to Happiness Andrew Bailey
2008 Wieners Dr. Dwayne
2012 BuzzKill Karaoke Killer
2012 Nature Calls Ranger Deakins
2013 Scary Movie 5 Dr. Hall


Year Title Role Notes
1995–2009, 2014–present Saturday Night Live Various (1995–2009); announcer (2014–present) 308 episodes
1997 A Freezerburnt Christmas Voice Television film
2000 3rd Rock from the Sun Darrell Hammond Episode: "Dick'll Take Manhattan: Part 2"
2001 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Ted Bolger Episode: "Runaway"
2001 Primetime Glick Dick Cheney Episode: "Kathie Lee Gifford/Dick Cheney"
2005 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Leonard Timmons Episode: "No Exit"
2005 Starved Josh Episode: "3D"
2005 Las Vegas Ben Carlson / Carlos / Ted Waters Episode: "Double Down, Triple Threat"
2009 Damages The Deacon 7 episodes
2012 Are We There Yet? Brick Street 6 episodes
2014 Deadbeat Don Soderbergh Episode: "The Knockoff"
2016 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Announcer Episode: "Kimmy Goes Roller Skating!"
2016 Brad Neely's Harg Nallin' Sclopio Peepio Various 10 episodes
2017 Criminal Minds Lawrence Coleman Episode: "The Bunker"
2017–2020 At Home with Amy Sedaris Various 6 episodes
2018 The Last Sharknado: It's About Time George Washington Television film
2018 Dream Corp LLC Bill Ruff Episode: "Wild Bill"
2019 Bizaardvark Red Duckworth 2 episodes
2021 What If...? Nazi General (voice) Episode: "What If... Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?"


  1. ^ a b "Darrell Hammond Biography". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  2. ^ "SNL Archives | Cast". Snl.jt.org. Archived from the original on 2013-10-09. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  3. ^ a b Carter, Bill (September 18, 2014). "Darrell Hammond to Replace Don Pardo as the Announcer for 'Saturday Night Live'". New York Times.
  4. ^ "'SNL's' Darrell Hammond Reveals Cutting, Abuse". NPR. November 7, 2011. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Edgers, Geoff (September 27, 2017). "Losing the Part: How Darrell Hammond, SNL's best impressionist ever, found life after Trump". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d "Great Impressions: Darrell Hammond". Florida Magazine. 2011-11-16. Archived from the original on 2011-08-21. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  7. ^ "'Saturday Night Live': All 145 Cast Members Ranked". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  8. ^ Izadi, Elahe. "The quiet brilliance of Kenan Thompson, SNL's longest-tenured cast member". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2019-08-28. Retrieved 2019-12-24.
  9. ^ "Watch Donald Trump Sketches From SNL Played By Darrell Hammond". NBC.com. Retrieved 2015-12-20.
  10. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
  11. ^ Monica, Paul R. La. "KFC is bringing back Colonel Sanders".
  12. ^ "Florida Marriage Collection 1927-2001". Ancestry.com.
  13. ^ "Darrell Hammond Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story". Biography.com. 1955-10-08. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  14. ^ "Darrell Hammond on Developing a Character - Imus Extras - Imus In The Morning". Imus.com. 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
  15. ^ a b c "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.
  16. ^ "Darrell Hammond: 12 Years On SNL - Darrell Hammond". Archived from the original on 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2007-05-30.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link), Craveonline.com
  17. ^ Martinez, Jose (August 29, 2011). "Ex-'SNL' star Darrell Hammond sues drivers over Long Island car crash". Daily News. New York.
  18. ^ "The Bizarre Details Behind The Time SNL's Darrell Hammond Spent Four Days In Jail After A Cocaine Bust". 2 October 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  19. ^ Simon, Mallory (2011-10-25). "'SNL's' Darrell Hammond reveals dark past of abuse". CNN. Retrieved 2014-12-09.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g llarchive.com page for Loveline episode: "1997-1x-xx, Guest - Darrell Hammond."[dead link]
  21. ^ a b llarchive.com page for Loveline episode: "2000-05-31, Guest - Darrell Hammond."[dead link]
  22. ^ a b mediafire.com page for Loveline episode: "2004-06-07, Guest - Darrell Hammond."
  23. ^ llarchive.com page for Loveline episode: "2004-04-18, Guest: Tim Meadows and Tina Fey."[dead link]

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by Saturday Night Live announcer
2014 – present