Darrell Hammond is arguably the best celebrity impressionist “SNL” has ever had in its cast, turning in uncannily accurate impressions of Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump, to name but a few. But for as much joy as he brought viewers in his 14 seasons on the show, the comic talent has struggled with the dual miseries of addiction and self-harm.
In his harrowing 2011 memoir, “God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F***ed” (via ABC News) Hammond wrote of the extensive abuse his mother dished out, saying that she hit him, stabbed him, and tortured him. The comedian has been in therapy since age 19, but it wasn’t a cure-all. He self-medicated and would engage in self-harm backstage at “SNL.” “Most of the time it was really manageable,” Hammond said on NPR’s “Fresh Air.” “But if you added a pint of [alcohol] to the equation, then sometimes it got a little messy.”
Hammond says that on multiple occasions he sought the help he needed, checking himself into a New York psychiatric hospital. He also received support from “SNL” producers, who considered whether the show was a threat to his mental health and if he could handle the job still. “They were extremely helpful to me,” he added. “… [It] was a delicate balance for them, and not one that they should have had to go through.” He told CNN that he was once even placed in a straightjacket and taken to hospital, straight from the set.
If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.
If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.