Darrell Hammond, the impressionist who painted living portraits of famous and infamous people on "Saturday Night Live" for 14 seasons, reprises some of his favorite impressions Saturday night at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor.
Although he exited the show's full-time ensemble in 2009, it seems he never left, what with guest appearances and a new gig as announcer. We spoke by phone with Hammond, who was at NBC in New York City earlier this week.
Tell us a little about your current show that you're bringing to Bay Street.
I had a really good experience there the last time -- playing Truman Capote [the one-man show "Tru" in 2011]. I just wanted to come out there and do some stand-up. I usually only do a couple of club dates a year, so I don't forget how. Basically, they'll see the Darrell Hammond they know from "SNL."
You hold the record for longevity on "Saturday Night Live." What was your secret for getting into skits so often over such a long period?
Funny, I don't think there's any methodology. It's a little bit of a mystery. They prepare enough material for four 90-minute shows and whittle it down to seven sketches. The last 60 minutes, between 10:30 and 11:30, is chaos.
Of all the impressions you've done, is there one you just got sick of doing?
No. There aren't that many I repeated. They're in the news, then they're not.
Is there a favorite?
I used to say Bill Clinton. Now it's at tie: Clinton and Trump.
We'll probably see a lot of Donald Trump from you at Bay Street.
Gotta get my hairpiece ready.
With the presidential primaries looming -- and the possibility of another Clinton in the White House -- are you preparing to do the First Gentleman with a new President Clinton?
With Kate McKinnon. We did Hillary and Bill twice last year. We'll see what the award-winning writers have in store.
Was it weird taking over as "SNL" announcer from the late, great Don Pardo?
Yeah, it was really remarkable. [Producer] Lorne [Michaels] called and said, "I feel you're the guy to replace Don." Ain't nobody who can replace Don Pardo. Although I did, occasionally, when he had laryngitis or whatever. I tried to do an impression of him. His voice is so powerful, I'd blow my chords out. But most of the time, people wouldn't know it was me. I just got a letter from his family I haven't opened yet. [Sound of shuffling papers.] I was really fond of him. [Sound of an envelope being torn open.] I'm opening this card. . . . "Enclosed is a small token expressing our appreciation . . . " Wow, this is very moving. It's a red rubber band Don wore on his wrist whenever he announced. To remind him of his approach to it.
That's quite a moment.
In your 2011 book, "God, If You're Not Up There . . . ," you wrote candidly about abuse in your childhood. Do you think that contributed to your penchant for taking on the persona of others?
I'm sure it did. My mom was really great at impressions. But not at bonding. If that's the one thing we did together, that means a lot to a child.
Your latest "impression" is Colonel Sanders. How did that come about?
KFC offered me a lotta chicken.
What's next for Darrell Hammond?
I was happy being retired in New Orleans. . . . I'll be "SNL" announcer again, and we'll see what else comes up going into 2016.
WHO Darrell Hammond
WHEN | WHERE Saturday night at 8, Bay Street Theater, Long Wharf, Sag Harbor
INFO $69-$129; 631-725-9500, baystreet.org