Don Pardo’s voice is as much iconic as the show itself and he is irreplaceable at the announcing spot, but the man lived to be 96 years old and recently passed away, as people his age often do.
We’ve posted before about how Don Pardo had been replaced on a few occassions by SNL alumni and master impressionist, Darrell Hammond. Hammond is the longest tenured cast member in SNL's history, working there from 1995 to 2009. Since his departure he has appeared several times on the show as a surprise guest. He held the record for most impressions done by a cast member with 107, until recently Kenan Thompson beat that, having 108. He still holds the record for most times saying the show's catchphrase "Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!", with 70.
Darrell Hammond is one of the most likeable Saturday Night Live repertory players ever, an obvious replacement for Pardo and a choice that satisfies the fans, the critics and Lorne Michaels himself, but besides from being so charismatic and appealing to the audience, it wasn’t always blue skies for Hammond. During his childhood he had suffered brutal abuse from his own mother that led him to cutting himself, psychiatric issues including schizophrenia and problems with alcoholism and cocaine abuse, traumas that even followed him to his SNL tenure, when on one occassion he was taken from the studio to a psychiatric ward, after cutting himself backstage. He describes all those issues in his memoir, God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F*cked, released in 2011 by Harper Collins.
The new season of SNL will be its 40th, starts on September 27th and the first hosts of the season will be Chris Pratt, Sarah Silverman and ex-SNL cast member favourite, Bill Hader. A three-hour prime-time special celebrating the show’s 40th year is due on February 15th 2015.
After letting go Brooks Wheelan, Noel Wells and John Milhiser, returning Mike O’Brien to the writers staff and parting ways with Nasim Pedrad who went on to be in John Mulaney’s new sitcom, SNL hired a couple of new faces: Michael Che from The Daily Show to join Colin Jost on The Weekend Update and 20-year old stand-up comic, Pete Davidson.
Here is Darrell Hammond, together with Dana Carvey, impersonating Phil Donohue and Johnny Carson in a bit called The Retirement Years…