Saturday Night Live is getting a new – but familiar – voice for its 40th season.
Longtime cast member Darrell Hammond is returning to Studio 8H as a replacement for the late Don Pardo, who served as the show’s announcer for all but one season. Pardo passed away in August at 96.
Hammond, 58, appeared on SNL for a whopping 14 seasons and remains the series' longest-running cast member. He was well known for his hilarious impressions of Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Al Gore, Regis Philbin and, perhaps most famously, Sean Connery. What viewers may not know is that Hammond also filled in for Pardo in the sound booth on occasion.
"I sat in for Don when he had laryngitis several times over the years," Hammond told USA Today. "He was a lovely person. When he passed, they wanted me; it felt right for me to be the one to replace him. It's been an improbable life; I didn't expect something like this, but it feels real good." Back then, Hammond would do his best impression of Pardo's voice. Now, he'll put his own twist on the opening credits montage.
"I just knew it wouldn’t be anyone who sounded like Don or replicated him," SNL boss Lorne Michaels said. "It can't be what it was, but it could sort of be in the same tradition. And it will be nice to have Darrell around. He understands the show and will probably be helpful in ways we haven't yet figured out."
Hammond released a tell-all memoir in 2011 and revealed shocking details about his years on Saturday Night Live, including his history of substance abuse and that he frequently cut himself backstage. Today, he's developing a one-man play based on said memoir.
Since leaving SNL in its 34th season, Hammond went on to appear on FX's Damages, TBS' Are We There Yet?, Scary Movie 5, as well as on the stand-up circuit.
What do you think of Hammond heading back to SNL? Is he a good replacement for Pardo?