NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t

Darrell_Hammond_Book.jpgFRESH AIR

In 14 years on Saturday Night Live, Darrell Hammond did many impressions, including Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Sean Connery. Few of his cast members knew that Hammond struggled with drugs, alcohol and self-cutting as the result of childhood abuse. In his memoir God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F——-: Tales of Stand-Up, ‘Saturday Night Live’ and Other Mind-Altering Mayhem, Hammond details the systematic brutality he suffered at the hands of his mother, who beat him, stabbed him and tortured him with a hammer and electrical outlet. “I’ve been in treatment since I was 19, and I’m 56,” he tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “That’s a couple of bucks and a long time.” Hammond says he was medicated during much of his time at SNL and that he frequently cut himself backstage. Before one of his most famous sketches — the Bush-Gore “lockbox” debate with actor Will Ferrell — Hammond says he started having flashbacks and momentarily forgot what Gore sounded and looked like. MORE

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