Former Saturday Night Live cast member Darrell Hammond has been picked to be the new announcer for SNL following the passing of Don Pardo in August at the age of 96. Pardo had been SNL’s announcer since the late-night sketch show’s debut in 1975. Hammond’s new assignment was made official this morning by NBC.
This won’t be the first time Darrell Hammond has stepped up to the microphone. Hammond recalled to E! how he’d filled in for Pardo in the past.
“I sat in for Don when he had laryngitis several times over the years. He was a lovely person. When he passed, they wanted me; it felt right for me to be the one to replace him. It’s been a very improbable life; I didn’t expect something like this, but it feels really good.”
Darrell Hammond was a regular on Saturday Night Live from 1995 to 2009, a total of 14 years, holding the record as the legendary show’s longest-serving cast member.
Executive producer and Saturday Night Live creator, Lorne Michaels, told fans that Darrell Hammond wouldn’t just be imitating Pardo when the show’s 40th season debuts, according to the New York Times.
“There were a lot of sweet ideas about carrying on with Don somehow, because everyone has a Pardo impression. But he had the greatest run and he’s a completely beloved figure. So I thought, ‘Don’t turn this into something else. That period ended.'”
Darrell Hammond’s most memorable sketches on Saturday Night Live probably include his depictions of President Bill Clinton, complete with a bitten lower lip and thumb gestures; Sean Connery’s hilarious tete-a-tete’s with Will Ferrell’s Alex Trebek in the Celebrity Jeopardy! sketches; and as MSNBC personality, Chris Mathews, hosting Hardball.
Hammond released a book in 2011 called God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F*cked, in which he recounted his struggles with alcohol and crack cocaine, psychiatric issues and an abusive childhood.
“I kept a pint of Remy in my desk at work. The drinking calmed my nerves and quieted the disturbing images that sprang into my head. When drinking didn’t work, I cut myself.”
Following the release of the book, Darrell Hammond spoke openly about finally realizing he suffered from both Bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia.
“The thing that occurs to me is that abhorrent behavior is not an airborne virus. You don’t get it because you sat on the wrong toilet seat in the subway station. Something has to occur to have caused it. Suddenly I realized I’m not ashamed of this at all. I’ve been knocked down on the canvas a number of times, and I’ve never not gotten up.”
Season 40 of Saturday Night Live premieres on September 27 with guest host Chris Pratt and musical guest Ariana Grande. The shows announcer will be Darrell Hammond.
images via The Spish and Mohegan Sun