Darrell Hammond was a regular on Saturday Night Live (SNL) from 1995 until 2009, making his the longest tenure of any cast member. He made a name for himself with his impressions, notably of Bill Clinton and Ted Koppel, and has impersonated more than 107 celebrities, an SNL record.
Darrell Hammond was born in Melbourne, Florida, and graduated from Melbourne High School, where he was a star athlete in both football and baseball. He attended Brevard Community College and the University of Florida, where he majored in broadcasting. In the late 1980s, Hammond got his feet wet in the entertainment world as a stand-up comedian on Premier Cruise Line ships. He later moved to New York City, where he eventually joined the cast of Saturday Night Live.
Saturday Night Live
Darrell Hammond became a part of the Saturday Night Live (SNL) cast in 1995 and remained until 2009, which is the longest tenure of any cast member. Hammond also holds the SNL record for impersonating more celebrities than any other cast member (107 and counting, including his frequent guest appearances since leaving the show). He has also said the show's opening catchphrase, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" more times than any other SNL cast member.
Hammond is best known on the show for his impression of former president Bill Clinton, which came to define Bill Clinton in American media culture nearly as much as Clinton's actual persona. He also did memorable impressions of Al Gore, Donald Trump, Dick Cheney, Phil Donahue, Ted Koppel, John Travolta, Jesse Jackson, Geraldo Rivera, and Sean Connery, the last of which was through recurring Celebrity Jeopardy! skits.
In 2007, Darrell Hammond made his Broadway theater debut in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, in which he played Vice Principal Douglas Panch. In 2009, Hammond had a guest-starring role on the FX drama Damages and also appeared with Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, and Donald Trump in an Oreo cookies commercial, where he impersonated Trump.
In November 2011, Hammond's both dark and comic memoir God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F***ed was published by HarperCollins. In it, he details his abusive childhood, time spent in psychiatric hospitals, and what it was like behind the scenes of SNL. The book also contains reflections on his family, and how his wife and daughter encouraged him in his fight against substance abuse.
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