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Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

'SNL' star Darrell Hammond disappointed he didn't get to stay on as Trump (Atlanta Comedy Theater, July 30)

This was posted Sunday, July 30, 2017 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk 

Darrell Hammond over 14 seasons with "Saturday Night Live" through 2009 played more than 100 celebrities including Bill Clinton, John Travolta and Sean Connery but he also did a mean Donald Trump going back to Trump's early "Apprentice" days.

In 2014, he took over as the "SNL" announcer and a year later, he began playing Trump during the primary season, replacing Taran Killam , whose Trump impression didn't quite pan out.

But this past fall, as the presidential campaign heated up, Lorne Michaels gave the Trump role to Alec Baldwin over Hammond. Hammond was naturally disappointed.

"I wasn't expecting to play him again in the first place," Hammond said in a phone interview Friday evening to promote a show he's doing on Sunday, July 30 at 7 p.m. at Norcross' Atlanta Comedy Theater in the midst of a tour through the Southeast. (You can get tickets here for $25 to $35.). "It was going pretty well for me and I was thinking I'd keep doing it. You know that network TV is like the NFL. It's really tough and creative decisions are sometimes made on the fly without a lot of time to consider and sometimes things don't go the way you want them to. On the whole, I look at it, the whole thing was a really good experience."

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As announcer, he pre-tapes his bits so he doesn't have to physically be at 30 Rock for the episodes. He has not spent much time watching Baldwin's version. "I saw it the first night that he did it and I thought it was really clever but I'm sure it has evolved a lot since then," Hammond said. "Once they replaced me, it became almost impossible to walk down the street in New York or turn on the television or go online or pick up my phone and have someone say, 'Hey man! What the hell is going on here?' And after awhile, I had to try to tune it out. I stopped watching TV for awhile. Eventually, I ended up moving to Los Angeles."

Hammond said he needed a change of scenery and left New York after many decades. He has also re-arranged his management team, hopefully a team he can trust including talent agency ICM.

When I mentioned I was using a tape record app to talk to him since I was driving while talking to him, he said he wished he had tape recorded conversations with professionals over the years. Having audio records might have changed his career, he said. "When it comes to professional matters, it would have been great if I had a record of everything. I'd be living on a different planet right now."

He now lives in West Hollywood. "I like the health movement I like the streets. They're pretty. People are nice and and it has a good feel. The parks are nice. I've always enjoyed being in West Hollywood."

Hammond said he's only doing a few more club dates nationwide, focusing mostly on a lecture series based on his 2011 book "God, If You're Not There, I'm F*cked." In the book, he talked about the horrors of his childhood, when his mom beat him, stabbed him and tortured him with a hammer and electrical outlet.

The man has been in therapy since he was 19 and while on "SNL," he would often cut himself, unbeknowist to most of his castmates.

The book has been turned into a documentary and there's a Broadway play in the works. "If I get acting parts, that's cool. I don't have a specific game plan," he said. " I want to write a second book called 'Mr. Hyde Was Only Four Years Old.' It's about trauma."

This week, he said he has enjoyed this shows touring the South though the travel itself is a grind.

"I feel like that because I’m from the South, I’m stronger in front of Southern audience," Hammond said, a Florida native. "My family is from Georgia and Alabama. I feel more comfortable in a Southern crowd.”


Darrell Hammond

7 p.m. Sunday, July 30


Atlanta Comedy Theater

4650 Jimmy Carter Blvd #114b, Norcross, GA 30093

Tickets here

About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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