No one was more shocked than Darrell Hammond when Donald Trump appeared on CNN to discuss the comedian’s life.
“I mean, that’s like, through the looking glass,” Hammond says. “That’s like, J.Lo-level. I’m a little stunned by it.”
But when you probe into Hammond’s life through his new memoir, God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F*cked, all the attention makes sense.
Though the public already knew Hammond for his spot-on impressions of Sean Connery and Bill Clinton, performed during his 14 years on Saturday Night Live, the book reveals shocking details of his personal life as an addict who suffered years of abuse from his mother as a kid.
“In staying silent all those years — most of the time because I didn’t really know, because all those memories were repressed — it made me sick. And when people get sick, they exhibit abhorrent behaviour,” Hammond says.
“The thing that occurs to me is that abhorrent behaviour 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.”
The book details not only behind-the-scenes moments at SNL, but also darker times, like when Hammond was escorted off-set in a straight jacket.
Yet throughout, amazingly, Hammond maintains a wry humour.
Now sober and with future plans to appear on TBS’s Are We There Yet? Hammond can recall the pain of previous years from the perspective of a man who is finally healing.
“I have a very banal little life,” he says happily. “I have a modest apartment and I visit my friends in the diner. Nothing really exciting happens at all, which is fine.
It’s nice to not be living in fear of your voice mail — really dark figures that you meet, creatures of the night when you’re crawling around the West Village between 4 and 6 a.m.
I call that neighbourhood the hell mouth because that’s where I would meet people that could take me to places where I didn’t need to go, but I was going to go to anyway.
None of this was going to stop until I stopped being angry.”