A master of impersonation, Darrell Hammond is recognized almost everywhere he goes. Oftentimes, however, he is not noticed for himself. As a master imitator on the famed NBC television show “Saturday Night Live” Hammond has made a career of playing other celebrities, namely President Bill Clinton.
Hammond sheds light upon his years at SNL as well as all of the drug use and abuse he endured as a member of the cast.
Hammond used drugs, alcohol and cutting himself to deal with a viciously abusive childhood -- and once cut himself so badly that he had to be taken from "SNL" in a strait jacket, he says in his new memoir.
Hammond says his drinking problem led him to miss President Clinton's second inauguration, and that he didn't begin to recover until an emergency room doctor told him he was suffering from a post-traumatic disorder.
Hammond -- who was with "SNL" for 14 seasons and has uttered the phrase "Live from New York, it's Saturday night" more times than anyone else in "SNL" history -- describes his battle with drugs, alcohol and cutting in his new memoir, "God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F---ed: Tales of Stand-Up, 'Saturday Night Live,' and Other Mind-Altering Mayhem."
Among the revelations in the book:
1. Hammond used impersonations to escape abuse.
Hammond said his mother once purposely cut his tongue -- with a serrated steak knife -- until he bled on their kitchen floor. He says she also used to make him hold out his hand so she could slam car doors on it. When he was five, she hit him in the stomach with a hammer, he said. Hammond said he learned to impersonate people in his neighborhood to distract his mother from hurting him.
2. Grand Marnier got between Hammond and Bill Clinton's second inauguration
The POTUS loved Hammond's impersonation of him and invited him to attend his second inauguration in 1997. But when he got to his Washington, D.C. hotel and spotted Grand Marnier, a liquor he'd never tried before, he got drunk. He not only missed the inauguration, but woke up incoherent at the airport, and had to rely on a stranger to buy him a plane ticket back to New York.
3. He was invited to come "Dancing"
Hammond says he was invited to be a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars" a few years ago. His response: "I called my agent and said, 'Tell them I'll be happy to do the show as long as there's no dancing.'"
4. From "SNL" to the ER … in a straitjacket
Hammond said he cut himself because each wound would create "a fresh crisis to get me out of the one in my head. It gave me something else to focus on." But once he cut himself so badly in his "SNL" office that he had to go to the NBC infirmary, and started to scream as the nurse treated him. Hammond was taken away by a paramedic who placed him in a straightjacket.
Hammond is a talented and funny guy, not a role model. Hopefully, this book will help keep him on the straight-and-narrow.