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January 07, 2021

Darrell Hammond Faced a Lot of Struggles in His Life — inside the SNL Star's Ups and Downs

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Actor and stand-up comedian Darrell Hammond, best known for his long and successful run on “Saturday Night Live,” had a very challenging upbringing.

Born in October 1955, Darrell Hammond has been involved in the entertainment industry since 1995 when he joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live.” He was a regular cast member until 2009.

He made excellent impersonations of many celebrities throughout those years, including former President Bill Clinton, Sean Connery, and Donald Trump.

Darrell Hammond on November 20, 2008 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images



When Darrell left the show, he was the oldest cast member in history (53 years old). He also used to hold the records for the longest consecutive tenure of any cast member (14 seasons) and the most impressions by a single cast member (107) until Kenan Thompson broke them.

In September 2014, shortly after former “SNL” announcer Don Pardo passed away, Hammond was announced as the new announcer, a position he has held ever since.


While Darrell Hammond’s career has been nothing short of impressive, he has been very open when it comes to his difficult childhood and, as an adult, his struggles with substance abuse.

Back in 2011, he told CNN that he was a victim of “systematic and lengthy brutality” from his own mother, Margaret Hammond. Darrell also wrote about it in his book, “God, If You're Not Up There, I'm [expletive].”

Darrell Hammond struggled a lot with drug abuse.



All of the things that his mother did to him left him so traumatized that, as an adult, he would harm himself. Darrell revealed that he cut himself for the first time when he was 19 years old.

Then, since doctors couldn’t diagnose what was happening to him, he was placed in psychiatric wards for some time. Some of the misdiagnoses he received included bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.


Darrell had to take what he initially considered “soul-killing drugs,” but he eventually learned that they helped stabilize him. He also revealed that he was medicated during almost all of his performances on “SNL.”

More details of the trauma that Margaret inflicted on him and how it affected his life as an adult (substance abuse, self-harm) were revealed in Netflix’s documentary “Cracked Up.”


Michelle Esrick, the movie’s director, said that “Cracked Up” had a very significant impact on society as it not only helped congress pass a bill to recognize trauma as a cause of addiction, but it also made a woman decide against suicide.

According to Michelle, Darrell usually says that when a person gets hit by a car or breaks their leg, they are not ashamed. However, somehow, when they deal with things they can’t explain (anxiety, depression, alcoholism), they feel ashamed.



Apart from dealing with mental illness, for which he was once taken away from NBC “in a straitjacket,” Darrell Hammond struggled a lot with drug abuse. He went to rehab for his addiction to cocaine and Vicodin.

During his lowest times, the comedian had to think of ways to take the drugs without other people noticing or letting his addiction interfere “too much” with his work.


As per his love life, he married the same woman, Elizabeth Hammond, twice. They tied the knot for the first time in May 1990 and parted ways in 1994.

Three years later, they remarried and stayed together for over a decade until they got divorced for good in 2012.


Darrell and Elizabeth share a daughter, Mia, who is currently a comedian, as well. According to the “SNL” great, holding Mia in his arms brought back many of his mother's disturbing memories.

At the moment, Darrell Hammond is still very much involved in the entertainment industry, working in “SNL” and making some guest appearances in shows like “Criminal Minds” and “At Home with Amy Sedaris.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "help" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.


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